Last year, Lord Young recommended the simplification of the risk assessment procedure for buildings such as classrooms, offices, schools and shops.
The majority of the current HSE regulations came into force during the 1990s. In the ten years from 1999/2000, there was a 22% decrease in fatalities and a 33% fall in the number of work related injuries that necessitated employees being absent from work for a period of more than three days.
Those opposed to the government’s simplification proposals point out that if some companies are ignoring health and safety in the workplace when regulations are in force, what will happen if we have even less legislation. The current rules make the UK one of the safest places to work in Europe and surely we want to maintain that record.
The government’s review will only be successful if it results in practices and procedures being refined rather than reduced. Risk still needs to be identified and managed correctly and unless this is done, more accidents are likely to happen.
UK businesses are crying out for less red tape and the government has promised to give them just that, but cuts in bureaucracy shouldn’t jeopardise the health and wellbeing of employees.