Conservative Diary

« What will the right-wing papers make of Nick Clegg's new "fairness premium"? | Main | Ministers to make an Equitable Life payout of £1.5 billion, according to the Daily Mail »

Lord Young's publishes his "common sense" review of health and safety legislation, promising to "free businesses from unnecessary bureaucratic burdens"

By Jonathan Isaby

Lord Young of Graffham After much trailing, Lord Young of Graffham's report into the operation of health and safety laws, Common Sense, Common Safety, was published earlier today.

As he explains in the introduction to the report:

"Clearly, it is right that people who have suffered an injustice through someone else’s negligence should be able to claim redress. It a basic tenet of law and one on which we all rely.What is not right is that some people should be led to believe that they can absolve themselves from any personal responsibility for their actions, that financial recompense can make good any injury, or that compensation should be a cash cow for lawyers and referral agencies.

"It is my firm belief that the UK’s compensation system should focus on delivering fair and proportionate compensation to genuine claimants as quickly as possible – not fuelling expectations that injury means automatic compensation regardless of the circumstances.

"The recommendations in this review are designed to deliver the necessary reforms to achieve this. The aim is to free businesses from unnecessary bureaucratic burdens and the fear of having to pay out unjustified damages claims and legal fees. Above all it means applying common sense not just to compensation, but to everyday decisions once again."

You can download the full report by clicking here, but some of the highlights of his recommendations include:

Compensation culture

  • Introduce a simplified claims procedure for personal injury claims similar to that for road traffic accidents under £10,000 on a fixed costs basis and examine the option of extending the upper limit for road traffic accident personal injury claims to £25,000.

  • Clarify (through legislation if necessary) that people will not be held liable for any consequences due to well-intentioned voluntary acts on their part.

Low hazard workplaces

  • Simplify the risk assessment procedure for low hazard workplaces such as offices, classrooms and shops.

  • Exempt employers from risk assessments for employees working from home in a low hazard environment and exempt self-employed people in low hazard businesses from risk assessments.


  • Insurance companies should cease the current practice that requires businesses operating in low hazard environments to employ health and safety consultants to carry out full health and safety risk assessments.

  • There should be consultation with the insurance industry to ensure that worthwhile activities are not unnecessarily curtailed on health and safety grounds. Insurance companies should draw up a code of practice on health and safety for businesses and the voluntary sector. If the industry is unable to draw up such a code, then legislation should be considered.


  • Simplify the process that schools and similar organisations undertake before taking children on trips and introduce a single consent form that covers all activities a child may undertake during his or her time at a school.

Local authorities

  • Officials who ban events on health and safety grounds should put their reasons in writing.

Health and safety legislation

  • The HSE should produce clear separate guidance under the Code of Practice focused on small and medium businesses engaged in lower risk activities and the current raft of health and safety regulations should be consolidated into a single set of accessible regulations.

  • The UK should take the lead in cooperating with other member states to ensure that EU health and safety rules for low risk businesses are not overly prescriptive, are proportionate and do not attempt to achieve the elimination of all risk.

Police and fire services

  • Police officers and firefighters should not be at risk of investigation or prosecution under health and safety legislation when engaged in the course of their duties if they have put themselves at risk as a result of committing a heroic act.

Adventure training

  •  Abolish the Adventure Activities Licensing Authority and replace licensing with a code of practice.

Here are videos of Lord Young and David Cameron talking about the issues raised by the report:


You must be logged in using Intense Debate, Wordpress, Twitter or Facebook to comment.