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May 2, 2012

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Redundant health and safety rules thwart growth, minister warns

There is a straightforward choice between cutting unnecessary health and safety regulations or losing jobs to other countries, Employment minister Chris Grayling said yesterday (2 May).

Addressing business leaders at the Enterprise Forum in London, the minister spoke about the Government’s progress in reforming the UK’s health and safety regime during a round-table discussion about the Löfstedt report.

His comments coincided with the publication of revised guidance from the HSE, which underlines that many office-based businesses do not need to carry out tests on electrical portable appliances, such as table lamps and computers, as frequently as they might believe.

Outlining the “simple and straightforward choice” the UK is facing, Mr Grayling said: “If we want people to have jobs, we have to recognise just how different and competitive the world has become. And that means we have to change in response. We need lower taxes and less red tape for business, or jobs will go elsewhere.€

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Alexhoward_121
Alexhoward_121

I bet Grayling got a pat on the head from Cameron for this sycophantic drivel! It’s not helpful – & by what’s been said by several of the others – it’s definitely not clever! Reasonable and practicable, ALARP, etc – as has been said, oiling the wheels – not putting grit in the gears! Let the professionals mange professionally. H&S law, whilst Euro directed, can and already is reviewed when required.
Grayling = out of date & just trying to jump on a bandwagon that’s already gone past! Ignore

Malcolm
Malcolm

Let’s face it, the Minister is right – As someone involved in industry for 50 years and in safety since the mid seventies, I have seen the proliferation of regulations and the readiness of those organizations to participate in what is effectively a job creation scheme. Health & safety organizations act together, almost as a cartel, and have happily extended safety issues beyond any reasonably practicable remit.

Meden
Meden

It beggers belief that a Minister of the Crown can come out with such tribble. He really does not know what he is talking about. He commissions a report from an eminant professor then ignors what the report says and comes out with a completely different agenda.
I for one am proud of the safety record in this country not at all impressed by that found in the far east.
We are good at making things safely in the UK not like China where thousands die every year as a result of their work.

Nickgray9956
Nickgray9956

What loses work to other countries is cost e.g. wages, taxes. Some international companies safety requirements make UK legislation seem trivial. However these companies have learnt that planning, risk assessing and good working standards pay, particularly in countries where there is little or no H&S law. A lot of these international companies (not always UK owned) and safety associations use UK HSE practices as their bench mark. Grayling is just jumping on his bosses bandwagon (the big suck up)

Nigel
Nigel

Well done Richard Jones for being the voice of reason on this. Chris Greyling seems to be getting worse. I had hoped by now he would have been educated into the importance of H&S in the UK having now been put in charge for quite a while. Clearly he is not willing to learn. Blaming the state of the economy on H&S is an outrageous statement. He also needs to learn why H&S is no simply called ‘safety’ – as he only seems to acknowledge that serious injury and death deserves prevention.

P
P

This is a refreshing Government initiative to instill a “proportionate and practicable” approach to health and safety in our industries ( especially construction) that does not allow over excessive and bureaucratic safety procedures to dominate pragmatic collaboratively agreed professional decisions which can be safely implemented (sfarp).
The problem appears to be that we all think we are “reasonable, proportionate and practicable” in our current approaches.
There is “right” on both sides!

Paul
Paul

Ridiculous to blame H&S. Ministers need to focus on the double dip recession. The real obstacle to business is the tide of anti competive EU laws on employment, H&S and the Human Rights Act, to name but few. The reality is that Ministers have simply signed up to EU laws with no thought for the consequences and HSE and business groups have fought hard to make these laws workable. Compensation culture, risk adverse insurers and benefits culture are the real enemies of business.

Ray
Ray

Massimo, the problem with your assertion is that these ‘over-zealous’ people include the HSE and Clients. Indeed, many of the OTT interventions are driven by corporate Clients and PCs, sub-contractors dare not question them.

