How many times have you heard the excuse “we can’t do that because of health & safety”?
We’ve all witnessed or been subject to the unnecessary burden of the constraints of health and safety regulations, either in our workplaces or within our communities. From trainee hairdressers not allowed to use scissors in a classroom to our very own Carnival Parade in Cowbridge not being able to take place due to the more onerous demands of risk assessments and health and safety legislation.
When Lord Young launched his review of Britain’s health and safety legislation three months ago he promised that a “common sense” approach would guide him. His report investigates concerns over the application and perception of health and safety legislation, together with the rise of the compensation culture over the last decade.
I understand that the report, will sweep away red tape and offer new freedom to employers, employees and the huge range of community and voluntary organisations that work so hard within the Vale.
The rise of compensation culture over the last ten years is a real concern, and I’ve heard from many residents in the Vale of incidents where staff felt unable to help others, simply because they were not insured to perform such simple tasks as lifting a buggy for a mother, for fear of an accident and subsequent legal claim.
It would be a great victory for common sense for those individuals who try to do the right thing – those “good Samaritan” situations – if they knew they weren’t at risk from potential personal injury claims.
This would be good news for the NHS and other public sector organisations – as well as private companies. Schools within the Vale would also benefit, with a reduction in the number of forms that teachers have to fill in before going on trips.
We’d see a massive change across the Vale, as community events like street parties or firework displays would find it much easier to gain permission and arrange safe events for residents to enjoy.
The annual Christmas Reindeer Parade in Cowbridge is in jeopardy this year, as a result of traffic control and policing risk assessment issues, but I’m aware that all involved are working hard to ensure that any problems can be overcome. The compensation culture has been gathering pace, fuelled by the recession and many other events have sadly fallen by the wayside.
A common sense approach to the interpretation and implementation of health and safety regulation is much needed. We could all then enjoy colourful community events such as the Cowbridge Carnival, children could play conkers without safety glasses at school and we could all fulfil our potential for goodwill and take responsibility for helping others within our community.