On December 2014, 25 year old Benjamin Edge was working on a roof in Ramsbottom near Bury. He fell from the roof, suffering catastrophic injuries from which he died shortly afterwards. He had been working at height, in windy conditions without any safety equipment.
Following the incident Benjamin’s work colleague placed harnesses nearby so that it would look like the fall was Benjamin’s own fault. His bosses James Brown and Chris Brown later forged Risk Assessments to make them look that they has been done earlier.
Some justice was done yesterday when the Browns were jailed for 20 months perverting the course of justice. The work colleague was given a 4 month suspended sentence.
Mr Edge’s accident was avoidable. If his employers had paid more than lip service to Health and Safety Regulations he would not have fallen to his death. This is why these regulations exist. They are there to save lives and to avoid workers suffering injuries whilst doing their job.
Some politicians and the media continue to refer to Health and Safety as if they are dirty words. Back in 2012, former Prime Minister, David Cameron pledged to kill off the health and safety culture for good. He declared the regulations to be 'out of control'.
The reality is that many lives have been saved because of a shift in thinking which has put workers safety at the top of the agenda. Those who criticise Health and Safety confidently quote fictional stories to try and show that regulation has gone too far. Following Mr Cameron’s comments, the Health and Safety Executive published the Top 10 Myths – stories that regularly appeared in the media but which were entirely fictitious –
Protecting workers from injury is an expensive exercise. Steps have to be taken and costs have to be incurred which can impact on profits. But in a modern society the safety of those who go out to earn a living must be a priority. A young father should be able to go to work in the knowledge that he will be safe. Employers who flout the regulations should be punished.
I hope that as a result of this tragic case, the message is heard loud and clear.
Health and Safety Regulations are not simply inconvenient red tape.
They exist to save lives.