Safety Inspection Changes ‘Must Not Come At Cost’

Legal Specialists React To Government Plans On Workplace Health

10.09.2012

Care must be taken to ensure new Government plans to reduce health and safety regulations for a huge number of businesses do not lead to an increase in illness and injury in the workplace, according to a legal specialist at Irwin Mitchell.

Business Secretary Vince Cable has revealed that from April 2013 rules will be introduced to both the Health and Safety Executive and local authorities in order to exempt many companies from safety inspections.

The aim is to ensure that inspections are focused on high-risk industries and sectors, such as construction, or if they have a poor record in health and safety issues.

According to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the move could potentially reduce both fears and costs for British employers, as well as help organisations to create jobs and support the wider economy.

Irwin Mitchell has vast experience representing people who have suffered serious, life-changing injuries at work, helping them to seek answers and justice over the problems they have endured. The team also acts for families who have lost loved ones as a result of safety failings at work.

David Urpeth, national head of workplace injury at the law firm, said: “We have seen first-hand the devastating impact that injuries at work can have on so many lives, often leaving victims with health problems from which they never fully recover or families mourning the loss of a loved one who went to work and never came home.

“Anything to boost businesses in these difficult economic times must be welcomed, but it is vital that such changes do not come at a cost in terms of worker safety.

“As Vince Cable and other ministers have stated, common sense is key to getting an approach to this issue right. The continuing plan to focus on high-risk industries such as construction is hugely important, but it is crucial that reductions in inspections in other areas do not inadvertently lead to an increase in health and safety problems.

"Legislation in this area has and continues to play a massive role in keeping a huge number of people safe from harm everyday. This vital point must not be lost in these plans to cut red tape and regulations.”