According to British union, the government’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is putting children’s lives at risk by doing away with guidance covering their safety on farms.
Britain’s biggest union, Unite, recently issued the warning following the decision by the HSE to remove the Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) on children in agriculture.
Safety experts note that the agricultural industry is one of the most dangerous in the UK and according to the HSE’s own figures there were 29 child fatalities between 1998 and 2011. During the 10 year period from 2001 to 2011 there was an average of 15 serious injuries to kids yearly.
ACOPs offer examples of good practice, but crucially they have specific legal status; if an employer being prosecuted for breach of health and safety laws is proved not to have followed an ACOP, it is more likely that the court will find them at fault.
Unite Has Campaigned in Past for Better Farm Safety
As the only union in the UK representing farm workers, Unite has campaigned for decades for better child safety on farms.
It argues that the welcome decline in child deaths in agriculture since the introduction of the ACOP in 1988 is due in part to the code’s existence and the added legal weight it gives to safety campaigns.
The HSE argues that 62 percent of respondents to a public consultation were in favor of the ACOP’s withdrawal.
Unite notes that this is a similar proportion to those in favor of keeping the Agricultural Wages Board, yet the government ignored this public vote of confidence in the statutory pay body and formally abolished it in late June.
Author Michael B. Stack, CPA, Director of Operations, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in employer communication systems and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. He is a writer, speaker, and website publisher. www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com. Contact: email@example.com.
©2013 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law.