Labour MP Ian Lavery vowed to fight "nonsensical" health and safety cuts today after a minister confessed that work-related injuries and sickness cost Britain £20 billion every year.
Mr Lavery attacked Work and Pensions Minister Chris Grayling for plunging ahead with plans for a one-third cut in the number of "pro-active" workplace inspections.
"It is atrocious. It is absolute nonsense," said Mr Lavery following a Commons clash with the minister.
The Wansbeck MP challenged the minister to explain how he would prevent the workplace toll rising still further from last year's 152 deaths and 26,000 major injuries.
Mr Grayling stubbornly insisted during Monday's question time that inspectors would focus on protecting people from "real dangers" in the workplace by abandoning inspections of "low-risk premises."
Mr Lavery warned today that the attack on health and safety was part of the wide-ranging Tory assault on working people.
"It's an attack before you start work in terms of education. It's an attack when you are at work.
"It's an attack on wages and pensions and it's an attack on workplace health and safety," he said.
Labour MP John Cryer also raised the issue, only to be told that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) would "concentrate its resource on dealing with those employers where there is a problem and fault has been found."
The minister told MPs that a review of health and safety regulations, chaired by Professor Ragnar Lofstedt, would publish its findings later this year.
Closing date for evidence would be July 29.
He added that the HSE estimate of the annual cost of workplace injuries and work-related ill health "is currently in the order of £20 billion."