Attack on Health and Safety rights



Last year the Prime Minister David Cameron said his New Year’s resolution was to “kill off the health and safety culture for good” calling it an albatross around the neck of British business. The Government have denigrated health and safety and rolled out deregulation of vital laws at top speed. They:

l Have cut the budget of the Health and Safety Executive reducing the number of independent inspections of workplaces and the numbers of prosecutions for breaking the law.

l Abolished the Crane Registration Regulations and Head Protection Regulations.

l Intend to replace the Approved Code of Practice of the Management of Health and Safety Regs replacing it with guidance.

l Removed section 47 of the Health and Safety at Work Act reducing employers liability for breach of statutory duty.

l Propose to stop some self-employed from being covered by the Health and Safety at Work Act.

l A Mesothelioma Bill to ensure victims receive payments where no liable employer or insurer can be traced, first promised by the Labour government, will not cover all those dying from asbestos related lung cancer and other occupational diseases.

l They have ignored all arguments that good safety provision acts to prevent serious injuries, disability, disease and saves lives. They are just not bothered.

The position of New Labour must change as no major opposition has come from them. In some cases Labour has acted to support these attacks. Labour must support our demands in parliament and they must become part of any election policy. If elected they must reverse the damage done by the coalition government, rescind the attacks and instead strengthen health protections for workers and their families.

Many British companies make huge profits from clothing produced in Bangladesh where lack of safety regulation has killed over 1,100 workers in the recent Dhaka Plaza Rana factory collapse. Governments cannot stand idly by and we must support the demands of the Bangladeshi trades unions. We must force the UK government to withdraw from all their attacks on health and safety.

supported by UCATT; more details of Construction Safety Campaign  07747 795 954  C/O PO Box 23844  London SE15 3WR


Commenting on the Deregulation Bill in the Queen’s Speech 8 May 2013, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:


‘Taking the protection of health and safety laws away from some of the UK’s many self-employed workers – who are more than twice as likely as employees to be killed at work – will not help businesses nor grow our economy one bit. It’s a recipe for confusion as many people will now be unsure about their rights and responsibilities. The result is likely to be an increase in workplace accidents.

The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill  

See Thompsons Solicitors analysis on the end of civil liability in health and safety for workers here…

Reversal of 114-year-old employment right goes to Lord’s without public consultation

One new development is the launch of an e-petition by Prospect urging the government to rescind the amendment. If you have not yet done so:


Please take a moment to sign the petition here

A briefing released by Thompson’s Solicitors reveals the potential implications of the amendment to Section 47 of the Health and Safety Work Act 1974, which has been added to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill at the eleventh hour by the Government. 

26 Oct 2012

The amendment would mean:

– Employers would no longer have a strict liability for the health and safety of their workers, for the first time since 1898.

– Workers could not rely on an employer’s breach of health and safety law to win a personal injury claim, they would have to provide proof of negligence.  

– Enforcement of health and safety law would be increasingly left up to a significantly weakened and less effective Health and Safety Executive.

– Employers could increasingly hide behind the defence that complying to health and safety regulations was not “reasonably practicable”.

This is part of a wider ideological move by the government in the interests of employers, to the detriment of workers.

Click here to read the IER’s full report and the Thompson’s briefing.

Labour Peers blast proposed repeal of 114-year-old employment right
As the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill has its Second Reading in the Lords, we continue to keep you up to date with the progress of an amendment that could see the repeal of a 114-year-old employment right. Read more

Summary of new briefing regarding removal of 114-year-old health and safety law
A summary of a new IER briefing by Charlie Woodhouse of Old Square Chambers, who adds further points about the implication of the amendment of Section 47, including its potential to provide gain to the insurance industry and the injustice of leaving proof of negligence down to the employeerather than employer.Read more

Full text of Briefing on the Consequences of Clause 14 of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill
Charlie Woodhouse, Barrister at Old Square Chambers, writes about the consequences of Clause 14 of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill, which reversing Section 47 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and thus removes employers’ strict liability in personal injury claims.Read more

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