Cuts-mad Employment Minister Chris Grayling told a bosses' cabal today that he's dead set on chopping vital health and safety rules in half and slashing their taxes.
He said "unneeded" regulations that keep workers safe "stifle" economic growth.
Mr Grayling parroted company chiefs' claims that they'd quit Britain without lower taxes and fewer rules restricting them at the Enterprise Forum in London.
"That's why we are cutting health and safety bureaucracy. We're making good progress and I am determined to cut the number of health and safety regulations in half," he said.
He added as an afterthought: "Of course we have to protect people against death and serious injury in the workplace and we won't do anything to risk this but if we stifle their employers with unneeded rules and regulations those people won't have a job in the first place."
The coalition also plans to make health and safety rules optional for a million self-employed workers, scrap two-thirds of inspections and totally ignore some workplaces and let businesses not report "minor" accidents.
Stirling University Professor Rory O'Neill, who edits Hazards magazine, said: "Mr Grayling won't listen to facts and won't listen to reason. Negligent bosses cost society billions each year, bear barely any of the costs themselves and certainly feel none of the pain.
"Each 'accident' death at work costs over £1 million. Each occupational cancer death - and there are over 12,000 each year - comes at a cost to society of over £2.5m.
"Killing fewer people at work would give the Treasury a better return than screwing the sick and injured for their benefits.
"Even official figures, accepted to include only a minority of injuries, record the crunch of breaking bone in a workplace about 80 times every working day. Eyes or limbs are lost at a rate of two a day."
Families Against Corporate Killers co-ordinator Hilda Palmer rubbished Mr Grayling's comments as "ideological claptrap" based "on no evidence whatseover."
She said: "Too many regulations don't kill people, too little regulations do and the government is failing to protect workers from serious safety risks.
"There are over five times the number of average deaths in the docks, despite the government labelling the industry low risk."
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