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Law-Exchange.co.uk Shared Resource
Law-Exchange.co.uk Shared Resource
Law-Exchange.co.uk Shared Resource
Law-Exchange.co.uk Shared Resource
Law-Exchange.co.uk Shared Resource
Law-Exchange.co.uk Shared Resource
Law-Exchange.co.uk Shared Resource
Law-Exchange.co.uk Shared Resource
Law-Exchange.co.uk Shared Resource
Law-Exchange.co.uk Shared Resource
Law-Exchange.co.uk Shared Resource
Law-Exchange.co.uk Shared Resource
Law-Exchange.co.uk Shared Resource
Law-Exchange.co.uk Shared Resource
Law-Exchange.co.uk Shared Resource
Law-Exchange.co.uk Shared Resource
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  • 1. REVIEW OF THE LAW: IS IT NEEDED? <br />Town left without Christmas tree over healthy and safety row <br />A town has been left without a Christmas tree after organisers were told they would have to pay for a £2,000 for a concrete slab to anchor it down under health and safety rules. <br />2:49PM GMT 04 Dec 2008 <br />Under the regulations, they were told they would need a 20-ton concrete slab to secure the 26ft Scots pine. <br />But members of Walton Forum in Essex, who are organising the decorations, said the tree itself only cost £400. <br />Chairman of the forum John Halls called it "health and safety gone mad". <br />He explained the group had wanted to make a permanent hole in the ground where the tree could be installed, fixed to a metal pole, each year. <br />But Tendring District Council turned down the request because they feared the tree would topple over. <br />Mr Halls said: "All we want to do is put a steel tube into the ground to put the Christmas tree in, but the structural engineers want a concrete, two metres by two metres, 20-ton foundation. <br />"We just don't have the money to do it." <br />He added: "We have been talking about it for about four months and we thought we were home and dry but there's all this bureaucracy." <br />The row has led to a delay in putting up the Christmas tree in the town's Millennium Square. <br />Nigel Brown, Tendring Council communications manager, said the council felt the proposals were not safe and put forward an alternative. <br />He said: "Officers have made every effort to try to help them come up with an acceptable solution and accommodate their requirements. <br />"However, the council is the landowner of Millennium Square and, as such, must ensure that whatever is put up on the site is both suitable and safe." <br />Douglas Carswell, local MP for Harwich, Essex, backed the group. <br />He said: "This is obviously a local tradition and the council should be helping local people in Walton celebrate Christmas and not putting obstacles in their way." <br />The tree will now be put up by planting it in a barrel and tying it to the ground, as in previous years. <br />19050238125The Gloucestershire health and safety officers who love danger<br />Roger Garbett and Keith Leslie do their New Year swim in the national diving centre in Tidenham<br />By [pburton]<br />As health and safety officers, Roger Garbett and his Forest of Dean District Council colleagues should probably be more cautious than most when it comes to diving into sub-zero water.<br />But they enthusiastically took the plunge in the icy waters of a disused quarry.<br />Dubbing themselves "Health And Safety Gone Mad", they are on a mission to convince us the nanny state is not stopping us being adventurous.<br />Roger and fellow officers from the council's environmental health department Keith Leslie, Haydn Brookes and Rhys Thomas say they are fed-up of taking the blame for bosses who do not want to put up Christmas decorations in the office or poor organisers who cannot be bothered to arrange a pancake race.<br />So they want to prove to people that they do not expect them to stay at home wrapped in cotton wool.<br />By day they make sure local eateries are clean, that factories and events conform to the regulations and prosecute those responsible for accidents.<br />But in their spare time they take part in activities ranging from bog snorkelling to chariot racing – and are even planning an Arctic expedition.<br />After hearing health and safety officials were blamed for ending a traditional Christmas Day swim in Southwold, Suffolk, Roger and Keith took a New Year dip at the national diving centre in Tidenham, near Chepstow, to prove to people they can still do it.<br />Admittedly it wasn't an impromptu dip, and they made sure there were people on hand with blankets and hot drinks in case they got into trouble, but they say there is nothing wrong with a few precautions.<br />"We want to show people by example that health and safety is about saving lives, not stopping lives," said Roger, 49, the council's group manager of environmental services.<br />"We are not suggesting an 89-year-old who has never swum before should suddenly dive in an outdoor pool in January.<br />"But people should stop using health and safety as an excuse.<br />"It's all about being realistic, knowing your capabilities and taking responsibility for your own life.