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Restoring common sense – relaxation of Health and Safety laws

In October 2010, Lord Young made a series recommendations in his report “Common Sense, Common Safety’.  The recommendations focused on improving the public and employers’ understanding and perception of Health and Safety laws. The report also called for a reduction in the bureaucracy that businesses had to face in respect of the regulations. 

Following on from these recommendations, as of the 6th April 2012 businesses are only be required to report injuries that keep employees away from work for seven days. Prior to the 6th April employers were required to report injuries that kept employees off work for three or more days.

Minister for Employment Chris Grayling said: ‘These changes are all about bringing common sense back to health and safety. We want less red tape for businesses, and these measures should save companies thousands of hours a year. We are freeing them from the burdens of unnecessary bureaucracy, while making sure serious incidents are properly investigated.’

In addition the reporting period has now increased. Employers will now have 15 days to report an incident.

Whilst the changes to the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) 1995 will no doubt see a reduction in the number of incidents reported to the Health and Safety Executive, it does not mean that there will be a reduction in the number of incidents. Employers must continue to rigorously abide by the regulations and whilst an incident need only be reported where it keeps an employee away from work for seven days or more a record must still be kept for example in an accident book on any incident which is reported or not. 

The Health and Safety Executive take breaches of health and safety laws very seriously. Specialist solicitors at Farleys can advise employers and business owners as to their responsibilities.

If you are being investigated for a breach of Health and Safety law, then specialist advice should be sought from the outset. For initial advice on your case or for more information about obtaining representation from Farleys’ team of experts, please contact us.

By Sian Hall, Corporate Crime Defence Solicitor

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