UNISON warns against possible HSE privatisation

UNISON is concerned about possible privatisation of the Health and Safety Executive after the government reacted to the regular triennial review of the executive by calling on it “to begin work immiedately to examine commercial models”.

This was even though the actual review – written by Engineering Employers Federation chair Martin Temple – backed the HSE.

The review supported the HSE keeping its existing funcitons and issuing “clear, authoritative guidance that states clearly and simply what business is required to do”.

And it warned that “simplicity is welcomed, dumbing down is not”.

The report also said the overall balance of the HSE board “is right” and should be maintained – including the position and role of trade union representatives on the board

“We are delighted that Martin Temple has come out so strongly in support of the HSE retaining its existing functions and of the role of trade unions in health and safety governance,” said UNISON head of health and safety Tracey Harding.

“However, we are concerned at the government’s statement which seems to imply the threat of future privatisation of the HSE, and the possibility that profit – rather than the safety of workers – will be the underlying motive of a future HSE.

“That is why it is so important that UNISON continues to campaign strongly for an Independent HSE that protects the health and safety of workers.” 

Triennial review report: Health and Safety Executive 2014 (external link, opens in new window)

UNISON evidence to triennial review [PDF] (you will need to be signed in as a registered activist to view this content)

UNISON Knowledge: health and safety topics (member only content – you will need to be signed in to view this)