Health & Safety - What Will the Election Bring?

18 Apr 2010

He warned against cuts in the public sector, a target for all the major parties, which ‘would further weaken the inspection, enforcement and prosecution role’ of the Health and Safety Executive and local authorities, and added that it was ‘most disappointing’ that the Labour Party had not chosen to include a commitment to introduce legal safety duties on company directors. The Labour blueprint says it will continue to promote ‘employee engagement’ at work, and indicates the issue of gangmasters in construction will be revisited. GMB welcomed this commitment to extend gangmaster legislation to the construction sector ‘if the evidence shows that is the best way to enforce employment rights.’ Neither the Tory nor the Liberal Democrats manifestos contained any positive proposals on workplace health and safety. Both, however, stress they will cut regulation - a policy plank where the Tories have made health and safety rules their for-the-chop poster boy (Risks 435). The Conservative manifesto says a Tory government ‘will introduce regulatory budgets: forcing any government body wanting to introduce a new regulation to reduce regulation elsewhere by a greater amount. And we will give the public the opportunity to force the worst regulations to be repealed.’ The Lib Dem manifesto mimics Tory policy, saying it will ‘reduce the burden of unnecessary red tape by properly assessing the cost and effectiveness of regulations before and after they are introduced, using ‘sunset clauses’ to ensure the need for a regulation is regularly reviewed, and working towards the principle of ‘one in, one out’ for new rules.’