<br />"Of course there are things I would not do. Spending my life sitting on the sofa watching TV is one of them because that's dangerous. Not taking exercise is more likely to kill you than doing exercise.<br />"Neither would I go white water rafting in Himalayan rapids. But that's not about health and safety regulations , that's being sensible. I know I'm not good enough at canoeing to do that."<br />The group came up the idea of their group to get rid of years of pent up frustration at having people blame them and their colleagues for creating a nanny state.<br />Things came to a head for Roger when he heard people complaining that a local pancake race was cancelled for health and safety reasons.<br />"There's no law in the land that says you cannot have a pancake race," he said.<br />"It was not going ahead because the organisers had not arranged it.<br />"Too often health and safety is used as a reason for inaction, rather than doing things sensibly. It is not about avoiding risky decisions but taking considered risk.<br />"If you believe some of the stories you hear, health and safety is all about stopping any activity that might possibly lead to harm.<br />"This is not our vision of sensible health and safety. Our approach is to seek a balance between the unachievable aim of absolute safety and the kind of poor management of risk that damages lives and the economy.'<br />Roger is not a natural adrenaline junkie, and was your ordinary, middle-aged, unfit man until his doctor warned him his sedentary lifestyle would eventually kill him.<br />He is the oldest in the team, with Keith, Haydn and Rhys in their 20s, 30s and to 40s.<br />On Saturday all four will take part in the Saturnalia Mountain Bike Chariot Racing event – wearing Roman costume – in the village of Llanwrtyd Wells in Powys, Wales.<br />Cameron says health and safety rules 'over the top' (2009)David Cameron says health and safety rules have "saturated" the UKConservative leader David Cameron has called for an end to the UK's "over-the-top" health and safety culture. In a speech, he said this had created a "stultifying blanket of bureaucracy, suspicion and fear". In recent years, he added, children had been told to wear goggles to play conkers and trainee hairdressers had been banned from using scissors. But Labour said Mr Cameron's views were based on "myth" and that the system was "sensible and proportionate". The Conservative leader announced a review of the rules when he spoke to the Policy Exchange think tank. Village fetesHe said there were often "noble" intentions behind laws, but added: "I think we'd all concede that something has gone seriously wrong with the spirit of health and safety in the past decade. "When children are made to wear goggles by their head teacher to play conkers. "When trainee hairdressers are not allowed scissors in the classroom. I want to see if we can extend this sort of legal protection for all people acting in good faith - especially public service professionals right0David Cameron"When office workers are banned from moving a chair without expert supervision. When staff at a railway station don't help a young mum carry her baby son's buggy because they are not insured. "When village fetes are cancelled because residents can't face jumping through all the bureaucratic hoops. "It is clear that what began as a noble intention to protect people from harm has mutated into a stultifying blanket of bureaucracy, suspicion and fear that has saturated our country, covering the actions of millions of individuals as they go about their daily lives." Mr Cameron said the "fear of transgressing" UK and EU rules sometimes meant people "stand aside when others need help". Lawyers' incentivesHe cited the death of Jordon Lyon in September 2007 as an example, saying the 10-year-old had "drowned in a pond, having rescued his young sister, because officers were told not to intervene as they hadn't undertaken their 'water rescue' health and safety training". Mr Cameron insisted the biggest cause of the UK's health and safety culture was the "perception" that "behind every accident there is someone who is personally culpable, someone who must pay".The problem with 95% of Health and Safety rules is that they are put in place to prevent paranoid organisations from being suedReg Pither, London"We see it in those adverts on television, which say that if you've suffered some fall or mishap you can take legal action without much cost. "We see it in the commercialising of lawyers' incentives to generate litigation, through the system of enhanced success fees and referral fees which has led to a growth in 'ambulance-chasing'." Mr Cameron announced that former Conservative Trade Secretary Lord Young would lead a review into how the health and safety culture can be curbed. He said: "I want to see if we can extend this sort of legal protection for all people acting in good faith - especially public service professionals." 