Simplifying and improving the EU regulatory environment is one of the Barroso Commission’s main instruments within the framework of the Lisbon Strategy. Dubbed "better regulation", the initiative could allow businesses to save billions of euros, according to the Commission. This issue uncovers the hidden side of this campaign that could undermine the European health and safety legislation.

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Editorial - The “better regulation” rhinoceros

The rhinoceros is reputed to be a single-minded and short-sighted animal. The current European Commission’s determination to make “better regulation” its historical contribution to the shaping of Europe smacks of the same obduracy and myopia. “Better regulation”? Who could be against that? It would be like complaining about sunny weather. But the... Find out more

Better Regulation: really better for health and safety at work in Europe?

In a chilling announcement, the Commission claims that its plan for better regulation should enable savings of 150 billion euros for 2012 through a 25% cut in the administrative burden on business. The figure may be questionable, but a close look at the specific proposals seems to leave little doubt that much of the handout to business will come at... Find out more

Community bureaucracy and “better regulation”… pot – kettle?

For some years now, the European Commission has been spawning bureaucratic bodies set up to “combat bureaucracy”, or more accurately, to rid public policies of what annoys employers. One of the most recent is a “High Level Group” set up in August 2007 supposedly to represent independent stakeholders. It consists largely of representatives of... Find out more

A short A-to-Z of BetReg

All bureaucracies tend to spawn their own buzzword vocabulary. Insiders use it as shorthand to communicate more readily, but coded language also sets them apart from “civilians”. The meteoric rise of a special branch of administration tasked with overseeing the running of the other branches could be no exception. Like the USA, the European Union... Find out more

OSHA: America’s deregulation test bed

The “better regulation” lobby typically claims that its only aim is to cut red tape. And who could argue with that? The United States is the most advanced test bed for it, but experience there belies the claim. Far from reducing the form-filling, the build-up of measures over the past quarter century has spawned a singular bureaucracy in the form... Find out more

Vinyl chloride: when OSHA stood up to industry

Vinyl chloride is a chemical widely used in plastics manufacture. It is a carcinogen, and the atrocious conditions of its use have caused countless suffering. The chemical industry has long held out against any highly regulatory preventive measures or reasonably protective exposure limits. In 1954, the industry’s acceptable exposure limit was 500... Find out more

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HESA Newsletter. Special report - Better regulation