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Workplace health and safety should not be taken lightly: Unions criticise David Cameron

21st April 2010
By hitsearch in Personal Injury
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Health and safety risk assessment in the work place is "essential" to protect the welfare of Britain's employees and prevent employers having to defend personal injury claims due to accidents in work, the Trade Unions Congress (TUC) has warned.

The TUC was speaking in criticism of the Conservative Party leader David Cameron, who recently suggested that there was too much health and safety legislation in place in Britain today, and that it had created a "strait-jacket" for employers.

But the general secretary of the TUC Brendan Barber accused the Tory leader of peddling "half-truths and myths" in order to emphasise his claims. He said: "The idea that employers are being over-zealous in their application of health and safety regulation is simply not true.

"Neither does the UK have an excess of regulation; there were more than twice as many health and safety regulations and laws 35 years ago than there are now. Today's safety laws are generally simpler and easier to understand."

Mike MacDonald of professionals union Prospect also hit out at Cameron's allegations. He said: "There is a world of difference between petty bureaucracy enacted under the label of health and safety, and official regulations designed to prevent deaths in the workplace.

"Confusing the two continues to perpetuate a negative image of health and safety regulation, and masks the bigger picture."

Around 1.2 million people suffered from ill health at work last year. Of those, 246,000 people suffered a personal injury in the workplace. Occupational cancers, such as those caused by asbestos, kill up to 20,000 people in Britain every year.
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