Safeteenet
Safeteenet

It would appear that Grayling wants to push us down the route of those in Northern Europe where the very powerful trades unions, the insurance industry and the H&S professionals all have an almost equal say in what an employer can or cannot do. If we want to compete with them why not copy them! The first step would be to create enormously powerful ‘sector specific’ unions. AG Metall in Germany has 7 million members – as many as the total for all TU’s in UK – and can make demands on government

Toni2Has
Toni2Has

M Eden, in parliamentary history Ministers have often made inept, ill-informed, derisory and condesending statements, which may even be obstructive or dangerous and which in considering H&S often result from the underlying actions of ambulance chasing legal “professionals”? Hence, we are where we are. However, I believe IOSH and others can still influence political attention seekers to recognise the need for a safety culture in the workplace, and that good health IS good business!

Trevor
Trevor

It is not the essential H&S rules that need weeding but the idiot rules that are specifically designed to protect the site owners against their fear of potential compensation claims. I was once stopped from using a braced and immovable single length ladder because I did not have a “licence to operate it”. The licence was duly made out at the site office, over a mobile phone, where no-one read it and remained there while I completed the work. This was done to avoid any compensation claims.

Vickichadwick
Vickichadwick

Yes – consolidate legislation on H&S, and empower the HSE to develop common sense guidance, but Minister Grayling, do you really think that you will be able to take on the EU and change legislation on a global scale? Better to spend your time and effort on changing the public perception of H&S in a positive way than running it into the ground. H&S should be part of social education and built into other programmes to change the public mindset and integrate its principles into all aspects of work!

Whitesmar
Whitesmar

I’m sure many of us would agree that some regulations get down to the nit-picking extreme at times. Yes, these could and should be revoked/repealed ASAP.

I fully agree with AndyN about our risk-based system being much better than proscription (except in a very few specific instances). One operator at a factory I worked at put it very well. “If it canna ‘appen, t’ent gonna ‘appen”.

I object to people who know more about their personal prejudices than Safety (Hi Minister!) chipping in

Major
Major

Ray – I do not disagree for a moment – they are the very over-zealous entities to whom I refer and they are mainly in the business of what they think is covering their rear-ends or worse still being power-mad.

And Ray, don’t forget the insurance industry – They want paperwork, reams of it, once a claim hits their desks.

They go way beyond anything best practice requires. Sub-contractors have no chance!

With regard to the HSE – they are a lost cause

Major
Major

I am no fan of the Minister Grayling but the safety profession is giving him and others the opportunity to kick at an open door.
Why?
Because of the over-zealous ‘enforcement; and ‘demands’ by far too many within (or claiming to be) the profession.
They have to be stopped by those who know their job – tell them where to get off!

Ken
Ken

I have completed all the paperwork for implementing 18001. After having the documentation assessed and passed the company has now made all the health and safety managers redundant. Is this what Mr Grayling means when he said we want people to have jobs?

Andy
Andy

Yawn.
Start in Europe and get rid of the absolute duties being imposed by EU regulations, which replace the more effective risk based approach we use in the UK.
Stop people claiming their employer and public bodies for their own inability to step over or walk around a crack in the pavement, and for health problems caused by their own unwillingness to wear PPE.
Forget about the redundant regulations… redundant = not being used.
Grayling’s political claptrap is just boring me now

Anthony
Anthony

This certainly is astonishing that a leader in our Government can repeatedly produce this damaging and inaccurate nonsense.
I question whether it is because of ignorance of the health and safety, lack of intelligence in the minister or trying to please business owners.
It does seem strange that our Government is willing to allow more or even many more, deaths, and injuries to workers to increase the wealth of others.
Alternatively are they just trying to distract us from other issues!

Bill
Bill

The Löfstedt report used a sensible approach to H&S regulations which I am sure professionals will accept. However it did not comply with the Governments idea it was aburden on businesses, therefore it was certain they would attempt another tact to get their way. There is no way they can reduce regulations by 84% and still provide a safe environment for staff to work in. Additionally, the government has little room to maneauvre, as the EU sets the H&S agenda, as seen by the Asbestos regs issue.

