Usdaw calls on the Government not to be complacent about health and safety in shops

Date: 08 September 2014 Jeff Broome, Usdaw President, has this afternoon called on the Government to take health and safety seriously and reverse the cuts to workplace inspections, when seconding a composite motion at the Trades Union Congress in Liverpool.

Jeff Broome said: ‘The Government have, so far, not been able to make many changes to the health and safety law itself, but they have done a great deal of damage in other ways.

‘In 2011 the Minister instructed the Health and Safety Executive to stop doing pro-active inspections and changes have been worse for Local Authorities, who enforce health and safety for 1.4 million workplaces in shops, warehouses and offices.

‘These workplaces have been labelled as low risk by this Government, yet they do have their health and safety problems. In retail, where many Usdaw members work, issues include slipping and tripping accidents, musculoskeletal disorders and violence to staff to name but a few.

‘Yet proactive inspections by Local Authority inspectors have been slashed by an unbelievable 93% in the last 5 years.  In the last year only 8,000 pro-active inspections were done by Local Authorities, that’s only 8,000 inspections for over 1.4 million workplaces.

‘Inspection is not just about catching the bad guys, but also supporting the employers who are unsure of their responsibilities. It is vital that no business is exempt from an unannounced inspection by the regulator on any one of their premises.

‘We cannot afford to be complacent about health and safety. Instead of attacking health and safety, the Government should be giving support to the HSE and to Local Authorities to enable them to get on with their job of inspection and enforcement.’

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 432,000 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 @UsdawUnion

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The official website of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers