Letter to editor

Don’t let the government reduction in Health & Safety funding be an excuse to cut corners warns one industry insider.
Dear Editor,

The Government has taken considerable flack for its plans to reduce HSE funding, but the construction industry is strongly advised against using this as an excuse for rising accident and death rates. After all, this is an industry wide responsibility.

Maybe – and I stress it’s only a maybe – the cuts will result in fewer or less rigorous on-site HSE checks, but that shouldn’t give the green light for contractors to begin dropping standards. It’s a false economy to do so and will do nothing to reduce the time and money attributed to accidents and employee or equipment down time.

There’s a real danger of complacency slipping in and that could be the biggest part of the proposed spending cut fallout. Contractors need to realise that regulations and compliance is one thing but to stop there, at the minimum requirement, rarely adds any value to the business.

Appropriate health and safety systems and a rigorous approach to equipment status management is proven to reduce maintenance costs, improve the likelihood of tendering success and also enhances business reputation.

At a time when on-site death rates are spiralling, de-skilling and recruitment is an issue, health and safety best practice has never been more important.

Those firms who think they can cut corners and avoid the HSE – at a time when it is vulnerable – are only cheating themselves, the business and its employees.

Yours sincerely,

Jonathan Edwin

Business manager, Scafftag

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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