Carvill & Johnson, Birmingham Solicitors report that the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has backed a government consultation which proposes to abolish more than half of the health and safety rules following the Lofstedt review.
Under the new proposals, employees will be required to take as much responsibility for their work health as their employers and the concept of strict liability will also be removed. Consequently, when businesses have taken all the steps possible to prevent accidents, they will not automatically be held responsible for any injuries that occur.
Furthermore, some of the existing rules will be amalgamated and self-employed individuals will be exempt from health and safety legislation, as long as their work does not put others at risk.
According to Carvill & Johnson, (Solicitors in Birmingham), the report also recommends that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) should oversee local authority inspections to remove the “real inconsistencies" that currently occur, and that new European legislation should be approved by an independent assessor.
"Businesses will welcome the clear and evidence-based conclusions of Professor Ragnar L'fstedt's review of health and safety, " said Adam Marshall, BCC policy director, “as well as the government's promise to swiftly implement its findings. “
This also relates to the set Employment law changes, Carvill & Johnson explain. Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, has announced proposals for the most radical reform of employment law for decades.
Amongst the measures under consideration are an increase in the qualifying period for unfair dismissal claims from one year to two; the introduction of compensated, no-fault dismissal for micro-firms and a reduction in the 90-day consultation period for collective redundancies.
The government is also considering reforming the tribunal system, with individuals required to work with Acas to try to resolve their disputes before a tribunal can take place and to pay a fee for such claims.
A system of protected conversations could also be introduced, which would enable employers to raise issues with employees without the conversation being used as part of a claim for unfair dismissal.
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