Policy Exchange have a new report out today, Health and Safety: Reducing the Burden. It’s about as close to being relevant to the needs of the modern workplace as Alice in Wonderland.
Anyone who seriously believes that there is a culture of over-compliance needs some basic lessons in the reality of working life in the UK. Last year 30 million days were lost due to injuries and ill-health caused by work. And a quarter of a million people were injured at work. These were caused by employers failing to comply with health and safety regulations.
There is not one shred of evidence that there is any over-compliance. Research has shown that over half of all small businesses have not even done a basic risk assessment as required by law.
We now have less than half the number of regulations than 35 years ago, and they are generally simpler and clearer. Businesses spend, on average, less than four minutes a day on health and safety – hardly a major burden.
There is no place for any lowering of standards or reducing regulation. Instead we need more support for those businesses that want to do the right thing, and more enforcement action against those that do not.