'Traditional heroism'The Health and Safety at Work Act would also be amended to ensure the danger of prosecution does not put teachers off taking children for adventurous activities. A Conservative government would seek to renegotiate EU regulations such as the Working Time Directive, which limits junior doctors' hours. It would prioritise the risk to the public above that to police officers, allowing them to act with their "traditional heroism", Mr Cameron said. He called for changes to the laws governing compensation claims, although he did not demand an end to "no-win, no-fee" arrangements. For Labour, work and pensions minister Lord McKenzie said: "David Cameron's caricature of health and safety is based on myth and exaggeration, and is just a rehash of what previous Tory leaders have said. "It flies in the face of the important work the Health and Safety Executive does to tackle precisely those myths. "The UK's health and safety framework absolutely does not prevent children from playing conkers, policemen from doing their jobs and people from living normal lives. "The system is not based on eliminating risk but on sensible and proportionate steps to help manage it." TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "None of the cases mentioned relate to health and safety regulation - they are either distortions of the facts or misunderstandings. "People expect political parties to develop policies based on facts, not on half-truths and myths culled from newspaper headlines." <br />Monday 14 June 2010 <br />PM announces review of health and safety laws<br />190503810David Cameron has announced the appointment of the Rt Hon Lord Young of Graffham as Adviser to the Prime Minister on health and safety law and practice.<br />Lord Young will undertake a Whitehall-wide review of the operation of health and safety laws and the growth of the compensation culture.  <br />He is expected to report to the Prime Minister in the summer and will investigate concerns over the application and perception of health and safety legislation, together with the rise of the compensation culture over the last decade.<br />Lord Young will work with the appropriate government departments to bring his proposals into effect. He will continue to report regularly to the Prime Minister on progress.<br />Commenting on the review the PM said:<br />“I’m very pleased that Lord Young has agreed to lead this important review. The rise of the compensation culture over the last ten years is a real concern, as is the way health and safety rules are sometimes applied.<br />“We need a sensible new approach that makes clear these laws are intended to protect people, not overwhelm businesses with red tape. I look forward to receiving Lord Young’s recommendations on how we can best achieve that.”<br />Commenting on his new role, Lord Young said:<br />“Health and safety regulation is essential in many industries but may well have been applied too generally and have become an unnecessary burden on firms, but also community organisations and public services.<br />“I hope my review will reintroduce an element of common sense and focus the regulation where it is most needed. We need a system that is proportionate and not bureaucratic.”<br />-95253854452 October 2010 Last updated at 12:35 <br />Reduce health and safety burden, Cameron adviser urges<br />David Cameron said children had been told to wear goggles while playing the game of conkers <br />An end to "excessive" health and safety rules that enable councils to cancel popular activities is to be urged by an adviser to the prime minister.<br />Lord Young said form-filling had replaced common sense, and the rules had become "a music-hall joke".<br />In a government-commissioned report, the Tory peer calls for a clampdown on lawyers who "entice" people to pursue personal injury claims.<br />Lawyers say the legal right to claim damages should remain protected.<br />In his report, to be unveiled after next week's Conservative Party conference, Lord Young will say the public should be able to challenge local authorities that ban events on health and safety grounds.<br />In June Prime Minister David Cameron asked the peer, who served Margaret Thatcher as a trade and industry secretary, to review health and safety regulations in England and Wales which in the past the prime minister has described as "over the top".<br />'Common sense'<br />Speaking to the BBC, Lord Young said that while there was "nothing wrong with health and safety" its remit had spread over the last last ten years to cover "everything." <br />"It's been the same laws that apply to a heavy manufacturing or chemical plant, apply to an office, to a shop and to a classroom and that is nonsense. <br />"So we find people the whole time filling in forms and spending an enormous amount of time and effort instead of doing what they should be doing which is looking out and using common sense."<br />However, Richard Jones, of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health, said that the regulations were often used as "convenient excuse" for not doing something.