Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 28 August 2014

Health and safety shake-up revealed

Lord Young is to reveal Government plans to inject 'common sense' into health and safety

More details are to be given of Government plans to inject "common sense" into health and safety.

Lord Young is to publish his full review of current rules, including proposals to force town halls to pay compensation if they wrongly ban events.

It also suggests that teachers be given assurances that they are not liable for everyday mishaps and accidents during school trips and after-hours clubs.

But critics have already accused the Tory former Cabinet minister of focusing on "silly" incidents rather than ensuring people were properly protected at work and in the community.

Lord Young's probe is known to have concluded local authorities that wrongly try to block events on health and safety grounds should be forced to pay compensation; a crackdown on advertising encouraging people to make personal injury claims on a no-win, no-fee basis; red tape that can prevent children from going on school outings should be scrapped; and people performing first aid or Good Samaritan acts should be exempted from being sued.

Lord Young has backed up his reform suggestions with examples including a restaurant that would not give out toothpicks for fear of injury, a headteacher who told pupils not to walk under a conker tree without helmets and a council that banned a pancake race because it was raining.

The Government is believed to have approved the report in full and will also implement a crackdown on "ambulance-chasing" personal injury firms.

There will be restrictions on the way they advertise their services and a limit to speculative lawsuits.

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