news release



23 March 2010 immediate release ( Back to news releases)

Policy Exchange report on health and safety isnít based in the real world

Families Against Corporate Killers are amazed at the Policy Exchange report ‘Health and safety – reducing the Burden’ published today.

A FACK Spokesperson said: ‘The report talks of the burden of H&S on business but totally fails to acknowledge the immense and life long burden on the families of those killed, injured and whose health is destroyed by poor H&S.  Before the person we loved was killed in a workplace incident, we might have believed the fairy story that the Policy Exchange seem to have swallowed hook line and sinker:  that there is a strict regime of H &S, most employers are compliant, the HSE and Local Authorities rigorously enforce the law and punish those who fail to comply.  Oh how naïve we were! We are now wiser through bitter experiences.

“We now know that far from being rare events workplace deaths are frequent and far more than we are all led to believe (1) that the UK is not at the top of the H&S league (2), that far too many employers know little and care less about H&S, that the enforcement agencies are very weak, that even where employers are utterly negligent and reckless with workers lives they will almost certainly escape a proportionate penalty and often with no prosecution at all (3)  Far from being over burdened with complying with H&S regulations, and in fear of over zealous H&S police, many employers are content to ignore warnings and risk assessments, if they bother to do them, fail to train, equip, monitor and supervise workers carrying out life threatening work, save  the odd £12 here and there on rejecting safety equipment which would have prevented death, make decisions in board rooms that lead directly to workers being killed, and yet bleat on and on about how burdensome It all is to have to comply with H&S law! We only wish they had!

“The Policy Exchange has not dealt with our burden which we carry all our lives, nor with all the costs of poor H&S in human and financial terms,  and has not bothered to consult those on the receiving need of employers negligence.  This  tells us all we need to know: our lives and our health, and that of our families is of no importance to this organisation or anyone who uses this poorly researched  unevidenced, apocryphal-story-repeating rubbish.  It treats all of us with contempt and disregard but panders to the businesses which create the risks which destroyed our lives. We challenge the Policy Exchange, and all who use this material to talk to us, the families of the corporate killers, about what it is like to work in the real world, not fairyland.  As those who have experienced death at work, we say we don’t want to live in a country that weakens already far too lax H&S law and enforcement: it may be someone you love next.”

For more information contact Hilda Palmer 0161 636 7557


Policy Exchange report - Health & safety –Reducing the Burden - [pdf]

  1. H&S Statistics – Globally over 2 million people killed by work – International Labour Organisation estimate. The real GB figures for deaths due to work are much greater than HSE official figures See Safety and Health Practitioner December 2009 The Whole Story

  2. Shock global safety ranking for the UK
    The Health and Safety Risk Index (HSRI) prepared by Maplecroft, a UK firm that assesses global risks to business, assessed the occupational health and safety performance of 176 countries [6]. The UK is ranked the 30 safest nation, placing it at the mid-point of the “low risk” group. Among the 30 OECD nations, the UK is ranked at a lowly 20th – although some other major OECD nations have worse still rankings, including the USA, France, Germany, Italy and Spain. Hazards magazine, Issue 109, February 2010

  3. Escaping Scrutiny
    If you thought your life being shattered would at least prompt an official investigation, you’d be wrong. Figures obtained exclusively by Hazards show that in 2007/08, just 7.3 per cent of the 32,810 fatal and major injuries – or fewer than 1-in-every-13 – reported to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) resulted in an investigation by the watchdog. Hazards magazine, Issue 108 November 2009