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HSE fatality statistics support our 2008 view on UK regulatory failings

Posted on 6th Oct 2013 @ 1:34 PM

The first HSE reporting statistics, under new, more sensible reporting rules appear to completely endorse the views expressed, five years ago, in our house magazine.

Not before time, the Government's revision and condensing of EU based regulation; observed in the UK, Sweden and Denmark but largely ignored in other EU countries; might well contribute to a culture of less corporate box-ticking and better training, instead.

(*from an article published, 2008/1)<<*Britain’s fatality statistics reveal fewer than three hundred a year at work, compared with almost 1800, forty years ago – a fact celebrated by politicians. Such evidence needs context to be meaningful. We had thirteen million ‘blue-collars’ then, whereas, today, these number fewer than two million. Our pro-rata accident rate has therefore risen sharply.

The reasons for this celebrated failure appear from the lack of experience and practice in engineering, the absence of proper apprenticeship schemes, the loss of metal work, wood work and technical drawing lessons in schools and unthinking Government initiatives that have displaced youth training from the work place to so called colleges and universities. 

Often specious theory is more valued than useful application.
‘Competition’ policies and ‘out-sourcing’ by Government has imposed on those few who actually make and repair products, strictures of self-certifying-paper-work and that has much more to do with the prime contractor’s abdication of responsibility and the displacement of insurance risk on to his subcontractor, than it does with ensuring better safety practices. 

What should have been a policy of value engineering and Total Loss Control should never have been allowed to mean buying the cheapest and the un-shouldering of responsibility for such incautious japes.
This turn-of-the-Century culture has done more to damage good safety practice than any other single threat.

Added to this, is the sheer weight of senseless rules, published in the name of safety and originated, not under Britain’s Governance but by the EEC and there becomes an untenable burden of management, difficult access to ever-more-expensive statutory insurances and a position where our industrial future is unlikely. 

2007 alone brought more than eighty sets of new rules in ‘safety’ and around four thousand regulations altogether.