Work will get more dangerous and more difficult this year

Bud Hudspith argues that the government is understating the damage caused by bad health and safety, and that cutting the regulations will only hurt more.

 

Bud Hudspith is the national H&S adviser for Unite

Everyone at work needs to be worried for their health and safety in 2012, and life under the current government is certainly going to get more difficult.

Despite the evidence-based assurances of Professor Lofstedt in his review of UK health and safety law, the government is hell bent on reducing health and safety regulation and health and safety standards. The government strategy, built on myth and dogma, puts workers at greater risk.

It will lead to fewer inspections, less enforcement and more deaths, injuries and ill-health at work.

Unite has been very critical of the annual statistics on deaths at work, since these are only the tip of the iceberg, and represent a massive underestimate of the true problem. Using the official statistics enables the government to suggest that UK health and safety is better than everywhere else, and provides an excuse, albeit a very thin excuse, for cutting the health and safety responsibilities of UK employers.

This is a complete myth, since the real number of people killed in work-related incidents each year is probably closer to 1400, over eight times the official HSE figure for 2011 of 171.

This includes:

• The estimated 1,000 who are killed in road traffic incidents involving ‘at work’ vehicles;

• The 95 members of the public killed by work activities;

• An estimated 30 killed in coastal waters or in aircraft incidents;

• The 100-250 suicides attributed to work-related stress.

The number of occupational illnesses deaths could be as many as 50,000:

• 12 per cent of all cancer deaths are likely to be work-related which suggests 18,000 deaths, compared to the HSE’s 6,000;

• 15-20 per cent of obstructive lung disease deaths are work related, which is about 6,000 deaths;

• 20 per cent of heart disease deaths are work-related, which is about 20,000;

• Plus about 6,000 deaths from all other work-related causes including restrictive respiratory diseases.

Fewer inspectors will mean more pressure on trade union health and safety organisation and the work of safety representatives.

In its sadly familiar mealy-mouthed way, the government has accepted the Lofstedt review, which says the regulatory regime is substantially correct, and then used it as the springboard for mass deregulation of health and safety.  The government plans to go much further in attacking health and safety at work than the evidence from Lofstedt, and a host of previous reviews, merits.

Lofstedt concluded that there is

‘No case for radically altering health and safety legislation’.

He also said that failing to tackle

“work-related ill health and injury is itself a considerable burden on business … and that the regulatory regime offers vital protection to employees and the public.”

Yet, under the spurious cloak of cutting alleged ‘red tape’ for employers, the government is set to embark on a series of cuts to health and safety law that will endanger the lives and health of the 29 million Britons in the workplace.

All of this is confirmed by the latest outburst from the Prime Minister which reveals how serious the current government is about undermining the health and safety of workers, in spite of overwhelming evidence that reveals how wrong they are. This is just another example of the governments blatant efforts to attack working people.

Many studies have shown that there is no health and safety compensation culture, but the government bangs on about it to try and please the misguided small business lobby. Every cut the government makes to health and safety means another injury, illness or death of a person at work. The government is cutting jobs, cutting pay, cutting pensions and now cutting down people at work.

In spite of this independent review, the government continues on its ideological attack on health and safety in the workplace.

Those who still have a job in 2012 will find that it is more unhealthy and more dangerous than it was before.

See also:

Top five reasons why you can’t protest (according to the right) – Alex Hern, October 26th 2011

Gideon’s grotesque attempt to blame workers’ rights for unemployment – Richard Exell, October 3rd 2011

Grayling’s tabloid pandering gone mad – Ben Mitchell, August 29th 2011

Health and Safety cuts: Criminal businesses let off the leash – Steve Tombs and David Whyte, March 22nd 2011

Health and safety laws matter – every day 60 people die due to work – Steve Tombs and David Whyte, October 15th 2010

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38 Responses to “Work will get more dangerous and more difficult this year”

  1. Welfare Advocate

    Work will get more dangerous and more difficult this year. http://t.co/Z9lKsbBn

  2. Unite Manufacturing

    From: @leftfootfwd Work will get more dangerous and more difficult this year: http://t.co/l70xX3FM writes @UniteTheUnion’s Bud Hudspith

  3. Geoffrey Pearson

    Work will get more dangerous and more difficult this year. http://t.co/Z9lKsbBn

  4. samanthapine

    Work will get more dangerous and more difficult this year: Despite the evidence-based assurances of Professor Lo… http://t.co/jhrdHvmb

  5. Linda Burnip

    RT @leftfootfwd Work will get more dangerous and more difficult this year: http://t.co/7g98cqmE writes @UniteTheUnion’s Bud Hudspith

  6. Ivan T

    ( @unitetheunion Good article. Need more like this.) Work will get more dangerous and more difficult this year: http://t.co/48kbvVCR

  7. Mark

    From: @leftfootfwd Work will get more dangerous and more difficult this year: http://t.co/l70xX3FM writes @UniteTheUnion’s Bud Hudspith

  8. Cherry McCormack

    From: @leftfootfwd Work will get more dangerous and more difficult this year: http://t.co/l70xX3FM writes @UniteTheUnion’s Bud Hudspith

  9. Neil H

    What utter cobblers. I’ve had 20 years in factory management. The biggest risk to employees in respect of H&S is themselves. I’ve even in one case actually had to dismiss someone for persistently not wearing their ear defenders in a noisy workshop. If trade unions actually promoted the concept of employees taking responsibility for their own health and safety we might make some progress. It’s the same as people who ignore the stats on wearing seat belts or using phones while driving. I wear a seat belt, not because the law tells me to, but because it’s bloody obviously a sensible thing to do and yet even today in my local paper, (Gloucester Citizen) a young father was killed in a car crash in which he would have survived if he had been wearing a seat belt. There is a macho culture about wearing safety equipment or working safely and the sooner we deal with that and stop beating up the poor sods who are trying to run businesses the better.

