Health And Safety At Work Act ‘A Milestone In Social Reform’

Call For Importance Of Legislation To Be Recognised


Legislation designed to protect workers and the general public from the risk of illness or injury is a “milestone in social reform” which has saved a huge number of lives, according to a leading commentator.

In a column for the Daily Telegraph, Philip Johnson said the Health and Safety At Work Act, which will reach the 40th anniversary of its introduction in the coming months, may have reduced deaths by an estimated 5,000.

He outlined how that the idea of health and safety had become linked to “nanny statism”, but argued that this was caused by the way the law has been interpreted.

“Why the Act was important is that is set out to prevent the accidents happening in the first place, rather than reacting to the death and injuries they cause, by which time it’s too late,” Mr Johnson explained.

“Forty years on, the Act has achieved what it set out to do, which is to insist upon high standards of health and safety in places of work. All we need do now is to apply the law with the common sense that inspired it in the first place.”

Expert Opinion
Health and safety legislation has played a massive role in significantly reducing the number of workers killed or seriously injured as a result of accidents at work which could and should have been avoided – and it is fair that this is recognised.

"It is also vital that employers continue to understand the important role it plays in reducing risks and keeping workers safe, as well as how it continues to work to ensure that those found to be negligent can be held to account for their failings.

"Health and safety should always be the priority in the workplace and it is vital that efforts continue to drive the number of deaths and injuries down further still. Anyone who goes to work deserves to be able to return safely at the end of a day. Responsible employers recognise that good health and safety practices are good for business. The huge benefits that have arisen from this legislation cannot be ignored and the Act should continue to be the cornerstone of our health and safety law."
Stephen Nye, Partner