news release



no embargo - 2 March 2011( Back to news releases)

Health and safety regulations don’t kill jobs: lack of regulations kill workers!

Photo call: Wed 2nd March
TUCG H&S Rally: College Green, Parliament at 12.30
Meeting in Committee Room 14 at 2pm

The business lobby claims that pesky safety regulations and meddling inspectors are bringing the economy to its knees and stifling job creation, but FACK spokesperson Linzi Herbertson says: “There are a couple of big problems with this deregulatory fantasy: their arguments are bogus and the statistics behind them are rigged.”.”

She adds: “Wherever you go the business lobby is trotting out the same arguments claiming businesses are closing and jobs being lost due to the burden of regulation with heath and safety rules targeted as a top ‘job killer’.  They are trying to hoodwink government, the media and the public, but it’s not true and the burdens on us!  (1)

“The arguments that it is too expensive for business to obey health and safety rules is bogus as they fail to take into account all the benefits they gain in lower insurance, less lost production and damage, lower sickness absence bills and less compensation that good health and safety provides to their business.  But they also fail to count the cost of their failure to manage health and safety properly which exceeds by many times even their bogus inflated figures for complying.  Even more important the business lobby completely fails to tell everyone that they pay less than 25% of the cost of injury, death and illness, as 75% is borne by workers, their families and the state.  We want the government to listen to the true facts not the burdens on business lies and listen to us, the ones who pay the cost of poor health and safety in blood and tears.” (2)

Linda Whelan FACK Founder members of Families Against Corporate Killers says: “We are participating in this TUCG event to tell MPs and this government that it’s not employers who bear the burden but people we love who went to work and never came home, killed by employers’ negligence and by a regulatory and enforcement regime which is too lax.  Our families bear the burden for ever.  If government reduces regulation and cuts enforcement as they plan to do, then many more workers will die unnecessarily.  No family should have to bear the death of a worker and the whole of society cannot afford to subsidise criminally negligent employers to the tune of £billions every year especially in a time of austerity. We mustn’t be fooled again.”

Dorothy Wright who is speaking at the TUCG rally says:  “We have all suffered the loss of a precious relative in a work related  incident Not one of these deaths was an 'accident' in the true definition of the word being 'the totally unpredictable result of a deliberate action'  The
killings were SO predictable , in some cases, SO totally inevitable, because a senior manager or director ignored all basic common sense and put employees in so much danger that deaths were inevitable - 'accidents > waiting to happen' as the courts like to call them. We would go as far as
> calling them 'state condoned murder'. We are here today to tell the government that ‘We didn’t vote to die at work’, stop this deregulation and enforcement cut madness.” (3)

More information contact Hilda Palmer 0161 636 7557 mobile 079298 00240

Notes to editors

1 Job Killers
British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) claim safety regulations cost £374 a year and since 1998 cumulative cost of £2.9 Billion.  A government regulatory impact assessment in 2006 estimated the total annual cost of non-asbestos occupational cancer deaths (each cancer death costing £2.46 million each) at between £3billion and £12.3 billion which is 8 to 33 times what BCC claims it cost to implement health and safety in one year. But that’s not even the full cost as it excludes asbestos cancers (5,000 a year); deaths due to workplace incidents, a 2008 HSE economics briefing put the total cost of each occupational fatality at £1.5 million which, taking the Hazards Campaign estimate of up to 1,500 per year comes to over £2.2 billion, plus the cost of non-fatal injuries and ill health and the cost is well over the annual £374 million costs BCC claim..
Economic Analysis Unit (EAU) appraisal values, HSE, July 2008 [pdf]

The Whole Story Hazards Campaign estimates of the real toll of workplaces harm

2. 2008 HSE analysis estimated that less than a quarter of the costs of work-related injuries and ill-health is borne by the employers ‘Although the costs are attributable to the activities of the business... the bulk of the cost fell ‘externally on individuals and society.’  The costs to employers in Britain of workplace injuries and work-related ill health in 2005/06, HSE Discussion Paper Series, No. 002, September 2008 [pdf].

3. We Didn’t Vote to Die at Work Campaign:

Families Against Corporate Killers was set up in 2006 see

Founder FACK members say “We set up FACK in 2006, because employers failure to comply with health and safety laws killed people we love, read our stories which are just the tip of the iceberg to understand why we need strong health and safety law, strictly enforced, see our DVD ‘Face the FACKs; the human cost of workplace killing.’

“My son Craig Whelan (23) and his fellow steeple jack Paul Wakefield were killed in an explosion when managers signed a permit to work using hot cutting gear to dismantle a metal chimney despite being advised this was too dangerous yet escaped a manslaughter prosecution.” Linda Whelan

“Our son Mark Wright (37) was killed in an explosion when he was told by his manger to bale aerosol containers despite a risk assessment and the baler’s manual forbidding this, but the manger and company escaped manslaughter prosecutions.” Dorothy and Douglas Wright.

“My husband Andy Herbertson (29) was killed when he fell as he was dismantling a printing machine using an incorrectly assembled scaffolding without training or protective measure and I had to turn off his life support machine on our son’s 8th birthday and the fine and costs came to less than £10,000.” Linzi H

“Our 17 year old son Lewis Murphy was killed in an explosion when transferring petrol and diesel to a waste tank and fumes were sucked into the flue of gas boiler, in a garage where the employer believed health and safety was ‘just common sense’ and had no safe procedures set up.” Bet and Mick Murphy.

“My brother Michael Adamson (26) was electrocuted when a live wire had not been isolated but was marked out of use.” Louise Taggart.

 “Our son Samuel Adams was 6 when he was killed at a shopping centre by a heavy barrier that was unrestrained.” Paul and Dawn Adams

“Our son Andrew Hutin was 20 when he was killed with colleagues as a faulty blast furnace blew up at Corus. They were fined £1.3 million plus £1.7 million costs but got a brand new £75 million blast furnace.”  Mike and Lynne Hutin.