Safety minister heartened by ‘real signs of change’
The minister responsible for health and safety says he is encouraged by Professor Löfstedt’s independent assessment of the Government’s progress in reforming the Britain’s health and safety framework, suggesting there are “real signs of change in the right direction”.
Writing in the foreword to the Government’s own progress report on the implementation of health and safety reforms (separate from Prof Löfstedt’s report, also released today), Minister for employment Mark Hoban cited a number of achievements but conceded that there is still more to do “to create a modern, simplified, risk-based framework for health and safety in Great Britain”.
Highlighting the successful building and delivery of the London Olympic and Paralympic Games, he recognised that when health and safety is done right, it can act as an enabler. But he countered that frequent stories of a risk-averse approach to managing trivial risks – or the way in which ‘health and safety’ is used as a catch-all justification for unpopular decisions – is evidence that the country does not always get things right.
Last year, the Government announced two independent challenge panels – one looking at complaints from businesses about decisions made by HSE or local-authority inspectors; and a second, looking at complaints regarding advice from non-regulators, where the term ‘health and safety’ has been used.
According to the Government’s progress report, the panels are helping to tackle misreporting of health and safety matters. A paper presented to the HSE Board last year showed that the total volume of ‘health and safety gone mad’ stories in the national press fell by an eighth between 2010/11 and 2011/12. The paper also suggested there had been “a sharp improvement in favourability, with fewer solely negative stories and more coverage that reflected HSE’s position”.
Picking out a number of other achievements relating directly to the implementation of Prof Löfstedt’s proposals, the Government pointed out that:
- 200 sets of outdated guidelines have been scrapped – one fifth of all health and safety publications;
- one in 10 sets of health and safety regulations will have been scrapped by April 2013; and
Download: April 2020 Legislation Update
Coronavirus has become a top priority for employers all over the world. The pandemic event is putting pressure on already stretched employers to do more to keep up to date and protect the health, safety and welfare of their employees. Download this free legislation update to understand all the latest guidelines, laws and regulations. The eBook covers:
- Coronavirus legislation;
- Changes to workplace exposure limits;
- Key cases in recent months;
- Environment and Energy;
- and much more…