Commenting on the Löfstedt Report, which was launched today by Employment Minister, Chris Grayling, Dr Adam Marshall, Director of Policy at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

“No employer wants to see accidents, injuries, or fatalities in the workplace. But health and safety regulation does sometimes create an unnecessary burden on businesses. Companies often face form-filling and high compliance costs that are not proportionate to the real risks faced by employees in the workplace.

“Businesses will welcome the clear and evidence-based conclusions of Professor Ragnar Löfstedt’s review of health and safety, as well as the government’s promise to swiftly implement its findings. We will hold ministers to these commitments. Through our role on the Professor’s advisory panel, the BCC recommended simplifying regulation, stripping out costs to business, and addressing some of the everyday health and safety complaints affecting British firms.”

On reduced regulation for the self-employed:

“The BCC has long argued that self-employed people with low-risk businesses should be exempted from health and safety law. We are pleased that the government has committed to implementing this sensible recommendation, as it will strip away unnecessary burdens that deter some people from going into business for themselves.”

On a review of ‘strict liability’:

“The standard for health and safety law must be ‘reasonable practicability’. A business that can demonstrate it has taken reasonable measures to avert health and safety risks should not face prosecution or penalties in the unfortunate event of an accident.

“In some cases, a standard called ‘strict liability’ currently makes employers responsible for an accident, no matter how much they tried to prevent it and regardless of any action taken by the employee. The government should act to remove this from all remaining health and safety regulations.”

On reducing over-compliance:

“Current practices can lead to a costly, time-consuming ‘tick-box’ culture that goes against the principles of sound health and safety. Thanks to overzealous external advice and perceptions driven by the media, many small- and medium-sized companies over-comply with the law – at great cost. By clarifying companies’ duties on everyday issues like use of a stepladder in the office or testing of electronic appliances, the government can help remove costs and give businesses greater confidence to grow.”