Government changes to health and safety law

Prior to the general election, David Cameron stated that if he wins and becomes the PM, he would introduce changes to the way the government handles health and safety issues. Well he got the job, so what is he going to do about it?

 According to the government manifesto document, H&S law will be left largely untouched with any initial significant changes designed to address the way the Health and safety at Work etc Act covers the police and affects the duties of police officers.

 Lord Young has been appointed by David Cameron to review health and safety law and his initial report is expected at the end of July. The areas of focus were:

 —                    providing greater clarity on terms such as “so far as is reasonably practicable”.

 —                    Ensuring that businesses know when they have to complete a formal risk assessment, and if they do, jut how detailed and comprehensive does it have to be.

 —                    To introduce a minimum standard of qualification for health and safety consultants.

 Remarkably, anyone with limited health and safety knowledge or experience can set themselves up as a consultant and provide advice to businesses. This is clearly an opportunity to ensure that only qualified and competent consultants can provide this service.

 When I talk to clients about hazards and risks, many of them tell me “that is common sense”. How right they are. It will be interesting whether “so far as is reasonably practicable” will relate to the use of common sense.

 In short, do not let any unscrupulous firms try to influence you through unsolicited emails or mails shots. There will be changes but for the time being everything remains largely the same. If you need to use a consultant, ensure that they are qualified, ideally a Member or Chartered Member of IOSH or equivalent.

Contact us now if you require further help or advice.