Professor Ragnar Lofstedt has been asked to conduct a second review on health and safety legislation, it was revealed at the Institute of Employment Rights’ (IER) “Reviewing Lofstedt: What now for health and safety at work?” conference on Wednesday (May 9th).
The academic was at the event to speak about the recommendations he gave to government in his first report on the subject last year. He also took questions and answers from delegates present at the conference – which turned into a lively debate on the pros and cons of Lofstedt’s review.
Most speakers at the event highlighted problems with Lofstedt’s first review, particularly the exclusion of the “self employed” and so called “low-risk” workplaces from regulation.
But among the most disturbing criticisms levelled at the professor were from Professor Andrew Watterson of the University of Stirling and David Whyte of Liverpool University, who both questioned whether the Professor’s recommendations were based on evidence or ideology.
Andrew Watterson went as far as to ask whether the recommendations offered “evidence-based policy or policy-based evidence?”.
Against that critical background, delegates were pleased to hear the professor promise he has no intention of “making friends” with right-wing politicians calling for a health and safety cull.
He explained the “review of the review” – scheduled to start in autumn 2012 and report in January 2013 – will assess whether and to what extent the government has taken his recommendations on board. The experts present agreed this provided an ideal opportunity for the academic to re-assert his commitment to the current framework of health and safety protection and disassociate his report from the media hype around a “cuts” agenda.
Lofstedt invited interested parties to submit evidence as part of the second review, stressing he is particularly interested in hearing the views of trade union representatives and the IER.
For a detailed examination of the undermining of health and safety law, see David Whyte and Steve Tombs’ publication Regulatory Surrender: Death, Injury and the Non-Enforcement of Law.