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Should health and safety rules be curbed?

Conservative leader David Cameron has called for an end to the UK's "over-the-top" health and safety culture. What is your reaction?

In a speech announcing a Tory review into how the health and safety culture can be curbed, he spoke of children told to wear goggles to play conkers and trainee hairdressers banned from using scissors.

But the TUC accused the Tories of making comments based on half-truths taken from newspapers and a government spokesman said health and safety regulation was needed to reduce injuries in the workplace.

Do you think the UK has an "over-the-top" health and safety culture? Why is this? How could health and safety rules be curbed and what would be the impact?

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Published: Tuesday, 1 December, 2009, 13:17 GMT 13:17 UK

All comments as they come in

Added: Thursday, 3 December, 2009, 10:30 GMT 10:30 UK

Our species is where it is today SOLELY because of taking unquantifiable risks.

Risk assessment covers everything, you even have to risk assess making an expression, because it may offend.

It's far over the top & too controlling in some areas & completely ridiculous in others.

On building sites, there are many OTP H&S rules & safeguards.

Yet UK scaffoding ladders have NO guards around, leaving BIG holes in scaffolding floor for workers to fall down.

H&S is totally OTP & unbalanced

[SKYISBLUESOAMI], UN-SUSTAINABILITY THE EPITATH OF HUMANITY, United Kingdom

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Added: Thursday, 3 December, 2009, 10:27 GMT 10:27 UK

Health and Safety in the workplace has been fought for long and hard by the Labour and Trade Union movement. Why am I not surprised that the Conservatives under Cameron want to turn back the clock? Same old Tories.

margaret hamilton, Walsall

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Added: Thursday, 3 December, 2009, 10:18 GMT 10:18 UK

Not allowed to use a stanley knife to open boxes unless wearing a chainmail gauntlet.
Have to use a trolley to move a pc around (mainly because someone dropped one on their foot but didn't sue)
Step ladders are not allowed to be used unless you have had the correct training.
Needing to fill in paperwork just for a small paper cut.

I always look at it in this way, just be sensible.
And if a tree falls in the wood and there is no one around did it break hse law ?

Mr Flibble

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Added: Thursday, 3 December, 2009, 10:01 GMT 10:01 UK

REMEMBER THATCHER! You can't spell Conservative without CON.

Do you know, I thought Maggie left power some 13 years ago!! H&S is necessary in certain environments, to protect workers but this bunch have spent 12 years turning it into what we have today. In my last job working for a large corporation, risk assessments were carried out on everything, including the height of a new staff member's adjustable chair, in case they got backache! They were also dictated how far from the screen to sit

Terry, Newbury

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Added: Thursday, 3 December, 2009, 09:55 GMT 09:55 UK

Scrap H&S rules completely! Taking risk is a very important element of life, being human, learning and development! Removing ALL risks from a persons development/experience is very dangerous and leaves the individual totally vunerable and unable to make judgements/risk assessments etc for themselves! H&S actually do more damage to individual responsibility and development than good! Removing 'risk' from human activity will create a nation of idiots!

The Ghosts of John Galt, Ghost Town

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Added: Thursday, 3 December, 2009, 09:45 GMT 09:45 UK

There was a tragic case in the news yesterday of a young child who had lost the sight in one eye following an accident at school involving a paintbrush. His father is suing the education authority for £2.5m. If he is successful the outcome presumably will be that the use of paintbrushes in schools will be banned. This will be nothing to do with H&S legislation, but everything to do with the fact that public & private organistations can't take the risk of being sued.

[SlaveofBaal], Orpington, United Kingdom

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Added: Thursday, 3 December, 2009, 09:44 GMT 09:44 UK

I think it's terrible that "health & safety" has gained such a negative image.

Health & safety is like many other issues/policys/laws/regulations, they are made to help improve peoples lives, but the reality is that PC liberalists are detrimentally effecting every aspect of life, far & beyond any sensible coherant level of intervention.

The biggest problem I think, is the astounding ignorance & selfrighteous selfishness in society, which is the basis/reason for such over the top rules/laws

[SKYISBLUESOAMI], UN-SUSTAINABILITY THE EPITATH OF HUMANITY, United Kingdom

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Added: Thursday, 3 December, 2009, 09:42 GMT 09:42 UK

Health and Safety is important but has gone too far in many cases. The real problem though are twofold. The rules are often implemented by idiots.
Secondly the compensation culture makes companies try every possible measure to protect themselves (which is reasonable). What we should have is a common sense law so people who try to make a claim when clearly they were themselves to blame. These people should be prosecuted.

Gareth Mangnall, Bolton

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Added: Thursday, 3 December, 2009, 09:41 GMT 09:41 UK

One idiot tried to sue the company because the light bulb had blown and continued into the room and tripped over a box and hurt themselves.

This hopefully is the kind of idiotness they will hopefully get rid of. Light bulbs don't least forever and if you can't see then go get a damn torch or get services to replace it before entering, or accept the consequences stupid moron.

Once Great Country, now run by Idiots

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Added: Thursday, 3 December, 2009, 09:41 GMT 09:41 UK

Sounds like a typical conservative pandering to the right wing tabloid idiots who are only interested in sensationalism and haven't the slightest clue about how dangerous many jobs are and the rules that are needed to protect workers. Hard hats must have saved countless lives since they became compulsory.

Jay, Sheffield

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Added: Thursday, 3 December, 2009, 09:35 GMT 09:35 UK

"Should health and safety rules be curbed?"

How about: Should billions and billions of dollars be flushed down the loo trying to cure fake climate ills?

[chuckm51], Austin,Texas, United States

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Added: Thursday, 3 December, 2009, 09:31 GMT 09:31 UK

The only way to stop the proliferation of ridiculous RULES (not laws!) imposed on people is, firstly, for the courts to get a backbone and refuse to pay out to claimants where a simple lack on common sense is at play rather than a genuine negligence situation.

Secondly, there needs to be a serious look at the 'no win, no fee' companies - ironically, people have learnt to associate no risk with making a claim for anything because they perceive no personal loss if they lose a case.

Mrs G, United Kingdom

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Added: Thursday, 3 December, 2009, 09:27 GMT 09:27 UK

how many of the people calling for the end of the HSE and/of the H&S laws would like to work in an unheated office with poor lighting, unsafe electrical and gas fittings - have unregulated gas fitters and electricians workign in their homes - be forced under penalty of losing their job to perform dangerous tasks with no safety equipment? anyone? no, i thought not - these are all the things that used to happen before "health and safety" regulations appeared and people DIED ok?

Stating the Obvious, Bristol

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Added: Thursday, 3 December, 2009, 09:27 GMT 09:27 UK

The reason for the rise in the Health & Safety culture is due to the rise in our compensation culture, driven by greedy people and grabbing solicitors. Sort these out and H&S can return to normality

Barrington Bugg, United Kingdom

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Added: Thursday, 3 December, 2009, 09:26 GMT 09:26 UK

Absolutely! Sanity and common sense has gone completely out of the window.

[anti_negative_media], Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Yikes, Sanity and Common sense gone out the window. How come they were so dangerously close to the window in the first place?

Sorry I couldn’t resist.

[Totally_Baffled], Croydon, United Kingdom

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DEBATE STATUS

Total comments:
1522
Published comments:
1417
Rejected comments:
105
No further comments will be published as debate is now closed

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