What drives you mad about Health and Safety rules?

15/06/2010

The Prime Minister, Mr David Cameron has announced plans to revise a decade of health and safety rules that have been blamed for crippling business and stifling the British way of life. The Prime Minister has unveiled a wide-ranging review of the previous government's safety laws, led by 78-year-old former Cabinet minister Lord Young of Graffham, who has described current legislation as a 'joke' and will be asked to help the Prime Minister and the Government drive through reform after completing his review.

Sir Michael Parkinson, in his article written as our Dignity Ambassador, commented on his own discussions with a former hospital patient and survivor of the July seventh London bombings, described how, on leaving intensive care to go to a ward, she needed a shower. The nurse helping her was unable to manoeuvre the shower to do this safely, so instead she jumped into the shower too, fully clothed, to help wash her. The patient described the moment as both funny and extremely moving, and Sir Michael commented at the time that the story really stuck with him, not only because it demonstrated the true meaning of care and compassion, but also because he could imagine how, in a less enlightened organisation, that nurse could quite easily have found herself being disciplined for breaching health and safety rules. Sir Michael also commented that when he had asked staff and managers what stands between them and delivering more dignified care while doing their job, most said bureaucracy where common sense seemed to be missing.

Mr Cameron is quoted as saying that the way health and safety rules are sometimes applied needs a sensible new approach that makes clear these laws are intended to protect people, not overwhelm businesses with red tape, and that he was determined to see Lord Young's recommendations put into effect. Lord Young said he wanted to put "commonsense back into health and safety" rules when he issues his recommendations to the Prime Minister for a complete overhaul of health and safety laws - Lord Young was commissioned to advise Mr Cameron on health and safety laws last year and his work will become a full-scale review with civil service support. The former trade secretary said the once serious issue of health and safety had become a 'music hall joke' under Labour, with schools banning children from playing conkers, restaurants barring tooth picks and one swimming pool declaring a pair of goggles unsafe. Britain needed a health and safety system that was "proportionate and not bureaucratic", he said.

The Team here at Dignity in Care would like to hear opinions from our dignity champions - either through discussion and debate on our wevsite forum or by emailing us direct. If you would like to pass us your comments on to us by email before 30th June 2010 we will ensure that these are forwarded on to Lord Young for his consideration..