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July 16, 2010

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HSE criticised as a lead architect of workplace safety deregulation

The report was launched at a conference earlier this week (13 July) in Liverpool, organised by the Institute of Employment Rights. Speakers included the chair of the government inquiry into deaths in the construction industry, Rita Donaghy CBE, the HSE’s director of field operations, David Ashton (pictured), as well as the UCATT, GMB and Prospect unions, and the report’s authors.

In a statement, the HSE said:  “Our enforcement policy has been developed to help reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries in the workplaces of Britain, taking into account more than 30 years’ experience of working with businesses to improve their approach to managing health and safety.  €ᄄ€ᄄ

“Our aim is to be proportionate and targeted, with the highest risk and most serious offences attracting the strongest enforcement action. Our strategy makes clear that enforcement is a major part of our role.€ᄄ 

€ᄄ“Wherever it is warranted, we act decisively to protect workers and members of the public from unnecessary exposure to danger and real health risks. In the most serious cases – several hundred a year – we will take companies to court for their criminal failings.”

Regulatory surrender: death, injury and the non-enforcement of law is published by the Institute of Employment Rights and can be ordered via the Publications section of its website –

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13 years ago

The major companies who ran a blacklist of H&S and Union Safety Representatives is an issue not addressed in this report, the previous governments futile attempt to resolve the issue even with the whistleblowers act has left a real gap in in-house enforcement that has resulted in a large number of deaths and injuries through lack of enforcement.
The idea of H&S is preventative/supportive not reactive, schools have inspections and visits, why do most issues such as Buncefield are reactive? an ounce of prevention………………….?