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Proper health and safety is no barrier to success

Date:
29 September 2015

Editor, 

Although the analysis of health and safety regulation in Great Britain is depressingly inaccurate, (Time to take a risk and cut back on red tape – Monday 28 September), Pinstripe will be pleased to hear all of his ‘ideas’ were implemented some time ago. 

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is on target to deliver reforms to remove or improve around 84 percent of existing health and safety regulations. This includes reducing the overall stock of legislation by 50 percent in line with the Government’s existing ‘one in, one out’ policy. 

HSE, working with Government and industry, is tackling the perceived ‘compensation culture’ head on, amending the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (HSWA) so civil claims for breaches of h&s duties can only be able to be made under the common law where negligence can be proved. 

Simple and straightforward guidance for small firms is easily available to ensure only documents essential for helping to manage risk in their businesses are produced. 

However, I make no apology for my inspectors taking a firm enforcement line when workers lives are being put at risk irrespective of the age of the business. In Scotland, last year 20 workers died and in 2013/14 1,936 were reported seriously injured in incidents at work, many of them in small firms who typically trade for less than three years. 

The reality is there is no need to make a choice between safety and economic success. The most successful businesses in GB also have excellent health and safety records. Put simply, effective management of health and safety is good for business. 

Faithfully 

Mike Cross

Director of Scotland and Northern England

Health and Safety Executive