The world of of the Red Tape Challenge has largely become silent these days, but just how much damage has been doen to the Health and Safety legislation of this country by Tories hell-bent on removing as much workers rights and employment protection as possible?
But the truth of the matter is that whilst the original Red Tape Challenge website is now longer active, the government re-launched it very quietly with a new website - Cutting Red Tape in 2015.
The same intent to remove ALL regulation from businesses over a sustained period of time exists, along with the same removal of responsibility for the safety health and welfare of employees!
Outcomes of the Health and Safety Red Tape Challenge
1) In Sept 2012, Govt announced that 100,000s of low risk businesses such as shops, offices etc would be removed from proactive H&S inspections (except where there has been an incident or poor track record).
2) A new Code for local authority health and safety inspection was introduced in October 2013 requiring proactive inspections to be focused on higher risk activities/sectors or those businesses with a poor health and safety record.
3) Through the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act we have legislated so that businesses are no longer automatically liable for an accident in the work place that isn’t their fault. From October 2013, businesses have been protected, in most circumstances, from unfair compensation claims, unless they have acted negligently.
4) Through the Deregulation Bill, Government is legislating to exempt one million self-employed people who work in low risk sectors or carry out low risk activity, from health and safety law altogether.
Other Implemented Reforms
1) Government has reformed ’no win, no fee’ cases and banned referral fees to tackle the compensation culture. These reforms came into force in April 2013 and have improved the way civil litigation is funded and restored the balance between claimants and defendants.
2) Extended from four to eight days the time an employee has to have been incapacitated following an accidents at work before most accidents must be reported, saving an estimated £2.1m for business and £2.9m for taxpayers over a 10 year equivalent period.
3) Published revised guidance to bust common myth that all portable electrical appliances in low-risk settings need annual testing.
4) In January 2014 The Health and Safety Executive published new guidance on ‘working at height’ to bust the myth that ladders are banned in the workplace, and give easy to follow, proportionate guidance so businesses know what they need to do to comply with the law.
Following Red Tape Challenge scrutiny and an internal review, the Construction Regulations will be updated to ensure the regulations are better suited to the needs of small businesses in the sector, thus increasing compliance and improving health and safety. Changes will also be made to better align the Regulations with the relevant EU Directive, to reflect ‘better regulation’ principles. These changes will come into force in April 2015 and are expected to save business £19.6m annually.
By April 2015, 21 highly complex mining regulations, some dating back over 70 years, will be consolidated into a single set of modern goal-setting regulations. This will significantly reduce the time taken to understand what the law requires while maintaining health and safety standards.
You can download a spreadsheet which gives details of the changes the Government has made to health and safety legislation so far, from the E-Library Database here You can also search for it using keyword 'Red Tape'
Source: Red Tape Challenge / Cabinet Office website / Unionsafety