HSfB Blog

Common Sense Regulation

Lord Young and his review of health and safety law in the UK is unlikely to be of any particular use to anyone, except of course lawyers and judges, who will have all the updates to interpret and argue in court (at the tax payer's expense no doubt), since most of our regulation now comes from European legislation (a tory idea so unlikely to change) and the government is required to implement it. Unless that is we change our relationship with Europe, but UKIP didn't win the election. 


I hear much about "Common Sense" from the government and meedeya (say it like it looks - the red tops) but unfortunately sense is actually a rare commodity in times of stress and when the thing must be done on time... common sense tells you that if you travel at 60 along the motorway you will save fuel and still get there in plenty of time, and there's much less chance of being in a crash... yet where is this common sense when you are under pressure, late for a dental appointment or the kids are going to be late for school... If sense were so common there wouldn't be a whole industry built up around catching people speeding and fining them, because no one would break the limit. Common sense cannot be relied upon, it relies on personal priorities and personal responsibility, both things have been eroded by decades of interfering (and therefore expensive) government.

If we do discard regulation (and therefor the regulator) then businesses are thrown to the lions of unlimited claims in the civil court since we will never be able to show that what was done was to an acceptable standard. Strict liability dictates that if someone is injured it is obvious that the health and safety regime is not adequate to prevent that injury, and therefor liability exists.

If you think the claims culture is bad just now think about what would happen if you could not prove that you had done everything reasonably practicable to prevent any injury...

I hope that Lord Youn's review focuses instead on the abuse of the civil legal system and does something to encourage insurance companies to defend claims rather than settle so they don't have to pay legal expences.

I also hope something is done to kurb the use of "Elf n safety" as an excuse for HR, and insurance related matters... and if something can be done to prevent public officials from over reacting to fanciful ideas of things that might be hazardous and the nanny state, I would cheer !

I wait with bated breath.