The “Health and Safety Monster”– are you killing it or feeding it?

David Cameron’s recent pledge to cut back the red tape and “take the fear out of the health and safety monster” gives time for reflection.

The facts are plain:

  • 603,000 people were injured in the workplace in 2010/11.
  • The Government’s own review of the Health and Safety system has identified that it is not Health and Safety law but the exaggerated fear of being sued, fed by aggressive claims marketing, that is the root of our problems.

We all must understand that we still have a problem with workplace deaths and injuries. What steps can we take to resolve this?

For a start, the review identified some safety legislation that is out of date and not needed, so let’s get rid of it as fast as possible. The review also stated that the claims “industry” must change – let’s change it by making sure we do not hurt anybody or make anybody ill in their workplace.

The web “chatter” about the Prime Minister’s “Safety Monster” hunting offers two major conclusions: good health and safety benefits rather than ties up businesses, and cutting back health and safety in the workplace will be seen as a benefit for badly run businesses – until they hurt somebody. The basic sections of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 will not change!

Simple safety and risk management is effective. Effective safety means fewer accidents. Less accidents means the litigation monster will go away.

Are you playing your part to kill the “Safety Monster” or are you cutting corners and feeding it? If you are, beware! It bites back.

Alastair Inskip

Alastair is a specialist Compliance and Standards Consultant with extensive experience of regulations and compliance standards in Manufacturing. His specialisms include H & S, environmental management, quality management and more. ...

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