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Industry defends health and safety laws against PM attack

Industry figures have criticised plans by David Cameron to “kill” health and safety culture.

The prime minister last week said the government would tackle “compensation culture” and free SMEs from the “stranglehold of health and safety red tape”.

But Steve Lee, chief executive of CIWM, condemned Cameron’s comments.

“This is not an area for compromise,” he said. “Whoever penned the prime minister’s resolution to ‘kill off the health and safety culture for good’ has a very poor grasp of the important role that this legislation plays in protecting us all against work-related death, injury or illness.”

ESA policy director Matthew Farrow added: “Health and safety is a cornerstone of our businesses, and strong health and safety legislation remains vital.”

Cameron told small businesses the government would change the law on strict liability for civil claims so businesses were no longer automatically at fault, and look at demands made by insurers on employers. He said: “We are waging war against the excessive health and safety culture that has become an albatross around the neck of British businesses.”

Recent HSE figures show waste and recycling had one of the highest rates of fatal injuries in 2010/11 of any industry with 9 fatal accidents, a rate of 8.7 deaths per 100,000 workers.  

Readers' comments (1)

  • Industry generally spends millions annually defending and preparing against false and silly claims. Common sense is not the norm and more attention should be placed on the individuals experience, qualifications and common sense than on whether a piece of paper is signed and filed. I'm not asking for the legislation to be changed to take away individuals rights but to recognise common sense rather than force employers into creating a wasteful bureaucratic paper chasing defence. Also, "ambulance chasing" no fee solicitors add to the costs for employers.

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