Man writing in a book in classroom
Health & Safety

Lofstedt 7 – Keep it Simple

In Chapter 7, Loftstedt really gets going.

As I mentioned in earlier blogs, a real problem for many businesses is keeping up with the ever increasing amount and apparent complexity of legislation. It’s sometimes not what it says, but more finding out it exists and where to find it. There have been many calls for consolidation but there are numerous options – everything together vs reduced number of thematic regulations and everything in between. I recognise that consolidation can sometimes end up making things even more tortuous, with nested conditional ‘if….then’ clauses.

Lofstedt helpfully distinguishes three broad categories of regulations which sit under the health and safety at work Act. These are easily recognisable as management, hazard-specific and activity/process-specific. The distinction between the latter two is somewhat arbitrary given that a hazard is usually construed as anything (object, activity etc) with the potential to cause harm. But, there’s clearly overarching management things (which speak in woollier management terminology) and specific stuff (sector/hazard/risk). Management regulations apply to all businesses whereas the rest may not.

Even if the ultimate consolidated regulations are better the process itself is yet another change. The benefits need to be clearly communicated. The main point here is clarity. Explosives, Mining, genetically modified organisms, are just a few that have been identified. Some (like specific construction head protection regulations) are seen as simply duplicating the requirements of other regs (like PPE), so should just be removed.

Clearly the scale of such a task to figure out what can actually be removed and formulate the legislation clearly but without reducing protection, will be detailed and tedious. In the current economic climate, it will be increasingly difficult.