Following last week’s Budget, IOSH is calling for clarity from the Government regarding further health and safety ‘deregulation’.

In the Budget, the Treasury said that the Government would “scrap or improve” 84% of health and safety legislation.

Richard Jones, Head of Policy and Public Affairs, said:

“The country needs clarity about how much ‘real’ change there’s actually going to be. Professor Löfstedt mentioned a 35% reduction; this immediately grew to more than 50% in the Government response to his review. And now, the figure is being heralded by the Treasury as 84%.

“It’s unhelpful to present ‘improvements’ and ‘scrapping’ as interchangeable, or to imply either are reducing duties or deregulating. The Government needs to say what proportion is improvement and what proportion is just removal of redundant regulations. There simply isn’t scope or need for radical change.”

On p.80 of the Budget 2012, the Treasury clearly sets out how the Government hopes to deregulate health and safety legislation to benefit the UK economy.

Jones added:

“It’s concerning that the Treasury has simply announced a watering down of ‘strict liability’. There needs to be proper consultation and full consideration of the implications of this legislative change. We would be concerned if this were to cause standards to drop or fair access to justice to be jeopardised.

“Also, it’s important that those working in micro organisations are afforded adequate health and safety protection and this requires sensible, proportionate regulation, not exemption or automatic ‘lighter touch’, as seems to be implied in the Budget.”