health and safety is no ‘monster’

In the week we have heard all the evidence in the Inquest for Michael Alexa and Jonathan Cloke, here is a reminder of the debate earlier  in the year in the Guardian. The letters are responding to David Cameron:  health and safety is no monster

This is London Hazards letter:

The most recent figures show the number of workplace deaths in London nearly doubled – from nine to 17 – in a year. When workers get killed, inevitably investigations prove that corners have been cut and the law broken. It is London Hazards Centre’s belief that the 35% cut to The Health and Safety Executive’s budget is already costing workers lives.

For David Cameron to start the new year saying his resolution is “to kill off health and safety culture” shows not just insensitivity to bereaved families, but how out of touch he is with countries with more civilised workplace arrangements in Europe and other parts of the world. The actual conclusions of the Löfstedt review are distorted in the rush to turn back the clock to the 1950s.

Löfstedt said there was no evidence to suggest there is a case for stripping back current health and safety regulation, or to support reducing regulatory requirements for smaller firms. We must make sure the coalition does not water down worker protection.

Also, in over 20 years of campaigning for improvements, London Hazards has seen no evidence of “burdens on business”, only the opposite. Peter Juszczyz was killed on a small site in Wembley in 2006. In court, HSE said: “His death was clearly avoidable as risks of excavations is well known.” The employer was fined just £750. That is not a burden.
Margaret Sharkey
Advice worker, London Hazards Centre



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