Summary and implications

A progress report on the implementation of recommendations made by Professor Löfstedt's 2011 review of health and safety legislation shows that action has now been completed on 17 of the 22 areas addressed by the review. These areas include civil claims for compensation for injuries at work, cutting the number of Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspections and the revocation of 20 unnecessary regulations from the statute book.

Professor Ragnar Löfstedt, Director of the King's Centre for Risk Management at Kings College, London, carried out an independent review of health and safety regulations to look at the scope for reducing the burden of health and safety regulation on business. The Professor's Report, "Reclaiming health and safety for all: An independent Review of health and safety legislation", was published on 28 November 2011.

The Government committed, in the 2012 Budget, to scrap, review or improve 84 per cent of health and safety legislation. The progress includes the:

  • amending of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 so that claims for compensation for future injuries at work will only be able to be brought in cases where the employer was negligent;
  • implementation by the Ministry of Justice of a fundamental reform of no win, no fee conditional fee arrangements, and a ban on referral fees in personal injury cases, to help tackle the "compensation culture";
  • issuing of new guidance that work experience students are covered by employers' existing employers' liability insurance policies;
  • shifting of the focus of the health and safety regulatory regime to ensure the regulators target their efforts on higher risk industries and tackling serious breaches of the rules;
  • reduction by a third of the number of proactive inspections the HSE carries out each year;
  • revoking of further unnecessary or redundant regulations, removing 20 from the statute book;
  • accident and ill-health reporting requirements for businesses being clarified and simplified and supported by new straightforward, web-based guidance; and
  • removal of the restriction on using only HSE-approved first aid training courses, and the issuing of new guidance on how businesses can ensure they have adequate first aid arrangements.

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