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Health and safety reforms planned
The Government has announced plans to strip the red tape from "Britain's health and safety culture", giving greater protection for responsible employers and do-gooders who end up being involved in liability claims.
Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said the move is aimed at removing the bureaucracy that sometimes deters people from volunteering and carrying out good deeds.
He said too many people are being put off helping others because of worries of being sued for negligence. Of the many people who do volunteer, research suggests that nearly half of them, 47%, are concerned about the risk of liability, he said.
The Government is also bringing forward measures that will put the law more clearly on the side of employers who do the right thing to protect employees if something does go wrong through no fault of their own.
The measures, which could be introduced as early as next year, will also provide greater protection to small business owners who face challenges from irresponsible employees even if they have taken a responsible approach to safety training and procedures.
The Ministry of Justice said the law would be changed so that judges will have to give weight to factors when deciding negligence cases, including whether someone was doing a good deed like volunteering, or if they were acting responsibly.
Mr Grayling said: "I don't want us to be a society where people feel that they can't do the right thing for fear of breaking regulations or becoming liable if something goes wrong.
"I don't want us to be a society where a responsible employer gets the blame for someone doing something stupid. I want a society where common sense is the order of the day, and I believe this measure will help us get there."
The laws would apply in England and Wales.