Questions needed for health and safety review
Mace & Jones, which also has offices in Liverpool and Manchester, said that a review announced by the government comes at a ‘strange time’, as positive figures released this month show that construction and workplace injuries have fallen by a quarter.
According to the figures, during 2009 there was a fall in non-fatal construction industry injuries of 23.5%, while construction fatalities to the year ending April 2010 are also expected to show a fall, for the third year in succession, to what is believed to be the lowest level on record.
Jeremy Bradshaw, Head of Personal Injury at Mace & Jones, said: “These figures have come out at a time when the coalition government has announced that it is going to review health and safety laws with a view to scrapping many of them.
“It seems strange that just as health and safety rules appear to be making the workplace a far safer place, the government has expressed an intention to remove many of the safeguards.
“While there are some claims that the drop is due to a direct result of less construction work and manufacturing being carried out due to the recession, the construction industry says that the reduction is a result of them improving on-site safety standards.”
Mr Bradshaw said that despite the encouraging figures, there were still almost 8,000 reported injuries in the construction sector in that year.
“This figure is still far too high. Employers have a duty to ensure that they provide their workforce with a safe place and system of work. Part of that duty requires the employer to carry out a risk assessment so that potential risks can be identified and actions taken to eliminate that risk.
“The risk assessment must be thorough and cover all likely events, such as risks posed when the machine is undergoing maintenance when perhaps guards are removed to enable access.”
The Government said it wants to put a check on “the growth of compensation culture” with the review, with Prime Minister David Cameron having stated that the UK is “saturated with health and safety laws”.
Mr Bradshaw added: “The views of the Prime Mininster and other politicians are surprising given that the concept of a compensation culture in the UK, fuelled by no-win no-fee law firms, has been described as a “myth” by research group Datamonitor.”
The Datamonitor Group is a world-leading provider of premium global business information, delivering independent data, analysis and opinion. It said that, contrary to widespread perception, the number of personal injury claims was actually falling.
For further information on personal injury services contact: Jeremy.firstname.lastname@example.org or any member of the Mace & Jones Personal Injury team on Knutsford: 01565 634234.