Towards a more effective health and safety regime for UK workplaces post-Covid-19
In this article, we identify ways in which the Covid-19 pandemic has exposed flaws in the UK’s regulatory regime for health and safety at work. The characteristics of Covid-19 presented particular challenges for the risk-based approach to regulation embraced by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). We offer a critique and suggest four principal areas for reform. First, it is clear that HSE and other enforcement bodies need an injection of funds to support their inspection and enforcement activities. Second, the regulatory regime itself is in need of modernisation to reduce reliance on criminal law. Third, wider labour law problems such as the distinction between worker and employee, which impact health and safety law, need to be resolved. Fourth, and most importantly, there must be much greater recognition that health and safety is an issue for every person in the workforce. Even if Covid-19 ceases to pose such a significant workplace risk, we consider that there are a variety of other common health and safety issues that would be better addressed by a modified and modernised regulatory strategy.
Author affiliationSchool of Law, University of Leicester
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