The family of a tree surgeon killed when part of a chain on a colleague's petrol strimmer hit his head has spoken of their support for health and safety laws in advance of Worker’s Memorial Day on Saturday, April 28th.

Tony Robinson from Ulverston, 36, died after he was hit by the piece of metal chain which was travelling around 300mph whilst he was helping to clear vegetation at Barrow Bank in February 2010.

Tony's wife Jenna said he was a staunch believer in health and safety but was killed because his employers failed to follow health and safety rules.

Jenna is now joining Thompsons Solicitors, the national trade union law firm, in support of a TUC and union-backed campaign to defend health and safety laws from government attacks.

Government attacks on health and safety regulations don’t make sense

Jenna says Tony’s death demonstrates why government attacks on health and safety regulations don’t make sense.

The campaign comes after the government made changes to the number of injuries at work which employers must report.

The government also plans to cut by half the number of current health and safety regulations and reduce by a third the number of proactive inspections of premises.

Tony died on his first day working as a subcontractor for Andrew Brooks Tree Services, a contractor to ThreeShires Ltd.

Strimmer and attachment has now been banned across Europe

His colleague was using a strimmer and an attachment, which has now been banned across Europe, which belonged to ThreeShires. ThreeShires was fined £15,000 at crown court for failing to ensure the safety of workers.

Tony, a dad of four, had worked in the landscaping and agricultural industry for more than a decade after becoming a qualified tree surgeon.

Thompsons argues that accidents like Tony’s will become more common without regular proactive inspections.

Thompsons, which has 90 years of experience of acting only for injured people and has dealt with thousands of cases where innocent workers have ended up injured as a result of their employer failing to follow simple health and safety regulations says the answer isn’t cuts in basic health and safety but simple forward-thinking and changes to the workplace.

Health and safety is not red tape or a burden

Thompsons is joining the TUC in its call to arms to defend the UK’s health and safety regulations and to have a common sense approach so employers can implement safe practices easily.

Andrew McDonald from Thompsons Solicitors in Middlesbrough said: “The government is obsessed with ‘red tape’ but in our experience health and safety regulations are often nothing more than good management. Attacking health and safety does nothing more than plays to a ‘crisis’ whipped-up by insurers to stop injured people claiming and boosting their profits.

“We have a health and safety record in this country to be proud of and responsible employers know that health and safety is not red tape or a burden. Common sense sees rules change but employers know there are lines in the sand that shouldn't be watered down.

“On behalf of our clients we cannot stand by whilst regulations are tampered with to feed a false frenzy which will only increase the risk of injury and even death to workers.”

Mrs Robinson said: “These proposed changes to health and safety are worrying. Tony was killed because his employers failed to follow the most basic health and safety procedures. The government should be doing everything it can to ensure that businesses are keeping their workforce safe instead it is watering health and safety down meaning that more people are going to end up in deadly accidents similar to Tony’s.”

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