The full list of recommendations:
- Introduce a simplified claims procedure for personal injury claims similar to that for road traffic accidents under £10,000 on a fixed costs basis. Explore the possibility of extending the framework of such a scheme to cover low value medical negligence claims.
- Examine the option of extending the upper limit for road traffic accident personal injury claims to £25,000.
- Introduce the recommendations in Lord Justice Jackson’s review of civil litigation costs.
- Restrict the operation of referral agencies and personal injury lawyers and control the volume and type of advertising.
- Clarify (through legislation if necessary) that people will not be held liable for any consequences due to well-intentioned voluntary acts on their part.
Low hazard workplaces
- Simplify the risk assessment procedure for low hazard workplaces such as offices, classrooms and shops. The HSE should create simpler interactive risk assessments for low hazard workplaces, and make them available on its website.
- The HSE should create periodic checklists that enable businesses operating in low hazard environments to check and record their compliance with regulations as well as online video demonstrations of best practice in form completion.
- The HSE should develop similar checklists for use by voluntary organisations.
- Exempt employers from risk assessments for employees working from home in a low hazard environment.
- Exempt self-employed people in low hazard businesses from risk assessments.
- Professionalise health and safety consultants with a qualification requirement that all consultants should be accredited to professional bodies. Initially the HSE could take the lead in establishing the validation body for qualifications, working with the relevant sector and professional bodies. However, this function should be run by the professional bodies as soon as possible.
- Establish a web based directory of accredited health and safety consultants.
- Insurance companies should cease the current practice that requires businesses operating in low hazard environments to employ health and safety consultants to carry out full health and safety risk assessments.
- Where health and safety consultants are employed to carry out full health and safety risk assessments, only qualified consultants who are included on the web based directory should be used.
- There should be consultation with the insurance industry to ensure that worthwhile activities are not unnecessarily curtailed on health and safety grounds. Insurance companies should draw up a code of practice on health and safety for businesses and the voluntary sector. If the industry is unable to draw up such a code, then legislation should be considered.
- Simplify the process that schools and similar organisations undertake before taking children on trips.
- Introduce a single consent form that covers all activities a child may undertake during his or her time at a school.
- Introduce a simplified risk assessment for classrooms.
- Shift from a system of risk assessment to a system of risk–benefit assessment and consider reviewing the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 to separate out play and leisure fromworkplace contexts.
- Officials who ban events on health and safety grounds should put their reasons in writing.
- Enable citizens to have a route for redress where they want to challenge local officials’ decisions. Local authorities will conduct an internal review of all refusals on the grounds of health and safety.
- Citizens should be able to refer unfair decisions to the Ombudsman, and a fast track process should be implemented to ensure that decisions can be overturned within two weeks. If appropriate, the Ombudsman may award damages where it is not possible to reinstate an event. If the Ombudsman’s role requires further strengthening, then legislation should be considered.
Health and safety legislation
- The HSE should produce clear separate guidance under the Code of Practice focused on small and medium businesses engaged in lower risk activities.
- The current raft of health and safety regulations should be consolidated into a single set of accessible regulations.
- The UK should take the lead in cooperating with other member states to ensure that EU health and safety rules for low risk businesses are not overly prescriptive, are proportionate and do not attempt to achieve the elimination of all risk.
Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995
- Amend the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995, through which businesses record workplace accidents and send returns to a centralised body, by extending to seven days the period before an injury or accident needs to be reported.
- The HSE should also re-examine the operation of the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 to determine whether this is the best approach to providing an accurate national picture of workplace accidents.
Working with larger companies
- Undertake a consultation with the intention of having an improved system with an enhanced role for the HSE in place for large multi-site retail businesses as soon as practicable.
Combining food safety and health and safety inspections
- Combine food safety and health and safety inspectors in local authorities.
- Make mandatory local authority participation in the Food Standards Agency’s Food Hygiene Rating Scheme, where businesses serving or selling food to the public will be given a rating of 0 to 5 which will be published in an online database in an open and standardised way.
- Promote usage of the scheme by consumers by harnessing the power and influence of local and national media.
- Encourage the voluntary display of ratings, but review this after 12 months and, if necessary, make display compulsory – particularly for those businesses that fail to achieve a ‘generally satisfactory’ rating.
- The results of inspections should be published by local authorities in an online database in an open and standardised way.
- Open the delivery of inspections to accredited certification bodies, reducing the burden on local authorities and allowing them to target resources at high risk businesses.
Police and fire services
- Police officers and firefighters should not be at risk of investigation or prosecution under health and safety legislation when engaged in the course of their duties if they have put themselves at risk as a result of committing a heroic act. The HSE, Association of Chief Police Officers and Crown Prosecution Service should consider further guidance to put this into effect.
- Abolish the Adventure Activities Licensing Authority and replace licensing with a code of practice.