Thursday, 6 November 2014

Safety bills passing through Parliament.

Two bills are passing through the House of Lords.

The Deregulation Bill has just passed through the House of Lords without any amendments to its first clause, the element of the Bill that concerns some safety organisations. 

Clause 1 makes some individuals totally exempt from the health and safety regime prescribed by the Health and Safety at Work, etc.,1974 Act, but the numbers that will be fully exempted are likely to be relatively low and the risk they pose to themselves or others in their work activities will equally be comparatively low.

There is an uninformed minority who are constantly reinforcing the view that health and safety is in some way excessive and a barrier to business.  This should be contrasted with the view (reported in the SSS second October newsletter) of Judith Hackitt, Chair of the HSE, who urged people not to confuse health and safety with liability limitation.
The general feeling is that Clause 1 is a symbolic totem to the idea of deregulation and will not have much material impact.

The next bill was intended to address the "compensation culture", in this case for situation where a person might not rescue a drowning person for fear of being sued.

The Social Action, Social Responsibility and Heroism Bill was described in the House of Lords on 4th November as "useless, trivial and pointless", and "stood out, not because it was important, but because it had no importance at all." 

So that looks like a no-hoper for addressing the prime problem we have with the compensation culture.

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