Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/498/3037
One law for the rich...
Health and Safety: Bosses get away with murder
BUDGET CUTS at the Health and Safety Executive (HSE - part of the Department for Work and Pensions) mean that a growing number of major accidents at work are not being investigated.
According to the Prospect union, over 350 major injuries were not investigated last year due to the lack of trained inspectors. Since 2002, HSE has lost over 1,000 posts as a result of government spending cuts.
Last year the number of workplace fatalities reached a five-year high but HSE inspections and spot-checks have been curtailed due to cuts in the budget.
Currently a workplace is inspected, on average, once every eleven years. HSE budget cuts, resulting in fewer inspectors and support staff, mean that the agency is more reliant on paperwork submissions by employers, making it easier for unscrupulous employers to downgrade serious safety issues.
A 2006 report for HSE, found under-reporting of major injuries in manufacturing. Researchers found about 30% of major injuries and more than 40% of 'over three-day' reportable injuries are not reported and the situation is worsening. Particularly vulnerable are workers in non-unionised workplaces, especially migrant workers.
The government has demanded a 5% reduction in the HSE budget each year for the next three years amounting to £12 million. But while slashing a vital service, this government won't, for example, pursue five of the ten largest private equity groups which paid no corporation tax in 2005-6.
In The Socialist 10 August 2007:
Committee for a Workers' International
Socialist Party events
Environment and socialism
Tales from the council chambers