Friday, 4 December 2009

Conservatives to Reduce the burden of health and safety

Conservatives to Reduce the burden of health and safety
30% of the 100 years of health and safety regulation have been passed by this Labour Government in only 12 years
David Cameron has said that the "all-pervasive rules culture" is one of the most infuriating things about living in Britain.
“...there is a growing sense that too many areas of our life are governed by petty rules, regulations and tick box bureaucracy that flies in the face of common sense, undermines discretion and prevents us from getting on with our lives.
When children are made to wear goggles by their headteacher to play conkers … when trainee hairdressers are not allowed scissors in the classroom… when staff at a railway station don’t help a young mum carry her baby son’s buggy because they are not insured... …when village fetes are cancelled because residents can’t face jumping through all the bureaucratic hoops…
…it is clear that what began as a noble intention to protect people from harm has mutated into a stultifying blanket of bureaucracy, suspicion and fear that has saturated our country...
The health and safety culture actively undermines responsibility.
It treats adults like children, encouraging them to think that others have considered the risks for them, are taking responsibility for them, so they don’t have to think or take responsibility for themselves.
What’s more, the fear of transgressing all these rules causes people to stand aside when others need help.
This was most tragically illustrated in Wigan two years ago, when a ten year old drowned in a pond, having rescued his young sister, because officers were told not to intervene as they hadn’t undertaken their ‘water rescue’ health and safety training.”
He made it clear that the Conservatives will reduce the burden and impact of health and safety legislation - and that it will be done in a responsible and sober way.
In developing that approach he said the Conservatives will do two things:
Establish clear and specific principles about when health and safety legislation is appropriate, and when it is not, so we can evaluate whether existing or future legislation is necessary.
Propose practical changes in the law to both bring an end to the culture of excessive litigation while at the same time giving legal safeguards to those who need them most.
David said “For every piece of health and safety legislation, we need to ask whether it fulfils a useful purpose – and if not, it must go.”
Do contact me if you have any examples of when Health and Safety regulations have stopped you doing something that you know is both safe and sensible? at
Read the full speech here

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