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The Independent, 'We care more for animals than workers' - Timothy Walker responds

Letter to the editor of The Independent

RE: "We care more for animals than workers"
By Johann Hari, 14/5/04

Sir: Johann Hari's article 'We care more for animals than for workers' (14 May),
arguing for suitable punishment for company directors who have exposed their
staff to risks resulting in fatal or other serious injuries, echoes the case that we
(and others) made to government for improvement in this area, following the
Law Society report several years ago. I feel, however, I should correct the impression made when he says "the number of health and safety inspectors has fallen by 41 per cent since 1999". The number of HSE front line field inspectors, with whom industry is most likely to come into contact, has increased by 5.7 per cent over that period. I was puzzled also by the assertion that "workplace deaths have risen by 23 per cent" since 1999. Certainly that year saw a record low number of deaths, but there is no rising trend apparent, and the fatal accident rate last year was about the same as in1999.
TIMOTHY WALKER
Director General, Health and Safety Executive
London SE1

Updated 2013-01-23