It’s not common sense, it’s nonsense say local campaigners
Biased report based on prejudice not evidence says the West Midlands Hazards Trust
The West Midlands Hazards Trust condemned Lord Young’s report on Health and Safety Legislation in the UK. The Trust, which campaigns on health at work issues, claims the reports conclusions are based on a mass of unsubstantiated prejudices and tabloid myth. They sight the following examples:
• Good health and safety is not a burden on business, it is a positive bonus to employers. In reality the real burden of poor health and safety in terms of injury, illness and death is borne mainly by workers, their families and the state in benefits and health care cost, as employers pay only 25% of the very conservative cost of £30 billion per year(1).
• The report underestimates the numbers of deaths and injuries at work because it only includes those killed at a recognised workplace, not those killed on the roads or who die of work related diseases often years after they have been forced to stop work. In reality around 50,000 die due to work-related illness, and millions suffer ill-health but soldier on at work every year(2).
• There is no over the top enforcement, with the current number of inspectors workplaces may only be visited once every 38 years. Prosecutions and investigations are all massively down over the last ten years and there’s 37% less regulation than there was 15 years ago. Few employers are ever prosecuted and then they mostly receive paltry and derisory fines which are not a credible deterrent(3)
• There is no’ compensation culture, as past Government reports have shown. Claims under Employers Compulsory Liability Insurance, Clinical Negligence and Public Liability Insurance are all down, with only road traffic claims showing an increase. And in the case of work-related illness and injury, and even death, less than 10% of workers receive any compensation(4)
Secretary of the West Midlands Hazards Trust, Kathy Gaffney, made the group’s concerns clear in a statement today. She said: “This report is a fact-free un-evidenced attack on people’s right to a safe workplace. Far from being about ‘Common Safety’ it aims to divide workers and dismantle the current protections. We call on all Midlands MPs to oppose this report; it claims to be common sense, in fact it’s nonsense”
Doug Jewell firstname.lastname@example.org www.asbestossupportwm.org
The West Midlands Hazards Trust
138 Digbeth, Birmingham, B5 6DR
0121 678 8853 (Registered Charity 1125322) Campaigning for better health and safety at work
1. Who pays? You do http://www.hazards.org/deadlybusiness/whopays.htm
2. The UK Statistics Authority in their Report 42 on Assessments of compliance with Code of Practice for official statistics – Statistics on Health and Safety at Work (produced by the HSE) Published May 2010 Para 1.3.4: 'Statistics on work-related injuries and fatalities exclude those injuries that take place on the roads, in the air, at sea and exclude the armed forces. Although this is clearly acknowledged on HSE's website, it is not always made clear in the presentation of the statistics- for example, when addressing the organisation's targets in the compendium for publication.
3. The case for Health and Safety TUC: http://www.tuc.org.uk/workplace/tuc-18421-f0.cfm
4. Compensation: http://www.hazards.org/compensation/index.htmhttp://www.hazards.org/compensation/index.htm