<br />He said: "Real health and safety isn't over the top - it enables things to happen, playing a key and positive role in successful and confident societies," he said, adding that he would welcome greater clarity on why decisions are taken."<br />When he launched the review in December, Mr Cameron cited cases of children being told to wear goggles to play conkers, restaurants being banned from handing out toothpicks and trainee hairdressers being banned from using scissors as examples of silly practice.<br />'Poor advice' <br />The Young report said local authorities, in future, should explain their decisions to ban events on health and safety grounds in writing.<br />It said that the public should be able to refer decisions to halt events to an ombudsman and, if deemed to be unfair, they should be reveresed within two weeks.<br />If an event cannot be staged as a result, the organiser could be awarded damages, he added.<br />The advice given by more than 3,000 local authority inspectors to individuals and low-risk workplaces, such as pubs and shops, is often inconsistent, Lord Young believes.<br />"In some instances, it is clear that officials are giving poor advice to organisations and individuals who are, in turn, prevented from running an event, such as a school fete, when there is no legitimate reason not to on health and safety grounds," he said.<br />Lord Young has also reviewed advertising by personal injury lawyers and claims firms which he says should be reigned in as it encourages lawsuits.<br />He said flaws in existing legislation have fuelled the number of personal injury lawsuits and pushed up the fees charged by lawyers.<br />"Many adverts entice potential claimants with promises of an instant cheque as a non-refundable bonus once their claim is accepted - a high pressure inducement to bring a claim if ever there was one," his report argues.<br />A culture has developed in which businesses, the public sector and voluntary organisations "fear litigation for the smallest of accidents and manage risk in accordance with this fear," he adds.<br />There is no liability in existing law unless negligence can be proved, he argues, but fears that people may be implicated are "pernicious" to volunteering, he says.<br />His report also suggests that a "good samaritan" law may be necessary to make it clear that people will not be sued for voluntary actions - such as clearing snow from a driveway - which may inadvertently contribute to accidents.<br />The president of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, Muiris Lyons, told the BBC that while he "broadly welcomed" Lord Young's proposed guidelines on when claims could be brought, he believed people should still be able to sue in cases of negligence by others.<br />He said the number of personal injury claims had fallen over the last ten years - partly due to employers taking more care because of fears of legal action.<br />"We would be very concerned by any steps taken in this area, that might lead to people being more injured," he said.<br />15 October 2010 Last updated at 12:36 <br />190500<br />Health and safety report: Key proposals<br />Lord Young's report Common Sense, Common Safety calls for a shake-up of health and safety measures to an end "senseless" rules and regulations and tackle Britain's "compensation culture". <br />Prime Minister David Cameron has said he backs all of the proposed reforms and wants to see them implemented. Here is a rundown of Lord Young's main recommendations.<br />19050339090"Compensation culture"<br />Lord Young's report says the cost of litigation is a burden to public and private sectors <br />Simplify the claims procedure for personal injury and look into the possibility of doing the same in low value medical negligence cases. <br />Consider extending the upper limit for road traffic accident personal injury claims to £25,000.<br />Introduce the recommendations in Lord Justice Jackson's review of civil litigation costs earlier this year which would limit the costs for the losing side in 'no win no fee' actions<br />Restrict the operation of referral agencies and personal injury lawyers and control the volume and type of advertising.<br />Ensure people will not be held liable for any consequences due to well-intentioned voluntary acts on their part.<br />"Low-risk" workplaces<br />Simplify risk assessment procedures for low hazard workplaces such as offices, classrooms and shops. Simpler interactive risk assessments could be made available on the Health and Safety Executive's website.<br />Health and Safety Executive to develop checklists for businesses and voluntary organisations in low risk environments to help them record compliance.<br />Exempt employers from risk assessments for employees working from home in a low hazard environment. Exempt self-employed people in low hazard businesses from risk assessments.<br />Reporting accidents at work<br />In many workplaces the risk of accident or injury is low, according to the report <br />Review procedures by which businesses have to report workplace accidents.