Cameron ‘wages war’ on health and safety culture

Posted on 9 Jan 2012 by Tim Brown

Prime Minister David Cameron last week declared that one of the Coalition’s New Year resolutions was to “kill off the health and safety culture for good”.

Speaking at the headquarters of Intuita financial software and services firm in Maidenhead, Cameron stated that the Coalition were “waging war against the excessive health and safety culture that has become an albatross around the neck of British businesses.”

The announcement of a reduction in health and safety red tape continues on on from the promise he made at last year’s party conference to do whatever it took to help British businesses.

“Every day [companies] battle against a tide of risk assessment forms and face the fear of being sued for massive sums,” said Cameron. “The financial cost of this culture runs into the billions each year. Harder to calculate is the cost in terms of attitude: the way it saps personal responsibility and drains enterprise.”

The Government have made plans for changes to health and safety regulation off the back of reports by Lord Young and Professor Ragnar Löfstedt. According to Cameron, some of the ‘big changes’ proposed by the coalition include:

  • Businesses will no longer have to report minor accidents
  • Up to a million self-employed workers will be exempted from health and safety regulation completely
  • A new panel will give firms the right to challenge controversial inspection decisions
  • From this month, the Health and Safety Executive will begin the task of abolishing or consolidating up to half of existing regulations

Cameron also addressed companies’ fear of being sued. “It is simply much too easy for no- win-no-fee lawyers to encourage trivial claims against businesses, which end up settling out of court because it’s too expensive to fight the case,” said Cameron. “It just makes no sense to have a claim for £500 coming with a £5,000 legal bill – but it happens. Our plans will deter the speculative health and safety chancers and those who leech off good businesses, and we’re not going to waste any time in making this happen.”