Bob
Bob

Unless they evoke the HSW Act and the MHSW Reg 3, there will be little difference made.

You cut your suite according to the cloth. But in the end you end up with a suite.

The duty of care and the requirement for a Suitable & Sufficient RA apply for all tasks regardless of regulatory requirement thereafter.

ARARP keeps the remainder in check.

Bring it on I say, that`s why we are tasked with Managing H&S, if it was easy I`d give it up.

What will be will be, do the best with what you have.

Bob
Bob

I thought growth was thwarted by poor longterm planning, lack of investment, lack of consumer confidence, rising inflation, poor exports due to the euro devaluement, rising stirling, etc.

Surely H&S plays a minor part if any?

Amazing how the government can blame (spin) H&S for its negative performance in a situation that is ultimately determined by governmnet intervention policies.

You would imagine that a healthy workforce with low rates of ill health would benefit all?

Bob
Bob

It now appears that quantative easing and a reduction in interest rates will be required to promote growth, yet to see any mention of H&S being implicated within any improvement measure?

Must be an oversight by those deemed competent to comment on such stratergy?

Bob
Bob

In todays SHP In Court Headline –

A waste management company has admitted safety failings after a worker lost most of his arm when it was pulled into an unguarded conveyor.

Stated above by the minister – “The streamlining of regulations will help bosses understand what’s required of them.”

How much more streamlined does the requirement for machine guarding need to be?

Says it all really.

C_Prior
C_Prior

The government could spend more time helping businesses understand how to make good H&S pay, rather than just playing to ill-informed misconceptions. This would reduce the ‘hearsay’ and base everyone’s efforts on fact, not fiction.

The goals of most of the existing legislation are very reasonable (if applied correctly) and in many cases cost very little, if anything, to comply with. If we improve ‘understanding’ surely we can simultaneously reduce this “burden” Mr. Grayling tells us exists…?

Edward
Edward

Rather a mixed message coming from the Government. On one hand they say they want to reduce the cost and burden of H&S compliance while on the other side they are going to make the HSE charge businesses a fortune for providing H&S advice and enforcement.
The one thing that is really guaranteed to force up H&S costs is Civil Servants charging a minimum of £133/hr for their work!

Filberton
Filberton

Rock on Sir! lets go for the lowest possible denominator. Get rid of H&S legislation (UK is safest in Europe), then get rid of Working Rule agreements, minumum wage etc. and we can all work 100 hour weeks, no safety, kill our colleagues etc.
Lets make a stonking profit and to hell with lives…..you first Mr Grayling sir!

It has already been shown: it is not the law at fault but the iterpretation!

Gary
Gary

If the minister turned his guns on the legal predators who feed off British Industry like parasites, rather than wasting the HSE’s time in reviewing perfectly good and well thought out legisalation he would save us all time money and above all lives. It is not Health and Safety that is the issue but the additional costs inflicted by the current legal system introduced under Thatcher and which has grown into a out of control monster.

Jefferyr
Jefferyr

I have said and IOSH also makes it clear that if companies had ‘competent’ H&S advice then the true interpretation of guidance would help companies move forward safely and not stifle growth. I refer to H&S refugees (those who lose a managerial job and get told ‘Oh you can do Safety’ ) well we now know they can’t, use the IOSH registers and the other professional bodies guidance and apply H&S as ‘the oil on the wheels not the grit in the gears’!

Zak607
Zak607

And Mr Grayling has extensive knowledge of doing a proper job of “work” does he and the risks associated with it ??

Has he ever worked production equipment, or a power press, or operated a fork lift truck, or even set foot in a factory ?

Oh yes all of us who work in the area of health and safety every day and have done so for many years should listen to Mr Grayling and bow to his superior knowledge and experience I don’t think !!!!!

Are you aware of the Barbour EHS brand?