<br />Extend to seven days the period before an injury or accident needs to be reported. <br />The HSE should re-examine the operation of the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 to determine whether this is the best approach to providing an accurate national picture of workplace accidents.<br />Raising standards<br />Professionalise health and safety consultants with a qualification requirement that all consultants should be accredited to professional bodies. Establish a web-based directory of accredited health and safety consultants.<br />Insurance<br />Insurance companies should stop low risk businesses having to employ health and safety consultants to carry out full health and safety risk assessments.<br />There should be consultation with the insurance industry to ensure that worthwhile activities are not unnecessarily prevented on health and safety grounds. Insurance companies should draw up a code of practice on health and safety for businesses and the voluntary sector. <br />19050342265Education<br />Health and safety red tape puts school trips under threat, it is claimed <br />Introduce a simplified risk assessment for classrooms and a single consent form that covers all activities a child may undertake during his or her time at a school. <br />Shift from a system of risk assessment to a system of risk-benefit assessment.<br />Abolish the Adventure Activities Licensing Authority and replace licensing with a code of practice.<br />Local authorities<br />Officials who ban events on health and safety grounds should put their reasons in writing. <br />Citizens should have a right of redress with local authorities carrying out a review of their decision to ban an event. <br />There should be a right of appeal to an ombudsman who may award damages where it is not possible to reinstate an event.<br />Health and safety legislation<br />Consolidate health and safety regulations. The HSE should produce separate guidance under the Code of Practice for low risk small and medium businesses. <br />Ensure that EU health and safety rules for low risk businesses are not overly prescriptive. Look to enhance the role for the HSE for large multi-site retail businesses as soon as practicable.<br />Combining health and safety and food safety inspections<br />Local authority inspectors to be made responsible for both areas. Make mandatory local authority participation in the Food Standards Agency's Food Hygiene Rating Scheme, where businesses serving or selling food to the public will be given a rating of between nought and five. <br />The ratings will be published on an online database. Encourage the voluntary display of ratings. Allow inspections by other accredited bodies to reduce the burden on local councils.<br />Police and fire services<br />Police officers and firefighters should not be at risk of investigation or prosecution under health and safety legislation when engaged in the course of their duties if they have put themselves at risk as a result of committing a heroic act.<br />Cameron backs proposed health and safety law reforms <br />Prime Minister David Cameron has backed proposed reforms to safety laws - including forcing councils to pay compensation for wrongly cancelling events on health and safety grounds.<br />The reforms, in a report by Lord Young, also include a crackdown on personal injury ads and cuts to red tape.<br />Mr Cameron hailed the report as a "turning point".<br />But the unions said it was a missed opportunity to prevent death and injury at work and was based on "myths".<br />The government has accepted all of the recommendations in Lord Young's report Common Sense, Common Safety. <br />These include:<br />A simplified procedure for personal injury claims and controls on the "volume and type" of advertising of such services<br />A "common sense" approach to educational trips, with a single consent form covering all activities a child might undertake<br />Consultants who carry out workplace safety assessments to be professionally qualified and registered on an online database<br />Council officials who ban events on health and safety grounds should put their reasons in writing, Lord Young says, and citizens should have a "route for redress" if they want to challenge officials' decisions.<br />'Senseless rules' <br />They should be able to refer "unfair" decisions to the local government ombudsman "and a fast track process should be implemented to ensure that decisions can be overturned within two weeks".<br />"If appropriate the ombudsman may award damages where it is not possible to reinstate an event," the report adds, saying that further legislation may be required to strengthen the ombudsman's role.