for immediate use - 2 December 2009 (Back to news releases)
FACK condemns David Cameronís attack on health and safety and asks him to meet us to hear the terrible consequences of the lack of health and safety at work.
Families of people killed at work condemn David Cameron’s ill-informed, myth believing, tabloid-pleasing, evidence- free, mischief making about health and safety having gone too far.
“‘It would be laughable if he were not the leader of a party seeking to be in government!’ said Linzi Herbertson, a founder member of FACK. She added: “David Cameron appears to have taken stories from the tabloids and concocted a web of myth and mischief around them, without doing any research to ascertain the real numbers killed and injured in workplace incidents – 1,500 -1,600 each year not just those reported to the HSE-, let alone the thousands made ill or dying from work-related illnesses caused by exposure to unacceptable conditions at work- up to 50,000 (1). He should read Hazards Magazine and all of our stories about how the people we love went off to work and because their negligent employers killed them, they never came home again (2).! Much of what he rants about is compensation and concerns children, not workers, but he should know that less than 10% of workers get any compensation when injured or made ill by their work (3).
“He also talks of H&S preventing responsibility, yes quite so, the real issue is of employers refusing to take responsibility for ensuring basic minimum standards of health and safety, which are not draconian, or over zealous, but very basic avoidance of most serious risks like fire, explosion, exposure to carcinogens, falling from height, being crushed or electrocuted.. All of our loved ones would be alive today if their employers had just complied with these very basic minimum standards. When you go to work you are exposed to the risks your employer creates: don’t blame the victims David, blame the perpetrators.”
Dorothy Wright, founder member of FACK says:
“'As the mother of a young man whose life, like so many, was stolen by a greedy unscrupulous corporate killer, leaving his young children traumatized and in poverty, I would sincerely hope that David Cameron never gets into power as he has sold his very soul and every citizen's life for Corporate backing.’
FACK spokesperson added: “It seem that David Cameron has learned nothing from the utter catastrophe caused by lack of regulation and enforcement in the financial sector. To be making such a speech on the eve of the 25th anniversary of the Bhopal killings, the worst corporate killing incident in history is more than ironic. Cameron quotes the costs to business of compliance but leaves out the savings made by having fewer incidents and injuries, and he never once mentions the cost to those hurt by failure of health and safety management, which is the vast majority of those injured, killed and made ill.
“He claims health and safety is a strait jacket, well if so it is very loose and very unconstricting on employers. We do still have health and safety regulation, but only the tatty remains of the enforcement regime. Only 1-in-15 major injuries is now investigated at all and there was no enforcement action at all by HSE in over 97 per cent of all fatal and major injury cases. Cameron’s speech is worryingly ignorant and fact-free nonsense and FACK feels will harm workers and their families even more, he talk of responsibility but blames the victims and leaves the perpetrators to get awaywith it.. “
For more information, contact FACK on 0161 636 7557 Hilda Palmer
FACK website www.fack.org.uk the About us section has some of our stories
1. Article by Hazards Campaign published in Safety and Health Practitioner in December 2009 -The Whole Story- http://www.shponline.co.uk/article.asp?article_id=8265&viewcomment=1
2. ‘Who Pays?’ article on the business invented, health and safety “costs” calculations. http://www.hazards.org/deadlybusiness/whopays.htm
3. A Little Compensation see http://www.hazards.org/compensation/alittlecompensation.pdf
For amore detailed analysis of the Conservative plans to deregulate health and safety see ‘Escaping Scrutiny’ commentary on the Tories plans to deregulate health and safety. http://www.hazards.org/deadlybusiness/escapingscrutiny.htm.