Headlines: November 29th, 2011

The Löfstedt Report recommendation that direction of health and safety enforcement should be taken over by the Health and Safety Executive has been rejected. Councils will continue to exercise this role. The Government argues that the same objectives of better targeted inspections and greater consistency for business can be achieved by giving the HSE a stronger policy role.

The Government’s response to the report recognises deficiencies in the present system but warns against creating an even more centralised approach that is further removed from local businesses and communities. There remains an important role for local inspectors to use their knowledge and experience to engage with businesses across a range of regulatory issues.

Many councils are over-cautious with their inspections and there is a need for local government to take a more consistent and proportionate approach to enforcement. HSE will work with local government and business to develop a shared national code that is binding and enforceable.

The recommendation that health and safety law should not apply to self-employed people whose work activity poses no potential risk of harm to others has been accepted. This change will benefit around a million self-employed people.

There will also be a one third reduction in safety regulations by combining, simplifying and reducing the approximately 200 existing regulations.