Don't misuse H&S findings


Don't misuse H&S review findings, warns Löfstedt

The expert who carried a review of the government’s health and safety strategy has raised concerns that his report could be ‘misused’ for political purposes.

Professor Ragnar Löfstedt told a forum in London on Tuesday 17 January that he was not in favour of 'radical' reform, contradicting prime minister David Cameron's attack earlier this month on the 'monster' of health and safety.

Cameron referenced Löfstedt's December report, which the government commissioned, as he blamed the 'albatross' of health and safety legislation for holding back British businesses.

But the professor, speaking at the Westminster Legal Policy Forum, insisted he had never called for significant changes to legal policy and found no evidence of a compensation culture.

At the meeting, Löfstedt was asked by Prospect deputy general secretary Mike Clancy whether he had concerns about the government's treatment of his review.

The professor replied: "I am concerned about it. I am concerned my review could be misused.

"But I am not going to go away, I have made my conclusions with policy makers and I want to engage with them.

"To be very clear, [employment secretary] Chris Grayling did not change one word in my review – there are politicians open to evidence and risk-based policy-making."

Löfstedt told the audience that his proposal to lift health and safety requirements for the self-employed applied only to those who could do no harm to others.

He explained that while novelists or computer programmers need not fill in assessment forms, the likes of construction and agriculture workers "should not and never will be" subject to more lenient health and safety rules.

Löfstedt also raised concerns about a reduction in site inspections and urged the government to engage more closely with the European Union over future legislation and to set up a committee in the House of Lords to examine the issue further.

His comments were highlighted in a report in the Law Society Gazette.