A Trades Union Congress report suggests a ‘Brexit’ could result in increased worker injuries and accidents
A report published last week by the Trades Union Congress (TUC), claims that if the UK voted out of the European Union in the June referendum, health and safety in the workplace could be negatively impacted.
According to the report, titled ‘EU Membership and Health and Safety’, the EU’s legislation on UK health and safety regulations has helped reduce the number of injuries and accidents sustained in the workplace.
The report was published on April 28, also the International Workers’ Memorial Day, and was meant to highlight how the EU rules have positively affected health and safety within Britain.
The report states that between 1997 and 2009, the UK imposed 41 new health and safety laws which originated from EU legislation; in total, 65 new laws were introduced within those years. In addition, the report claims that EU rules helped reduce workplace fatalities from 368 in 1992 to 142 in 2015.
According to the Trades Union Congress, the health and safety legislation for the construction industry, for police officers and for the control of asbestos are just three of the major areas where EU regulations have had a significant affect.
If the British public vote to leave the EU, the UK government can choose to retain EU laws or dispose of them. The General Secretary of TUC, Frances O’Grady, said that the government has already showed signs of “its readiness to water down key health and safety rules”.
The suggestion that health and safety standards would slip in Britain if a ‘Brexit’ took place, is a contentious statement considering that the UK is held as a global model for effective health and safety in the workplace.
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Health & Safety Executives plan a two week ‘unannounced’ series of inspections to tackle risky building sites
Today executives announced they were cracking down on risky construction sites in a bid to prevent a sliding of standards they have recently seen.
Safety inspectors will visit a series of building sites over a two week period, seeking to identify where work activities are breaching the required standards and where necessary, taking action to cease work on a hazardous site immediately.
The Health and Safety Executive of Northern Ireland (HSENI), said the visits to building sites would begin on the 1st September and will be completely ‘unannounced’. The executive said the visits will focus on high-risk activities often faced in the construction industry such as working at a height, managing asbestos correctly and the control of silica dust.
Inspectors will identify sites which fail to meet the required regulations such as not having a risk assessment in place. HSE will also check that asbestos surveys have been carried out correctly and that they were done so prior to any refurbishment or demolition work.
Nancy Henry, the head of the HSENI construction group said “Construction is one of the more dangerous industries and a lax attitude to health and safety costs people’s lives.
“Many accidents and risks to health are completely avoidable by putting in place very simple and sensible measures that are well known across the industry.
“HSENI will continue to provide advice to the industry but, as we’ve demonstrated in previous years, HSENI will not hesitate to take action if we find poor practices that are that are putting the lives of workers at risk.”
During the visits, HSE inspectors will look to identify a number of health and safety hazards commonly associated with the construction industry.
The ‘unannounced’ series of inspections will begin on the 1st September.