<br /> “Start Quote<br />This report is a missed opportunity to improve the UK's workplace safety record”<br />End Quote Brendan Barber TUC General Secretary <br />Lord Young, who served as trade and industry secretary under Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, claimed there was "widespread" abuse of health and safety laws, adding: "What is sensible for dangerous occupations has been spread over the rest of life." <br />And he said his report, which only dealt with "non-hazardous occupations," such as office-workers or teachers, would "get rid of a great deal of bureaucracy". <br />"The only protection we all have is using our eyes, and using our common sense, filling in a form doesn't change anything," he told the BBC News Channel. <br />On the "compensation culture", he said that, as a former solicitor, he was "ashamed" by some of the TV advertising he saw for personal injury lawyers, arguing that there needed to be a "sensible balance, to enable people to get access to justice but not, as we are getting today, incitement to litigate, because people are being paid to bring claims".<br />Writing in the report's foreword, David Cameron said: "A damaging compensation culture has arisen, as if people can absolve themselves from any personal responsibility for their own actions, with the spectre of lawyers only too willing to pounce with a claim for damages on the slightest pretext.<br />"We simply cannot go on like this".<br />'Grave disappointment' <br />He vowed to "put a stop to the senseless rules that get in the way of volunteering, stop adults from helping out with other people's children and penalise our police and fire services for acts of bravery".<br />Instead, he said the government would "focus regulations where they are most needed; with a new system that is proportionate, not bureaucratic; that treats adults like adults and reinstates some common sense and trust".<br />He said Lord Young had agreed to stay on as his adviser on health and safety laws, who would work with departments across government to put his proposals into action.<br />The report was welcomed by business groups.<br />Dr Adam Marshall, director of policy and external affairs at the British Chambers of Commerce, said: "Lord Young's recommendations are both sensible and long overdue. <br />"Businesses have long said that health and safety rules cannot be applied to hazardous environments and offices in the same way - and that there are too many burdens involved in allowing employees to work from home."<br />but trade unions reacted with anger to the report, with the TUC calling it a "grave disappointment".<br />TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "This report is a missed opportunity to improve the UK's workplace safety record and by failing to challenge the myths around health and safety it could actually make things much worse."<br />Health and Safety brigade face crackdown <br />By James Tapsfield, PA<br />Saturday, 2 October 2010<br />Town halls that wrongly ban events on health and safety grounds could face making big compensation payouts, under plans being considered by the Government. <br />Teachers could also be given assurances that they are not liable for everyday mishaps and accidents during school trips and after-hours clubs. <br />Tory former Cabinet minister Lord Young, who has drawn up the proposals at David Cameron's request, said he wanted to inject "common sense" into the health and safety regime. <br />But critics accused the peer of focusing on "silly" incidents rather than ensuring people were properly protected at work and in the community. <br />Lord Young's review has concluded that: <br />:: Local authorities that wrongly try to block events on health and safety grounds should be forced to pay compensation; <br />:: There should be a crackdown on advertising encouraging people to make personal injury claims on a no-win, no-fee basis; <br />:: Red tape that can prevent children from going on school outings should be scrapped; <br />:: People performing first aid or Good Samaritan acts should be exempted from being sued. <br />Speaking to the Daily Mail ahead of a speech to the Tory conference in Birmingham, Lord Young said he had uncovered extraordinary examples, including a restaurant that would not give out toothpicks for fear of injury, a headteacher who told pupils not to walk under a conker tree without helmets and a council that banned a pancake race because it was raining. <br />"It makes you wonder what sort of world we have come to," Lord Young said. <br />"It has gone to such extremes. What I have seen everywhere is a complete lack of common sense. People have been living in an alternative universe." <br />Lord Young said he was particularly concerned about council officials who often claimed powers to stop village fetes, sporting events or other events when they have none. <br />In one example, organisers of the annual Whitsun cheese-rolling down a steep hill in the Cotswolds cancelled it this year after pressure from police and local authorities. <br />In future those affected by wrong decisions may go to the local government ombudsman who will be able to insist that a council pays compensation. <br />Asked how much local authorities would be forced to pay, Lord Young said: "Whatever the loss is. I want officials to think twice and make sure they have the authority. <br />"This sort of nonsense has come from the last government trying to create a nanny state and