no embargo - 21 March 2011 Back to news releases)
Regulations don’t kill jobs but lack of regulations kill workers!
Chris Grayling’s Work and Pension minister Chris Grayling’s announced today yet another review of health and safety with the aim of removing yet more protection for workers.
Dorothy Wright Founder member of Families Against Corporate Killers (FACK) says: “My son Mark, features in the Job Killers poster above, and he was not killed because of too much regulation, too much red tape or over zealous enforcement of health and safety, but because his employers paid very little attention to health and safety, and utterly failed to reduce the risk to which he was exposed. They lacked the common sense to treat aerosols as dangerous, crushed them and blew him up in a fire ball. They did not fear any enforcement action by the HSE, they were not overburdened by paper work. Mark was killed because they did not obey the law and no one made them do it. There are lots of employers like Mark’s. (1).”
Linda Whelan another founder member of FACK said: “None of our family members was killed by red tape or employers fearing enforcement. They were killed because of the exact opposite – too little if any time spent on health and safety, and no fear of being found out. It now feels like we are living in Alice in Wonderland where cutting health and safety regulation and slashing the numbers of those who enforce it, is supposed to make everything magically better! How reducing requirements on employers and almost completely removing any credible threat that they might be inspected and found out by proactive inspections BEFORE they kill, maim, or make someone very ill, can improve what we know is a pitifully inadequate system, is completely beyond us.
When Chris Grayling says: “We will also shift the cost burden of health and safety law away from the tax payer, and instead make those organisations that fail to meet their obligations pay to put things right.” we agree, but then we see that this is just another fairy tale as everything he plans to do will cause the absolute opposite to happen.
Linzi Herbertson another Founder member of FACK says: “We are insulted by the focus of the minister and the government solely on the supposed burdens on business when we know they are minuscule beside the massive, life long, generational and unbearable burden our families carry every day. We also once believed in the fairy tale version of the world upon which Grayling and the government base their false economies. We did once think that Britain was brilliant at health and safety, had a great laws, strictly enforced and, where employers failed to comply, appropriate penalties via the justice system. We woke up from that fantasy when our son, husband, daughter, brother, mother, father or sister didn’t come home from work. We stopped believing in fairy tales when we learned how many others are killed every year by negligent employers, how little employers fear being caught out by inspectors and so treat health and safety law as optional, and even when prosecuted how inadequate the penalties for taking a life through gross negligence. We became more cynical as we learned how little employers pay for the harm they cause yet how loudly they shout and how eagerly the government listens to them, but not to us (2).
Linda Whelan adds: “We are now growing very angry that lies and bogus figures from the business community are being used to justify reductions in workers safety and health. We are angry that the public is being fed falsehoods, and that lazy acceptance of these falsehoods goes unchallenged by the HSE or by safety professionals and we despair of the real figures being presented and examined. We fear that more families will have to go through the hell we lived through and will have to learn that the majority of the burden is borne by us, but then by the state, which is us again as tax payers, and only then do employers pay: less than a quarter of the cost of the harm they cause (2,3).
“Mr Grayling needs to talk to us, to the people who bear the real burdens of poor health and safety. FACK members are horrified at these proposals and fear many more people will be killed. We also fear many more will be made ill and injured as this government’s understanding of the real world of work is very old fashioned and out of date.
“We ask this government to stop getting all its information from business not the victims of their crimes, and to look more carefully at the abundant evidence that good regulation strictly enforced, saves lives, saves heath and, saves money (3).
FACK says: “No-one can afford the heart break of a family member being killed by negligence at work, but then neither can the whole economy afford the cost of poor health and safety, minimum of £30 billion per year, and the massive subsidy of over 75% that we pay to non-compliant, criminal employers.”
Contact FACK on 0161 636 7557
For more information and FACK stories see http://www.hazardscampaign.org.uk/fack/aboutus
For FACK DVD ‘Face the FACKS; the human cost of workplace killing’ stories of workers killed for just going to work where their employers failed to protect them, by Families Against Corporate Killers see http://www.hazardscampaign.org.uk/fack/resources/facethefacks.pdf
Notes to editors
3 Job killers- Regulations don’t kill jobs; lacks of regulations kill workers. Pesky safety regulations and meddling inspectors are bringing the economy to its knees and stifling job creation, or so the business lobby says. But there are a couple of large flies in their deregulatory ointment - the arguments are bogus and the statistics behind them are rigged. http://www.hazards.org/votetodie/jobkillers.htm
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