date: 10 September 2012
embargo: For immediate release
Government plans to abolish safety inspections in thousands of businesses across the UK will put the health of millions of workers at risk the TUC warned today (Monday) at its annual Congress in Brighton.
Responding to plans outlined by Business Secretary Vince Cable, TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said:
'Contrary to myths peddled by ministers, the UK is facing an occupational health epidemic. Over 20,000 people die every year as a result of a disease they got through their work and a further 1.9 million people are living with an illness caused by their work.
'Some of the 'low risk' workplaces identified by the government, such as shops, actually experience high levels of workplace injuries. This will only get worse if employers find it easier to ignore safety risks.
'This epidemic will only be stopped by ensuring that employers obey the law, and when every employer knows their workplace can be visited at any time.
'Health and safety regulation is not a burden on business, it is a basic protection for workers. Cutting back on regulation and inspections will lead to more injuries and deaths as result of poor safety at work.'
NOTES TO EDITORS:
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TUC Brighton press office number: 01273 292578
Issued: 10 September, 2012