Government plans could soon see town halls facing huge compensation payouts if they ban events on health and safety grounds. Teachers, for example, could be given assurances that they wouldn’t be liable for minor mishaps which they experience such as taking their pupils on school trips or helping out at after-hour clubs.
Former Conservative Cabinet Minister Lord Young is responsible for drawing up the proposals, who says his intensions are to inject health and safety with a deal of “common sense”.
His critics have responded who say Lord Young should be concentrating his efforts on more pressing matters such as making sure that people were protected in the community and at work.
The review concluded that a clamp down on advertisements which encourage people to make “no win, no fee” personal injury claims with those performing First Aid or carrying out Good Samaritan Acts exempt from being sued.
Ahead of the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham Lord Young spoke to the Daily Mail. Here, he cited baffling examples such as a headteacher who advised students to refrain from walking below a conker tree and a council who called off a pancake race due to a fall of rain.
“It makes you wonder what sort of world we have come to,” said Lord Young. “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.”
“This sort of nonsense has come from the last government trying to create a nanny state and trying to keep everybody in cotton wool. 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.”
Hugh Robertson, a TUC Health and Safety Officer, responded to the comments made by Lord Young. “The signs are that Lord Young’s report gets the balance completely wrong.”
“For sure silly things are sometimes done in the name of health and safety and the behaviour of some firms can be reprehensible. 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.”