Don't use myths as an excuse to cut back on workplace safety

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date: 24 August 2011

embargo: For immediate release

Commenting on the publication today (Wednesday) of a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) list citing the most 'bizarre' reasons that organisations have used 'safety' concerns to cancel activities or events in the past year, TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said:

'Health and safety law is all about preventing illness and injuries at work and controlling the workplace risks to employees. Every listing in the HSE top ten relates to public safety or insurance issues and has nothing to do with health and safety as it applies to workers.

'The failure to find one example from a workplace shows that the idea that the UK has an 'over-zealous' health and safety culture in Britain is a total myth. The opposite is in fact the case. Many employers fail to do even a basic safety risk assessment and so are putting the safety and well-being of their staff in jeopardy.

'Official statistics show that 1.2 million people currently at work have health problems caused by their jobs. The problem is not employers using health and safety as an excuse but the government using myths like this as a reason for cutting back on regulation, enforcement and guidance.'

NOTES TO EDITORS:

- Congress 2011 will be held at the TUC's Congress House in central London this year. The event runs over three days, from Monday 12 to Wednesday 14 September. Free media passes can be obtained by visiting www.tuc.org.uk/the_tuc/tuc-19831-f0.cfm and filling in the online form. All applications for media passes must be received no later than noon on Monday 5 September. Any applications received after then will be processed when possible and may be subject to delay. Late applications will be subject to a £50 administration fee. Wi-fi will be available free of charge throughout the venue.

Contacts:

Media enquiries:
Liz Chinchen T: 020 7467 1248 M: 07778 158175 E: media@tuc.org.uk
Elly Gibson T: 020 7467 1337 M: 07900 910624 E: egibson@tuc.org.uk

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