Triennial review giving HSE the thumbs up is rejected by government planning to exterminate the protection of hard-working workers by commercialisation!
The Hazards Campaign mostly welcomes HSE Triennial Review Report but condemns the government’s demented Dalek cries of ‘Deregulate, Privatise, Commercialise’ which is their only discredited answer to everything, and risks exterminating the public protection of workers’ health and safety.
Hazards Campaign spokesperson said “We utterly condemn the DWP minister’s response as irrational, pre-conceived, market-driven ideological claptrap, unsupported by any evidence, fact or need, and likely to increase the risk of death, injury and illness at work of those hard-working people the government is so fond of pretending to support.
Martin Temple’s independent report (1) concludes unequivocally that HSE’s functions are still necessary, that the HSE as a non-departmental body (NDPB) is the best way to execute them, and that broadly it does this well. Temple, supported by a tripartite advisory panel, led a review of the facts and evidence, including responses to the consultation document and meetings with knowledgeable people and organisations such as the Hazards Campaign and Families Against Corporate Killers.
Mike Penning, the Minster for Disabled People at the DWP (2) while accepting the report’s conclusions, then rejects it’s considered findings: ‘I welcome these recommendations, but want to go further to introduce reforms of HSE to ensure that it delivers value for money to the taxpayer, whilst ensuring safety for the nation. There is considerable potential for HSE to become more commercial in outlook and in delivery – increasing the pace of the work already started within the organisation. ‘
Hazards Campaign spokesperson added: “We welcome the report’s confirmation that the functions of the HSE are necessary and in general it is best body to carry them out. And we utterly condemn as lacking any credibility, the minister’s dismissal of his own government-commissioned, independent review process because it didn’t rubber stamp the ideological market-led result the government wanted. Any evidence that refutes the government’s sick fantasy approach to workers’ lives and health – the lie that it’s a terrible ’burden on business’ – gets the irrational demented Dalek mantra of: ‘ Deregulate, Privatise and Commercialise’ (3) and threats to exterminate the HSE as we know it.
“The HSE wasn’t completely broken before, but it may be now. This looks like the government trying to abolish the HSE as it originally wanted to do in 2010, and has continued to undermine it by review after pointless review (4)- and by the daily rubbishing of HSE’s work, and the very notion that regulation and enforcement are necessary to ensure employers protect workers.
“The problem for workers is getting employers to comply with health and safety law at all, which has been made far harder by government pulling out the HSE watchdog’s teeth since 2010. The problem for the tax-payer is that employers’ mismanagement of health and safety at work is costing well over £40 billion a year by the most conservative of estimates (5). Mike Penning’s proposals to further commercialise what’s left of workers’ protection answers neither of those problems. It will put hard-working workers at even greater risk of being hurt by their employers with even less HSE intervention. It will cost individuals their lives, their health and their livelihoods, and it will reduce the value of the HSE to tax payers by shifting even more costs of cleaning up employers’ negligence onto the public purse.
“The Hazards Campaign does not agree with all the report’s recommendations some of which seem confused and at odds with the body of the report, especially on the composition of the HSE Board and on increasing commercialisation. However, support for tripartism, for prevention of occupational ill-health rather than individualistic well-being nonsense, criticism of FFI, rejection of privatisation, and some consideration of the cost of poor management of health and safety by employers is welcome. We would have liked a proper evaluation of the true, full cost of employers’ poor management of health and safety and the savings in lives, health and money which would be made by investing in the HSE and a strict enforcement and regulation regime. The massive benefits to public health and to society this could produce would pay for the HSE many times over in the prevention of work-related deaths, injuries and illness, and make workers safer and healthier (6).
“Mike Penning’s statement shows the government cares not a jot for the health and safety of hard working workers, or for the burdens on tax-payers, but instead is about rewarding its business paymasters with even less scrutiny. Workers and public beware: the HSE wasn’t completely broken by the government before, but it may be now””
For more information contact The UK National Hazards Campaign: 0161 636 7557
2. WRITTEN MINISTERIAL STATEMENT Thursday 9 January 2014 THE DEPARTMENT FOR WORK AND PENSIONS Triennial Review of the Health and Safety Executive
The Minister for Disabled People (Mike Penning MP): On 25 April 2013 the Minister for Employment made a written statement to Parliament announcing the Triennial Review of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and that Martin Temple, Chair of the EEF would lead that review. I am pleased to announce the conclusion of the Review and publication of Mr Temple’s report later today.
HSE is an Executive Non-Departmental Public Body (NDPB). It is the national, independent regulator for work-related safety and health. Its mission is the prevention of death, injury and ill health to those at work and those affected by work activities.
The review has concluded that the functions performed by HSE are still required and that it should be retained as a NDPB. Mr Temple has recommended that HSE build on its well-deserved international reputation and makes more progress to grow its commercial income.
I welcome these recommendations, but want to go further to introduce reforms of HSE to ensure that it delivers value for money to the taxpayer, whilst ensuring safety for the nation. There is considerable potential for HSE to become more commercial in outlook and in delivery – increasing the pace of the work already started within the organisation.
Therefore, I have asked HSE to begin work immediately to examine commercial models for HSE in collaboration with HMT and Cabinet office, and to review the HSE Board to ensure it has the right skills to oversee future efficiencies and commercial income generating options. Some of the other recommendations require further consideration and therefore the Government will respond more fully later this year.
I will place a copy of the report of the Triennial Review of HSE in the House library later today.
3. Hazards Magazine Business says Deregulate: the government will obey
4. Lord Young Review, Red Tape Reviews, Professor Lofstedt Review
5. Good health and safety is not a ‘burden on business’ it’s a burden on us! The cost of the harm caused by poor workplace health and safety
The HSE records the costs of poor health and safety i.e. deaths, injuries and illnesses (over 70% caused by poor management according to the HSE) as £13.8 billion per year at 2010/11 prices. But this does not include the long latency illnesses like cancers. Each incident fatality costs £1.5 million and each occupational cancer costs over £2.5 million (DEFRA costing). So, even taking HSE’s gross under-estimate of 8,000 work cancer deaths per year would add £20 billion to this total making it nearer £40 billion per year. Taking Hazards figures would make it nearer £60 billion. Of this cost, according to the HSE: individuals and families pay 57%, the state – us, tax payers, the public purse! – pays 22%, and employers, whose criminal negligence caused the harm, pay 21% HSE Annual Statistics Report 2012/13: http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/overall/hssh1213.pdf
6. Hazards maagazine blueprint for saner Health and Safety Executive Plus interview with Rory O’Neill, Hazards Magazine Editor, by Health and Safety Bulletin: