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Written by
on 08 November 2012


The Mirror released an article on 2nd October, 2012 asking the question ‘Will work be the Death of You? According to the report workers have been put at increased risk because there have been savage cuts within the Health and Safety Executive. The Prospect Trade Union said that there are not only three occupational physicians left within the organisation and 60 occupational health inspectors have now been reduced to just 18.

There are up to 18,000 deaths a year that are caused by hazards in the workplace. There are also over 2 million workers in Britain that have some form of occupational health condition. Despite these shocking figures the coalition are looking to free employers from having to record absences that are caused by industrial diseases.

Lack of Records will Reduce Intelligence into Occupational Safety and Health

The head of the Prospect research, Sue Ferns, warns that if the employers no longer need to record these absences there will be a lack of information regarding workplace health. The records are used to help occupational inspectors monitor the performance of organisations and can be used to spot problems that must be targeted to improve the health and wellbeing of the workers.

Lack of Health and Safety Inspectors

There are also concerned that the medical unit at the Health and Safety Executive are no longer able to provide health and safety advice and prevention guidelines. With just four specialist radiation inspectors, covering 120,000 employees that are working in radiation it is clear that their cause for concern may be justified. In fact there are approximately 280 deaths per year caused by exposure to radon, yet despite this the cut backs have been introduced due to cost issues.

The HSE Use External Specialist Services

The HSE did respond to the report and stated that Mirror did not take into account the fact that they use specialist services from outside the organisation. Geoffrey Podger, the chief executive of the HSE also stated that the methods used to perform the duties involving occupational health issues have changed in recent years, hinting that the need for so many inspectors is no longer necessary.

Occupational health and safety is an important issue for all employers. It is possible to protect workers and prevent health conditions caused by work through careful management and safe systems of work. Health and safety consultants can work closely with you to ensure that you are meeting your legal requirements when it comes to preventing hazards and risks from affecting your employees.

There are some excellent health and safety services available, including occupation training that will provide you with information regarding your legal responsibilities and excellent management techniques. If you would like to address the issues faced by your employees and work to prevent accidents and poor health, speak to our friendly advisors on 0800 1488 677.

About the author

David Cant is a Director at Veritas Consulting. The SME’s favourite go-to consultant for health and safety know-how. Bucket loads of experience. Fluent in practical advice. Solutionist with a brain you can pick. You can find him across social media on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.