Health and safety underpins effective markets

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Policy Exchange: Health and safety gone Mad Hatter | ToUChstone blog: A public policy blog from the TUC.

Brendan Barber says on the TUC blog:

Policy Exchange have a new report out today, Health and Safety: Reducing the Burden. It’s about as close to being relevant to the needs of the modern workplace as Alice in Wonderland.

Policy Exchange say:

The health and safety culture in Britain is having a pernicious effect on our lives. Health and safety is becoming a ritual excuse for not doing anything. Health and safety is itself potentially becoming dangerous to people’s health.

Brendan is right to say:

Anyone who seriously believes that there is a culture of over-compliance needs some basic lessons in the reality of working life in the UK. Last year 30 million days were lost due to injuries and ill-health caused by work. And a quarter of a million people were injured at work. These were caused by employers failing to comply with health and safety regulations.

But the issue is even more important than that. Without health and safety we would not have effective functioning markets in the UK.

You would not buy a coffee when out - it may not be safe. Or any food from supermarkets, for the same reason. Or drive a car - which would be a death trap.

The reality is health and safety gives us the confidence to buy. It does not harm markets and private enterprise - it's the bed rock on which much of it is built.

But such joined up thinking is beyond Policy Exchange.

Heaven help us if the Tories get in.