Budget cuts are threatening the `converts not convicts’ approach to health and safety enforcement, according to the Engineering Employers’ Federation.
The EEF, which has just completed an analysis of Health and Safety Executive funding, says the erosion of already tight budgets will threaten some safety work.
Government funding of the HSE will be cut by £22million over five years. The cut from £180 million in 1995 to £158million in 2000 was announced in the November Budget and is the first reduction in HSE funding.
`We have a quality health and safety system in the UK and we tinker with it at our peril,’ said Paul Reeve, the EEF’s head of health, safety and environment.
The employers’ organisation is worried training and guidance given to companies on health and safety will be hit. It also fears cuts could affect the HSE’s approach to its law enforcement role. `If you must have enforcement it is best done by properly motivated enforcers,’ said Reeve.
The slogan `converts not convicts’, coined by Health and Safety Commission chairman Frank Davies, expresses the enlightened approach, while the HSC’s £1.6million TV advertising campaign aims to put across the message that good health is good business.