MIND charity warns Governent to take care when removing health and safety legislation… The leading mental health charity MIND has warned of the dangers of Government policy aimed at doing away with much of the red tape legislation surrounding UK business.
The charity are concerned that in the Government’s rush to cut away vast swathes of health and safety legislation that they could end up reducing or even eliminating many of the legal safeguards in place guaranteeing the rights of employees who suffer with mental health problems or who are experiencing issues of stress and anxiety in the work place.
The chief executive of MIND, Paul Farmer said his charity was wary of the Government’s headstrong approach to removing a lot of the administrative burden placed on businesses. While agreeing that many of the bureaucratic laws in place are indeed obsolete, Farmer urged the Government to take care to protect the rights of employees who may be suffering from mental health issues in their rush to consign a lot of the red tape to the bin.
Farmer detailed his concerns:
“We have only just seen an end to the use of unfair pre-employment questionnaires that allowed employers to ask questions about someone’s health and disability and screen out candidates that had a history of mental health problems. We must not return to this discriminatory practice and we urge the Government to publicly commit to retaining the ban on pre-employment questionnaires.
“Equalities legislation must be as effective as possible but we are concerned that the proposed review of the Public Sector Equality Duty may lead to a diminishing of Government responsibility to fully consider protected groups. Cuts to benefits, legal aid and social care are already falling disproportionately on people with mental health problems so now more than ever it’s important for the Government to consider the protection of all disabled people and enshrine an equalities approach.”
The HSE reported that the total number of cases of stress in 2010/11 was 400,000 out of a total of 1,152,000 for all work-related illnesses making it the single cause of more than one third of illnesses in the workplace – therefore it is no surprise that Farmer is campaigning for the rights of those suffering from issues relating to their mental health be maintained.