Coalition Government to Review Health and Safety Laws 14 Jun 2010

The government today set out its intention to review UK Health and Safety Laws. Mr Cameron is perceived to be somewhat sceptical of UK Health and Safety Laws, and has previously said the UK is “saturated” by them. The review will be led by Lord Young of Graffham, a former trade and industry Secretary of State under Margaret Thatcher during the 1980’s. Lord Young has said that the system and the approach thereto has to be ‘proportionate and not bureaucratic.” He will be providing the Prime Minister with regular updates on progress.

The review has been met with some reluctance by Unions, who have warned against attacks on any legislation that protects staff at work. The review is expected to publish its findings in summer and will primarily investigate concerns over the ‘application and perception’ of health and safety legislation and its connections (if any) with the increasing ‘compensation culture’ in the United Kingdom, during the last decade.

Prime Minister Cameron has said: “The rise of the compensation culture over the last 10 years is a real concern, as is the way health and safety rules are sometimes applied. We need a sensible new approach that makes clear these laws are intended to protect people, not overwhelm businesses with red tape. I look forward to receiving Lord Young’s recommendations on how we can best achieve that.”

Lord Young went on to state that “Health and safety regulation is essential in many industries but may well have been applied too generally and have become an unnecessary burden on firms, but also community organisations and public services. I hope my review will reintroduce an element of common sense and focus the regulation where it is most needed.”

We will monitor Lord Young’s progress with interest.

This article first appeared in Law-Now, CMS Cameron McKenna's free online information service, and has been reproduced with their permission. For more information about Law-Now, please go to www.law-now.com.