IOSH concerned with cut in regulations
28 November 2011
IOSH today (Monday 28 November) raised
concerns about the speed and scale of the Government’s proposed
rationalisation of health and safety regulations – and the plan to
exempt some self-employed workers from their statutory duties.
Professor Ragnar Lofstedt’s eagerly-awaited,
Government-commissioned report on
Britain’s health and safety regulations was published today, and it
calls for one million self-employed to be exempt from health and
In response, Employment Minister Chris Grayling has announced plans
to begin a major cut back of health and safety red tape as early as
January. It will begin an immediate consultation on the abolition
of large numbers of health and safety regulations and intends to
have removed the first rules from the statute book within a few
IOSH Chief Executive Rob Strange OBE and Immediate Past President
Steve Granger attended the launch of the report and Government
response in Whitehall today.
Speaking afterwards, Rob said: “We support
the streamlining and simplification of health and safety
regulations, but we are keen to find out how the Government intends
to reduce the number by half without increasing the risk to workers
and the general public of injury and ill health.
“We are also concerned about the proposed exemption of
self-employed people from health and safety obligations, as many
will have work which involves the use of equipment or chemicals, or
requires visits to other workplaces. This approach seems to
contradict the development of a more risk aware society, which the
report is also keen to promote.
“But we do welcome moves to help employers to understand their
health and safety obligations with the use and simplification of
approved codes of practice.
“The report identifies the inconsistencies of enforcement in local
government and we applaud the suggestion to further centralise the
strategy for enforcement and improve training to address
“Overall, we welcome the report and the partnership approach taken,
and we are particularly pleased that IOSH’s submission to Prof
Lofstedt has been listened to. We look forward to continuing to
play a key part in the successful implementation of these
The Government said it would establish from 1 January a new
challenge panel, which will allow businesses to get the decisions
of health and safety inspectors overturned immediately if they have
got it wrong.
Mr Grayling commissioned the report in March. Health and
safety law should not apply to self-employed people whose work
activity poses no potential risk of harm to others, it recommends.
The changes if implemented would benefit around a million
self-employed people, the Government said.
Prof Löfstedt set out his recommendations in the report "Reclaiming
health and safety for all: An independent review of health and
safety legislation". Today, the Government accepted his
Health and safety regulations will be reduced by a third rising to
over a half over the next three years, through combining,
simplifying and reducing the approximately 200 existing
regulations, said the Government.
The role of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in relation to
local authorities will be significantly strengthened. And the
report makes recommendations to ensure that employers are not held
responsible for damages when they have done all they can to manage
Ministers say that with 50% of health and safety regulation coming
from Europe the Professor will present his findings, along with the
Minister, in Brussels this week to promote a more proportionate,
Mr Grayling said: "From the beginning we said
getting the regulation of health and safety right is important to
everyone. By accepting the recommendations of Professor Löfstedt we
are putting common sense back at the heart of health and
“Our reforms will root out needless bureaucracy and be a
significant boost to the million self employed people who will be
moved out of health and safety regulation altogether.
"We will also ensure our reforms put an emphasis on personal
responsibility. It cannot be right that employers are responsible
for damages when they have done all they can to manage the risk.
Fundamentally we will ensure the health and safety system is fit
for purpose through streamlining the maze of regulations and
ensuring consistency across the board."
Professor Löfstedt said: “When the Minister invited me to conduct
this review I was determined that it should be science-based,
evidence-based and risk-based.
“My guiding principle is that regulation should also be founded on
robust evidence and an assessment of the real risks. All the
discussions I had and the evidence I have received over the past
few months have served to reinforce this view.”