TUC report claims ‘Brexit’ could impact health and safety

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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