date: 22 October 2010
embargo: For immediate release
Cuts to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and to local authority budgets announced in the spending review will make it easier for rogue employers to take unacceptable risks with the health and safety of their workforce, the TUC said today (Friday).
TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: 'In the last seven days health and safety has been hit by a triple whammy. The Young Review, which last week seemed to rule out any commitment from the Government to the occupational health agenda, was followed this week by deep cuts to spending which will make it easier for employers to avoid their obligations under the law to keep their staff safe and well at work.
'This week the HSE saw its budget cut by 35 per cent and that, combined with a 28 per cent cut in local government funding, will have a damaging impact on safety in workplaces up and down the UK.
'Workers need their safety and health protecting now more than ever. More than a million workers are currently suffering from an illness or injury caused by their work, and last year over 30 million days were lost due to work-related sickness absence. This time off work cost employers £3.7 billion, yet much of this could have been prevented if they had taken better care of their staff.
'Cuts of this magnitude cannot be achieved through 'efficiency savings' but will mean job losses for large numbers of frontline staff. That will mean fewer visits to workplaces, less enforcement of safety law, and reduced health and safety guidance for employers. As a result, more people are likely to be made ill by their jobs, and killed or injured at work. All in all it's been a bad seven days for health and safety.'
NOTES TO EDITORS:
Liz Chinchen T: 020 7467 1248 M: 07778 158175 E: [email protected]
Rob Holdsworth T: 020 7467 1372 M: 07717 531150 E: [email protected]
Elly Gibson T: 020 7467 1337 M: 07900 910624 E: [email protected]
Issued: 22 October, 2010