Aims and Recommendations from The Lofstedt Report
Professor Ragnar Lofstedt’s report, ‘Reclaiming health and safety for all: an independent review of health and safety legislation', was published in November 2011; this report had been commissioned by HSE as an independent review of H&S legislation at that time. This led on to research led by HSE to decide whether the core set of H&S regulations could be consolidated to bring both savings and clarity for businesses. This was followed by the ‘Consolidation: the practicality and effects of the options for consolidating health and safety Regulations’ research report, written by Richard Matthews QC.
The Lofstedt report had been brought about by the seemingly increasing burden on businesses to conform to H&S regulations; there were elements of the law that drove businesses to extensive paperwork and actions which could be consolidated to ensure both streamlined processes and with the aim of ensuring businesses that businesses saw H&S as a vital part of their operations, rather than a tiresome exercise.
The focus of the report was on the core Health and Safety regulations (200+) and the 53 ACoPs operated and regulated by HSE. The report concluded that there had been considerable progress made overall in all sectors regarding health and safety, and there was no case for ‘radically altering current health and safety legislation.’ That said, there were a number of factors identified within the report that were seen to be cumbersome to businesses and could be streamlined; these included:
- Review of regulations where mandatory duties offered little in terms of improving H&S
- The amount of paperwork required, turning H&S compliance into a bureaucratic nightmare for some
- The sheer number of regulations across the framework with consolidation a key need for simplification
- Clarification of terms within the regulations that had led to “grey areas” and, as a result, employers being fined despite making moves to ensure everything they did was reasonably practicable and foreseeable.
There were a number of regulations that were revoked, amended, clarified and reviewed; these included
- The Celluloid and Cinematograph Film Act 1922 (Exemptions) Regulations 1980 – repealed in 2013 by The Health and Safety (Miscellaneous Repeals, Revocations and Amendments) Regulations 2013
- The Celluloid and Cinematograph Film Act 1922 (Repeals and Modifications) Regulations 1974 – repealed in 2013 by The Health and Safety (Miscellaneous Repeals, Revocations and Amendments) Regulations 2013
- The Construction (Head Protection) Regulations 1989 – revoked in 2013 and PPE 1992 updated to include the provision and use of head protection on construction sites
- The Notification of Tower Cranes Regulations 2010 – revoked in 2013 as was not found to have any benefit to the construction sector
- Notification of Conventional Tower Cranes (Amendment) Regulations 2010 – revoked in 2013 as was not found to have any benefit to the construction sector
- Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981
- Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR) and its associated guidance
- The requirement for portable appliance testing under the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989
- The Work at Height Regulations 2005 and the associated guidance
- The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 and the associated ACoP evaluation
In addition, recommendations were made to help both businesses and employees gain a wider understanding of the risks, clarify regulatory requirements and help businesses with the application of said requirements.
It was also recommended at that time that the UK Government worked more closely with the EU to keep both new and existing EU health and safety legislation both risk and evidence based.
Professor Ragnar Löfstedt
Professor Löfstedt was appointed by the UK Cameron-Clegg Coalition Government to look at occupational H&S and the bureaucracy faced by those under the broad umbrella of the then-current Health and Safety Regulations, including those who were self-employed. He is currently the Professor of Risk Management at King’s College London and lectures in risk analysis. He has also written several books around Risk and is editor-in-chief at the Journal of Risk Research.