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Tristan Hallam: Yet a further charade, Cameron has his say

By Principal Lawyer, Occupiers and Public Liability

More people are killed annually through industrial accidents and industrial disease than wars.  We have created for ourselves through the industrial revolution and aftermath a situation where people can be easily killed and maimed at work. Why else do we have health and safety legislation….!?I hear the Prime Minster has said Health & Safety legislation is to be cut to help business.Is this really true? Has the world gone mad?  Do we really want to reduce legislation and risk more people to be killed and seriously injured? Is this the way to give business a boost? Are businesses really so concerned about health and safety legislation that they think about nothing else and this in turn affects their business enterprise?  I have no doubt that the Prime Minister has heard about employer liability insurance….does he not realise that insurers take the lead in convincing and imposing upon their insured, a requirement to comply with legislation and indeed assist them in doing so.  Has he not heard of the Health & Safety Executive who are there as part of their remit, to help businesses be more safety conscious. The requirement to protect ones fellow worker really is very far from odious.Perhaps the Prime Minister is instead talking about public liability, schools making sure that children in their care are safe.  Perhaps he would like it better if schools did not take greater care of their children.  Perhaps he thinks that this in turn limits children’s ‘childhood’ that they cannot play on the streets as they used to 30 years ago.  The world is a different place however, I am happy to allow my children to play as I did and go cycling around the streets in a safe manner as I did some 30 years ago.  This is nothing to do with health and safety legislation.  A few years ago the previous Government reduced the legal aid bill. The legal aid available has now been cut to almost nothing at all. We lawyers banged on about a lack of access to justice.  The legal aid position and funding for criminal cases which is meant to ensure everyone has a fair trial, is now an absolute farce!  I note that the Prime Minister is due to meet the heads of insurance companies, asking them how better changes can be implemented to assist businesses.  Insurance companies must be rubbing their hands with glee, they now have the ear of the Prime Minister! They will push for a reduction in anything which puts them the least bit in difficulty. They will try and cap costs wherever they can yet at the same time making millions in profit every year for their only real responsibility, namely their shareholders.  Has this Government forgotten that it is one of the largest insurance companies in the world that assisted significantly in the financial recession that we are now in and yet the Prime Minister wishes to speak to the insurers to see how he can assist them. I would suggest that this latest attack on health and safety legislation is yet again, likely to make absolutely no difference as far as the economy is concerned. It is simply taking the ‘eye off the ball’ and making a mockery of all that has been done over the years of trying to create a fairer society. Perhaps we should think about sending children up chimneys and starting up work houses again. Perhaps we should ask the Government whether we should send our children to work in the homes of those in this World who are becoming richer and richer on the back of other people’s misery and perhaps only then would they really be content… Tristan Hallam is a partner in Personal Injury in the London office of Russell Jones & Walker.If you or a member of your family has suffered an accident or injury call our expert personal injury solicitors on 0800 916 9046, fill in our short online claim form or email and one of our specialist personal injury team will review your compensation claim for free.