To add insult to injury – or at least injury reduction – the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) could start charging companies to inspect them.
That is one alternative to reducing the number of premises visited that a leaked letter from the HSE says will be the result of budget cuts that are said to amount to 35% by 2015.
Death and injury at work has been on a declining trend for decades and the government has said it will end ‘Labour’s health & safety culture’ that it sees as part of the red tape that is putting the brakes on growth.
However, Lord Young said last year after he had carried out a review of health & safety legislation that “…all the rules and regulations relating to construction, manufacturing, chemicals and nuclear industries, even farming, are untouched”.
Nevertheless, a 35% reduction in the budget of the HSE will leave fewer inspectors on the front line and the HSE believes those inspectors visiting building sites and factories have been istrumental in creating the health & safety culture that has resulted in the reduction of the number of accidents at work.
Julie Nerney, the Chief Executive of the British Safety Council, is calling for a public discussion about how best to deal with the reality of fewer resources for public bodies involved in health & safety regulation and how the “enforcement deficit” resulting from cuts can be tackled.