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Involve safety reps in Health and Safety prosecutions says TUC


The TUC wants the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and local authority inspectors to take account of warnings issued by union safety reps in deciding whether to prosecute employers for health and safety breaches.

Submitting views to the Health and Sagety Commission (HSC) review of its enforcement policy statement, the TUC also says that the HSC should provide an appeal system if victims or safety reps feel that action has not been taken when it should have. (This would match the rights of appeal which employers already have when they feel enforcement action should not have happened).

TUC General Secretary John Monks said, "At the moment, the law is stacked in favour of not taking enforcement action, and employers who have ignored warnings from their own workforce are allowed to escape with impunity, as if they had no idea what they were doing was wrong. We believe that conscientious employers have nothing to fear from these proposals - but the law should crack down hard on those employers who take no notice of safety reps' warnings."

The TUC submission also calls for:

  • more resources for the HSE and local authorities to ensure the tougher enforcement policy proposed by the HSC can actually be implemented; and
  • the HSE to become better at explaining its decisions and actions to victims and, in the most tragic circumstances, their families.


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