Lord Young, the Prime Minister’s adviser on health and safety law and practice, has today published his report ‘Common Sense, Common Safety’.
The report follows a Whitehall-wide review of the operation of health and safety laws and the growth of the compensation culture.
The PM and the Cabinet have accepted all of the recommendations put forward by Lord Young, who will continue to work across departments to ensure his recommendations are carried through.
‘Common Sense, Common Safety’ puts forward a series of policies for improving the perception of health and safety, to ensure it is taken seriously by employers and the general public, while ensuring the burden on small business is as insignificant as possible.
The report also calls for restrictions on advertising for “no win, no fee” compensation claims and a revolution in the way personal injury claims are handled.
Welcoming the report, the PM said:
Good health and safety is vitally important. But all too often good, straightforward legislation designed to protect people from major hazards has been extended inappropriately to cover every walk of life, no matter how low risk.
A damaging compensation culture has arisen, as if people can absolve themselves from any personal responsibility for their own actions, with the spectre of lawyers only too willing to pounce with a claim for damages on the slightest pretext.
We simply cannot go on like this. That’s why I asked Lord Young to do this review and put some common sense back into health and safety. And that’s exactly what he has done.
Among the key recommendations is to extend the simplified Road Traffic Accident Personal Injury Scheme to include other personal injury claims. This would provide a simple three-stage procedure for lower value claims, accessible via the internet, with fixed costs for each stage.
Lord Young also proposes a common sense approach to educational trips, which currently entail a plethora of forms to fill in, deterring teachers and others who work with children from arranging any trips at all. He recommends a single consent form covering all activities a child might undertake at school.