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Health and Safety – Removal of the burden of risk assessment and recording of findings

Comment 1st July 2010

There is a requirement in uk health and safety legislation to carry out a risk assessment for ALL activities and to record 'significant findings'.This regulation which is very specific adds little value to health and safety and has become a charter for consultants and 'elf and safety' jokes and incredibly costly to implement while in itself adding little value to improving safety and health. The law which protects people is the general duty of care to employees or members of the public within the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Removal of the requirement to carry out risk assessment and record the findings would remove a large burden from all businesses. This would not lower health and safety standards as other specific regulations will still apply to higher risk activities e.g work at height ,machinery safety,pressure systems etc.

Savings on the cost of consultants would be significant.

Why does this matter?

As an ex HSE principal inspector my past experience is that the the requirement to carry out risk assessment and record the findings has in itself little effect on improving health and safety standards.The main risks caused by work activities are the subject of other health and safety legislation and specific prescriptive regulations and codes of practice.

Adopting my idea would save business a very significant amount  with little effect on health and safety outcomes.It would also go some way towards removing the elf and safety myths that have grown in the area of education etc where local rules (risk assessments) appear to have removed the common sense approach to managing health and safety.

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