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Effects of the Cuts on Health and Safety Philip Liptrot Thompsons Solicitors IER 22 May 2012.

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Presentation on theme: "Effects of the Cuts on Health and Safety Philip Liptrot Thompsons Solicitors IER 22 May 2012."— Presentation transcript:

1 Effects of the Cuts on Health and Safety Philip Liptrot Thompsons Solicitors IER 22 May 2012

2 Disaster, despair and misery


4 Sir Richard Leese - February 2011

5 Mind the Gap Lord Young HSE budget Public sector cuts Lofstedt review Jackson review Elf ‘n’ Safety Health and Safety Gap

6 Young At Heart

7 Common Sense? “The standing of health and safety in the eyes of the public has never been lower. Newspapers report ever more absurd examples of senseless bureaucracy that gets in the way of people trying to do the right thing …a damaging compensation culture has arisen. Businesses are drowning in red tape and a fear of being sued even for the most minor of accidents” David Cameron, October 2010

8 Some of the recommendations Simplify risk assessments for “low risk” workplaces – offices, classrooms and shops RIDDOR reporting – over 3 to over 7 days Cut bureaucracy for small businesses

9 Get rid of RIDDOR? 3 to 7 days 50% compliance Fewer inspections and investigations Employers less accountable Perception of safety Complacency

10 Small business bureaucracy Risk assessments Employment laws Unfair dismissal 2 years No fault dismissal Tribunal fees Increased risk to workers

11 Raising Standards “The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) plays a vital role in the promotion of health and safety” 5 days later …. 35% cuts to HSE budget!

12 In touch with working people? “For the vast majority of people in the country today, they have never had it so good ever since this recession - this so- called recession - started...” Lord Young, 18 November 2010 “I feel that it would be right to resign forthwith from my position as your adviser” Lord Young, 19 November 2010

13 Alternative title? “Unionised workplaces are safer workplaces”

14 Safety Last 35% cut in HSE budget Fewer inspections Fewer investigations Fewer prosecutions Employers even less accountable

15 Devil is in the detail 2009/2010 1% annual profit HSE prosecutions halved since 2001 1 in 19 major/fatal injuries investigated

16 Hidden Killer Hidden Killer campaign 20 construction workers a week dying of asbestos related disease (Risks 379) Next phase of education and information campaign October 2010

17 Disaster, despair and misery… 700,000 public sector jobs 2014/15 15% cut in mental health service/jobs School building programme 3000 fewer prisoners

18 NHS 50,000 jobs in 5 years 6,500 jobs at risk across 53 mental health trusts Increased pressure on existing workers

19 Lofstedt v Cameron “The general sweep of requirements set out in health and safety regulation are broadly fit for purpose” Lofstedt - Reclaiming Health and Safety for All November 2011 David Cameron 5 January 2012 “Lord Young and Professor Ragnar Löfstedt have reported back on how we can bring some sense back to health and safety. As a result, we're making some big changes: businesses will no longer have to report minor accidents; up to a million self-employed workers will be exempted from health and safety regulation completely; the Health and Safety Executive begins the task of abolishing or consolidating up to half of existing regulations. On top of this, we'll change the health and safety law so that businesses are no longer automatically at fault if something goes wrong. Too often they are held responsible even if they have done everything they can to prevent an accident. Our plans will deter the speculative health and safety chancers and those who leech off good businesses

20 Lofstedt v Cameron ‘No case for radically altering current health and safety legislation. I am concerned my review could be misused. ’ Lofstedt 19 January 2012

21 The Jackson Review

22 Effects Inequality of arms Access to justice denied Fewer claims Stagnant case law Employers less accountable More money to insurance company coffers

23 Myths … Health and safety officers ban pancake race Daily Telegraph 17 February 2010 “A headmaster has bought his pupils safety goggles in a bid to stop a bonkers council banning games of conkers” Daily Mail 4 October 2004 Station bosses ban fireman pole amid health and safety fears The Mail Online 4 August 2006

24 Realities … Roadworker laying tarmac when ramp used to put roller on truck collapsed No steel ramps only planks available No risk assessments 28 operations

25 Realities…

26 Factory worker using sawing machine Cutting metal bars Secured clamps Amputation of 4 fingers and part of thumb 6 operations Previous minor accident

27 Realities…

28 The way forward? Trade unions Campaigns Lobbying Exploding the myths Legal challenges

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