Don't confuse petty with safety, says HSE union


Don't confuse petty with safety, says HSE union

Responding to Conservative leader David Cameron's proposals on reducing the ‘burden’ of health and safety, Prospect has said it is important not to confuse petty bureaucracy with vital regulation designed to save lives.

On behalf of 1,650 HSE inspectors, scientists and other specialists, Prospect negotiator Mike Macdonald said: “There is a world of difference between petty bureaucracy enacted under the label of health and safety and HSE regulation designed to prevent deaths in the workplace.

“Measures aimed at preventing death and injury at work run the risk of being overshadowed by inappropriate obsessions by local authorities with minor issues that are often an excuse for withdrawing services on the grounds of cost. Given the importance of health and safety to the British economy and UK businesses we would welcome any changes that boost workers’ safety as well as business competitiveness.

“But confusing the two continues to perpetuate a negative image of health and safety regulation and masks the bigger picture: as the figures for 2007/08 show 32,810 employees were exposed to fatal and major injuries at work.”

Macdonald added that: “A greater emphasis on a common sense approach, with more reliance on the professional judgement of the union’s HSE members, would make a big improvement to health and safety and address some of the issues raised by David Cameron.”