John Hannett – Usdaw General Secretary
says: ‘This is one of the most important pieces of
legislation that Labour, or indeed any government, has ever
introduced. Whilst there is always room for improvement on health
and safety, clearly the change in the last 40 years is quite
‘This legislation has stood the test of time,
with much of it still used regularly by our army of Usdaw health
and safety reps. Much of the original vision and framework of the
1974 Act remains relevant today. The principles have been applied
time and again to new and emerging technologies and sectors and the
legacy is a safety record envied around the world.
‘Today our concerns lie in enforcement and
inspection of workplaces. The current government is obsessed with
deregulation, claiming that health and safety inspections are not
needed for ‘low risk’ workplaces such as shops and offices. It
simply isn’t true that it’s only people who work in ‘dangerous’
industries who are at risk.
‘Cuts and political interference from
Ministers mean that most workplaces are no longer being inspected.
Local authorities enforce health and safety in shops and they have
suffered cuts, with latest estimates indicating that local
authority inspections have plummeted by 90% or more since 2010.
‘The truth is that there are health and safety
issues which need to be managed, even in perceived ‘low risk’
workplaces. The law is needed just as much today as it was in 1974,
to protect the health, safety and welfare of all workers.’
Notes for Editors:
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and
Allied Workers) is the UK's fourth biggest and the fastest
growing trade union with over 431,000 members. Membership has
increased by more than 17% in the last five years and by nearly a
third in the last decade. Most Usdaw members work in the retail
sector, but the Union also has many members in transport,
distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.
For Usdaw press releases visit:
www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter