'Compensation Culture' Under Fire
Britain's so-called "compensation culture" is expected to come under fire as plans to strip back health and safety rules are due to be published.
A Government-commissioned review of the regulations, which ministers say place "unnecessary burdens on business", will include proposals for ways to consolidate or simplify existing statutes.
Among the recommendations made by the report is a plan for responsibility to be put back into the hands of individuals, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said.
The aim of this proposal is to cut the number of employees claiming damages from employers for accidents that were their own fault, it is understood.
The report will suggest that bosses "who have done all they reasonably can to ensure their employees' safety" should not be penalised, a DWP spokeswoman said.
Carried out by Professor Ragnar Lofstedt of King's College London, the study was ordered by the coalition earlier this year as part of a package of changes to the health and safety system to support the growth agenda and cut red tape.
It is expected to lead to some of the bureaucracy in this area being stripped back and "common sense" being restored to the system, in a move ministers hope will boost the economy.
But the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health expressed concern that the focus, and the suggested ways of cutting accident costs, were "misguided" and cautioned against removing too many crucial safeguards.
Richard Jones, head of policy and public affairs, said: "We welcome streamlining and simplification, but with 171 people killed last year and 200,000 serious injuries in Britain's workplaces, there's certainly no scope for reducing essential protections."
Besides being criticised by ministers for overburdening employers, health and safety rules have also been held responsible for wrongful bans on everything from schoolyard games and kite-flying to royal wedding street parties.