trying to keep everybody in cotton wool. <br />"Frankly if I want to do something stupid and break my leg or neck, that's up to me. I don't need a council to tell me not to be an idiot. I can be an idiot all by myself." <br />Lord Young went on: 'Schools are not allowing pupils to go on days out because they are scared they will be liable if an accident happens. <br />"That's nonsense, and that's not going to continue, unless a teacher is really negligent. In the ordinary course of events, accidents happen." <br />Lord Young said the Government had approved his report, which is due to be published later this month, and would also implement a crackdown on 'ambulance-chasing' personal injury firms. <br />There will be restrictions on the way they advertise their services and a limit to speculative lawsuits. <br />TUC Health and Safety Officer Hugh Robertson said: "The signs are that Lord Young's report gets the balance completely wrong. <br />"For sure silly things are sometimes done in the name of health and safety and the behaviour of some claims firms can be reprehensible. <br />"But the real health and safety scandal in the UK is the 20,000 people who die each year due to injury or diseases linked to their work. <br />"A serious review of health and safety would put far more emphasis on dealing with this avoidable death and suffering. <br />"Losing a loved one to an occupational disease is rather more serious than losing out on the chance to join a pancake race." <br />Des Collins, senior partner of Collins Solicitors, attacked the review for offering a "quick fix". <br />"The perception is that we live in a compensation culture and if you stop people suing, that compensation culture will simply disappear," he said. <br />"Once you start restricting the right of the individual to go to court to complain then you are, in my view, heading for trouble." <br />Teachers hit back over school trips red tape<br />Teachers have hit back at claims they use red tape as an excuse not to take children on school trips.<br />Lord Young's report on health and safety has said excessive form-filling and health and safety assessments mean children miss out.<br />He called for the process to be simplified with parents signing a single consent form.<br />But teaching unions said such procedures were key in ensuring pupils remained safe.<br />In his report, Lord Young said: "There have been a number of cases where schools have prevented pupils from taking part in educational visits citing health and safety as reason for non-participation.<br />"As a consequence, children are potentially missing out on vital education because schools just do not have the time and resources to carry out the process and, if they do, they are too concerned about threat of legal action should an accident happen."<br />These include youngsters being prevented from going on trips because of medical conditions or disabilities.<br />But there have also been a handful of high profile cases where children have died on trips abroad or on outward bound adventure programmes.<br />Corners cut? <br />General secretary of the National Union of Teachers Christine Blower said it would be Lord Young's proposals, not current health and safety rules, that discouraged school trips.<br />"It is just not true to say risk assessments prevent trips taking place. <br />"To say that teachers shouldn't consider risks before taking children and young people out on trips just seems absurd. <br />"We don't want to see teachers filling in reams of forms for the sake of it, but I'm sure most teachers would agree that you have to consider in advance what might go wrong and take precautions."<br />She said the point of risk assessments was to make sure the systems and arrangements were safe, not to limit compensation claims.<br />Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said her members were keen for more pupils to experience school trips.<br />"We are worried that simplifying the work before schools engage in activities could lead to corners being cut and health and safety compromised," she added.<br />Continue reading the main story <br />“Start Quote<br />There has been too much of a cotton wool culture”<br />End Quote Adrian Voce Play England <br />Lord Young's report also highlighted concerns about children's play areas being made too safe because of misinterpretations of the Health and Safety at Work Act.<br />He said this had lead to the creation of "uninspiring play spaces that do not enable children to experience risk".<br />He added: "Such play is vital for a child's development and should not be scarified to the course of overzealous and disproportionate risk assessments."<br />Adrian Voce, director of Play England, said: "We know that more than half of children are not allowed to climb a tree without adult supervision.<br />He added: "There has been too much of a cotton wool culture. We are hoping that this review will help people accept that children need and want challenges and adventure." <br />

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