Occupational health and safety, a reserved matter, has been a Cinderella in the funding and staffing policies and practices of successive UK governments. Worse than that it has been a specific target in the last decade or more for those wishing to cut red tape. In the argot of the time this meant to deregulate or, in the softer versions, to ‘better regulate’ or ‘smarter regulate’. These policies have damaged inspections, monitoring, information and advice and enforcement on workplace risks arising from established hazards at a time when thousands of workers each year were already dying from occupational diseases and millions had their health damaged by work-caused or work-related factors.
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