A former Cabinet Minister spoke today of his ambition to stop health and safety legislation being seen as a "music hall joke".
Lord Young, who has been asked by Prime Minister David Cameron to lead a Whitehall-wide review of health and safety laws, said that over the past 10 to 12 years a "nanny state" had "really" developed.
"There is no question, in any dangerous occupation, in any place where people are in danger, health and safety rules will apply," he told BBC Breakfast.
"But there are so many parts of life where it is an absolute nonsense. If there were still music halls, it would be a music hall joke."
The former trade and industry secretary under Margaret Thatcher listed examples such as restaurants banning toothpicks on health and safety grounds and a pancake race where contestants were asked to walk as it had been raining.
He added another example of a school where pupils were taught to put on make-up but were told the make-up person could not use wipes to remove it because of health and safety.
He added that bureaucracy surrounding health and safety had risen "alarmingly", with teachers refusing to take pupils on school trips because of the red tape they have to deal with before going.
Lord Young is expected to report to Downing Street in the summer.
He 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".
Mr Cameron said: "I'm very pleased that Lord Young has agreed to lead this important review.
"The rise of the compensation culture over the last 10 years is a real concern, as is the way health and safety rules are sometimes applied.
"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."
Work and Pensions Minister Chris Grayling welcomed Lord Young's appointment.
"It is important that we review health and safety regulation so that, while people are protected at work, there isn't a burden on business and people can still use their common sense without fearing they are breaking the law," he said.Reuse content