Deregulation of safety and policies endangers UK workers: study

July 22, 2010

Changes to the United Kingdom's safety and health policies over the past decade have put employees at risk for workplace injuries, suggests new research from the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University.

Although the U.K. government recently announced a review of safety and health laws in response to concerns that industry has too many, researchers found the Health and Safety Executive has less power to inspect and enforce safety and health regulations, increasing the risk of workplace accidents.

The report, "Regulatory Surrender: Death, injury and the non-enforcement of law," shows the number of inspections of U.K. businesses fell 69 percent; likewise, investigations of safety and health incidents declined by 68 percent, according to a University of Liverpool press release. Researchers also found a 48 percent decrease in the prosecution of companies that violated environmental, health and safety regulations.