Lord Young’s biased report should be binned

We didn’t vote to die at work! Lord Young’s biased report should be binned and Con-Dem government should base their policies on the evidence not prejudice say the Hazards Campaign

The Hazards Campaign says that the report produced by Lord Young is based on a mass of unsubstantiated prejudices and tabloid myth, is the antithesis of evidence-based policy making, and should not form the basis for the government’s action on health and safety. This is not the report we need now when health and safety is in a parlous state exposing far too many workers to far too great a risk and with massive extra risk coming when the cuts get underway and fewer workers will be doing the work of their sacked colleagues. We did not vote to die at work and this report will not reduce workplace illness, injury or death (1).

Hazards Campaign spokesperson said: “The evidence shows that far from good health and safety being a burden on business, it is a positive bonus to employers, but also that the real burden of poor health and safety in terms of injury, illness and death is massive and 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. (2)

“The report is based on the figures used by the HSE for deaths, injuries and illness at work which are a mere fraction of the real total (3) which is nearer 1,500 killed in work-related incidents, up to 50,000 due to work-related illness, and millions suffering ill-health but soldiering on at work every year (4).

“The evidence is that enforcement isn’t over the top, with far too few inspectors spread too thinly so that workplaces may only be inspected 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. (4)

“There is no’ compensation culture’ as government report after report, and all the facts show. 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! Far from a compensation culture, there is a laissez faire culture that allows employers to do pretty much what they want and workers hurt by this negligence are left to cope as best they can. (5)

“The report has a very shaky grasp of the enormous iceberg that is occupational ill-health which many experts agree is at an all time high, with stress and musculo-skeletal injuries at epidemic levels and very prevalent in offices and shops and other workplaces falsely labelled ‘non-hazardous’.

“Lord Young does not appear to have heeded any of the facts or evidence put before him by the TUC, trade unions or Families Against Corporate Killers, which went against the bunch of prejudices and tabloid myths he calls ‘common sense’. The report rarely lets the facts get in the way of a good tabloid scare story.

“The report is clearly an ideological, fact-free unevidenced attack on workers conditions and far from being about ‘Common Safety’ it aims to divide workers and dismantle the current universal protection for all workers’ health, safety and welfare. ‘Common sense’ doesn’t protect workers The real aim of this report and the governments plans are to cut health and safety protection to the bone and beyond, leave employers free to make workers ill, injure them and kill them with impunity.

The real shame will be the Con-Dem government using the excuse of reducing the deficit – caused by bankers exploiting the lack of regulation and enforcement – to push through deregulation and massive cuts in health and safety enforcement while falsely claiming ‘we’re all in it together.” For more information contact Hilda Palmer 0161 636 7557

Notes for Editors

1. We didn’t vote to die at work, Hazards magazine;

2. Who pays? You do, Hazards magazine

3. 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. HSE does not produce an overall figure for work-related fatalities in Great Britain.’

4. The Whole Story Safety and Health Practitioner December 2008:

5. The case for Health and Safety, TUC:

6. Compensation, Hazards magazine

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