Government is failing to tackle health and safety breaches, report warns05 May 2016
Research has suggested that regulations are not being upheld
A think tank has warned that weak law enforcement in relation to health and safety, pollution and food poisoning is effectively resulting in the government facilitating ‘social murder’.
The research, which was conducted by the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies (CCJS), states that a 50,000 workers die each year as a result of workplace health problems and injuries, 20,000 people are hospitalised and 500 people die due to food poisoning and around 29,000 deaths are attributed to airborne pollution.
The ‘Better Regulation: Better for whom?’ report suggests that a large percentage of these deaths could have been avoided if the government enforced stricter business regulation. The report also revealed that a business could now expect to have a local authority health and safety inspection just once every twenty years, with 53% fewer inspections and 40% fewer prosecutions made between 2004 and 2013.
The report concluded that the decline of independent inspections for businesses is having a negative impact on workers across the UK and is urging policy makers to urgently address this issue.
The privatisation of regulatory and enforcement procedures has, according to the report, also had a damaging effect on communities, workers and consumers as death and injury are being caused by negligent practices.
Tom Jones, head of policy at Thompsons Solicitors, said: “The findings of this report are a damning indictment of the systems and processes that are currently in place to ensure that businesses are taking responsibility for the health and safety of their workers.
“Since the coalition government came to power in 2010, there has been a steady stream of attacks on working people’s rights made under the guise of cutting red tape. This is not about red tape, but rather people’s fundamental right to have access to a healthy and safe working environment.
“The government needs to do more to guarantee that there is a robust regulatory framework in place to protect people, but this needs to be supported by thorough, and most importantly, regular health and safety inspections, along with proper prosecutions for those who flout the law. An inspection once every 20 years for an average business is an appalling statistic and one that must be addressed urgently if the number of people suffering unnecessary injury, illness or deaths is to reduce.”
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