GMB calls for overhaul of health and safety enforcement

The
GMB union has demanded a radical overhaul of the way that health and safety
regulations are enforced.

Speaking
prior to giving evidence to the House of Commons Work and Pensions Select
Committee Inquiry into the work of the Health and Safety Commission (HSC) and
the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Kevin Curran, general secretary, said:
"The current regulatory system is simply not working, yet the HSE’s new
strategy document claims that they ‘have done a great job on safety’."

The
GMB is calling for the establishment of an effective enforcement agency
dedicated to rooting out and punishing employers who put profit before life and
limb, Curran said

The
union has submitted written evidence to the inquiry documenting its concerns
about the HSC and HSE. These include: the recently published HSC strategy; HSE
resources; the HSE’s focus on ‘goal-setting’ regulations; the lack of support
for tripartite Advisory Committees and HSE enforcement policy.

Curran
added: "The nature of work has changed significantly since the Health and
Safety Commission and Executive were established. But what hasn’t changed is
the need to enforce health and safety laws effectively, and the HSE should
spend less time goal-setting and focus more on ensuring that regulations give
workers adequate protection."

By Mike Berry

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