  10. Mr. Sensible

    Neil, responsibility falls on both employers and employees. The problem that the government has is that it cannot face the fact that its economic strategy isn’t working, and so they’re running round in circles cutting health and safety regulations, increasing motorway speed limits even though the DFT’s own modeling shows this could lead to an increase in deaths, ETC, because it simply can’t change course.

  11. Dorothy Wright

    Work will get more dangerous and more difficult this year: http://t.co/rcsBGwuE writes @UniteTheUnion’s Bud Hudspith

  12. Newsbot9

    This will, ironically, add costs for many businesses who will end up having to purchase additional insurance to protect them against types of claim which previously they knew where they stood on.

  13. Maria Touramani

    Work will get more dangerous and more difficult this year: http://t.co/rcsBGwuE writes @UniteTheUnion’s Bud Hudspith

  14. USILive

    Work will get more dangerous and more difficult this year | Left Foot Forward http://t.co/e6DurRQA

  15. barry f

    Work will get more dangerous and more difficult this year | Left Foot Forward http://t.co/e6DurRQA

  16. DarkestAngel

    Work will get more dangerous and more difficult this year | Left Foot Forward http://t.co/e6DurRQA

  17. R Pursey

    I do admit that there are some employees that ignore Health and Safety. But Management turn a blind eye to these issues when it come to getting out more prodction and let their employees cut corners.
    Unite encourages its members to follow all Health and Safety regulations and inform their members that they could be disciplined if they dont.
    I know this is fact because I am not ony on a great number of Unite Committees but I am a Unite Convenor.
    Cutting back on Health and Safet regulations will only cause more injuries and death to our members.
    I have been trained by Unite to work with Management to resolve Health and safety issues and Unite always informs its members that not only employers have a duty to Health and safety so do employees.
    Bud Hudspith knows what he is talking about he has helped me to resolve issues with the Company I work for.
    Ron Pursey

  18. Billy Donohoe

    RT @leftfootfwd: Work will get more dangerous and more difficult this year http://t.co/bEm9xBJy

  19. Baron Marcus Aurelius Beer

    The person not wearing ear defenders also thought you were talking cobblers too…

  20. B Rawsthorn

    RT @leftfootfwd: Work will get more dangerous and more difficult this year http://t.co/U0Ro2Ghk

  21. Ivan T

    RT @leftfootfwd: Work will get more dangerous and more difficult this year http://t.co/vongwey0

  22. CiaranNaidoo

    RT @leftfootfwd: Unite's Health and Safety expert warns 'Work will get more dangerous and more difficult this year' http://t.co/McUerMxo

  23. Christian Matheson

    RT @leftfootfwd: Unite's Health and Safety expert warns 'Work will get more dangerous and more difficult this year' http://t.co/McUerMxo

  24. Unite the union

    RT @leftfootfwd: Work will get more dangerous and more difficult this year http://t.co/FdNRWK8a

  25. jonwright

    RT @leftfootfwd: Work will get more dangerous and more difficult this year http://t.co/FdNRWK8a

  26. Martin Mulchrone

    RT @leftfootfwd: Work will get more dangerous and more difficult this year http://t.co/FdNRWK8a

  27. Ivan T

    “@unitetheunion: RT @leftfootfwd: Work will get more dangerous and more difficult this year http://t.co/vongwey0” Grt article @IanAustinMP

  28. Ivan T

    “@unitetheunion: RT @leftfootfwd: Work will get more dangerous and more difficult this year http://t.co/vongwey0” Great article @PollyB1967

  29. USILive

    RT @leftfootfwd: Work will get more dangerous and more difficult this year http://t.co/FdNRWK8a

  30. amanda leek

    RT @leftfootfwd: Work will get more dangerous and more difficult this year http://t.co/4SRbW8I0

  31. Rivo Software

    work will get more dangerous and more difficult this year – http://t.co/slWoacGN

  32. Dorothy Wright

    RT @leftfootfwd: Work will get more dangerous and more difficult this year http://t.co/rBPbDuGq OUr lives are being sacrificed for profit

  33. Ivan T

    Less proactive inspections are just one reason why Work will get more dangerous & more difficult this yr http://t.co/ZU88BZRU
    #wdvtdaw #wmd

  34. Linzi Herbertson

    Less proactive inspections are just one reason why Work will get more dangerous & more difficult this yr http://t.co/ZU88BZRU
    #wdvtdaw #wmd

  35. Ivan T

    @Lotspots
    HSE figure for 2011 – 171
    True fig 1300
    1,000 road traffic
    95 public
    30 killed in air or sea
    100-250 suicides
    http://t.co/ZU88BZRU

  36. Ivan T

    Work will get more dangerous & more difficult this year.
    Bud Hudspith national H&S adviser for #Unite. Great article
    http://t.co/ZU844pIK

  37. Dorothy Wright

    Work will get more dangerous & more difficult this year.
    Bud Hudspith national H&S adviser for #Unite. Great article
    http://t.co/ZU844pIK

  38. Hilda Palmer

    http://t.co/FtfkIkyG And none of us voted to die at work, see the Facebook page and Hazards Magazine http://t.co/ERnyTsNr

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