UCATT slams Tory Government for making construction worker deaths collateral damage

Construction union UCATT says the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) is being told by the Tory Government to prioritise company profits over the health and safety of construction workers.

New guidelines just issued by the Government have redirected the HSE to give greater consideration to “supporting businesses.” The life threatening changes come as part of a new Enforcement Policy Statement (EPS) which the HSE’s Board has been required to adopt under the Government Regulators Code. The new enforcement statement is clear - it gives greater consideration to the growth of construction companies.  

Couched in bureaucratic language the message is clear – if the cost of some health and safety measures are too high - don’t worry about a few construction worker deaths. The key sentences in the EPS are: “adopt a proportionate approach” and “recognising the importance of supporting businesses to comply and grow.”

The Government guidance goes on to emphasise the need for “a sensible and proportionate approach to managing health and safety, focussing on significant risks.”

UCATT Acting General Secretary, Brian Rye, said: “The message is clear. Profit before people. Effectively they’re saying a few worker deaths are ok, as long as the bosses are still making money.”

Mr Rye added: “The Health and Safety Executive is supposed to be the guardian of the people, not the lapdog of the rich. These new guidelines are immoral and venal. There is no “proportionate” approach to health and safety – you are either safe or you’re not. And under this Tory Government no one is safe.”

The two key paragraphs in the new EPS are:

“5.1 We adopt a proportionate approach to enforcing the law across different industries and sectors, recognising the importance of supporting businesses to comply and grow.”

“5.3 We expect that duty holders, in turn, will adopt a sensible and proportionate approach to managing health and safety, focussing on significant risks ie. those with the potential to cause real harm.”

 

 

 

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