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A change in H&S culture? “I don’t want us to be a society where a responsible employer gets the blame for someone doing something stupid

The government has announced that it will put the law more clearly on the side of employers who do the right thing to protect employees.

The Government has announced that it will be bringing forward measures that will put the law more clearly on the side of employers, who do the right thing to protect employees, if something does go wrong through no fault of their own.

The Government is also promising to take action to support people who volunteer and carry out good deeds every year in an attempt to make sure that members of the public are not put off from participating, through worries about risk and liability if something goes wrong. The move is intended to bring some common sense back to Britain’s health and safety culture.

These changes are being implemented to:

  • Provide greater protection to small business owners who face challenges from irresponsible employees, even if they have taken a responsible approach to safety training and procedures; and
  • Counteract the perception that people risk being pursued if they do something for the common good like leading a school trip, organising a village fete, clearing snow from a path in front of  their home or helping in an emergency situation. Announcing the proposals on Monday 2 June 2014, Justice Secretary Chris Grayling stated:

“I don’t want us to be a society where people feel that they can’t do the right thing for fear of  breaking regulations or becoming liable  if something goes wrong...(or where) a responsible employer gets the blame for someone doing something stupid. I want a society where common sense is the order of the day, and I believe this measure will help us get there”.

The proposed changes to the law will be introduced, via new legislation, which is expected to come into effect next year. We will keep you updated as any proposals progress.