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Friday, 2 July 2010

Friday Guest Blog

Sue Killen, Chief Executive of St John Ambulance

We welcome the Government’s forthcoming review into health and safety legislation.

David Cameron has said: "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."

Consequently, former Trade and Industry Secretary Lord Young has been appointed to lead the health and safety review.

Lord Young has been reported to say: "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… We need a system that is proportionate and not bureaucratic."

The right approach to health and safety saves lives – in 2008/9 we saw a 22% decrease in the number of people who die at work compared with the previous five years' average figures.

I believe it is the misinterpretation of health and safety guidance that causes problems and welcomes a review to ensure sensible and proper execution.

We’d be concerned if workplaces like offices had their guidance reduced. Our research has shown that 45% of office incidents requiring a first aider were serious enough to involve resuscitation compared with 21% of incidents on a building site, which is traditionally seen as more high risk. Good health and safety management is part of effective management. All workplaces need to put measures in place to protect their staff and customers, as we know that trained first aiders are the difference between a life lost and a life saved.

For further information about health and safety and first aid call St John Ambulance on 0844 770 4800 or visit

A free workplace training guide for Chamber members is available at:

Chamber of Commerce members are entitled to a 10% discount off all St John Ambulance courses in the North West.

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