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Why is Health and Safety Such a Big Issue?

Health and safety is an issue that has become more and more significant as nations have accumulated wealth. As economies have become better and better at generating wealth and distributing it to the masses, health and safety has become more important to governments, companies and individuals. In this article we'll look at the specific reasons that health and safety has become such a big issue in the United Kingdom and other developed states.
The first reason that is often cited is that of moral. While it is common sense to us to expect that everyone should live and work in an environment that is as safe as possible, it was not always the case. Danger has historically played a big role in our lives and only wealth generation and an increased respect for human life and well being has enabled nations to be able to afford the required regulations.
If a nation can improve the safety and well being of its citizens, then many people would say that they should indeed do that. As these ideas have been taken onboard by governments around the world, the risk of death or injury in the workplace and public buildings or spaces has reduced dramatically.
The second reason that governments from around the globe have taken health and safety so seriously is that of economic. It is generally accepted that governments understand that if risks of injury or death in the workplace or in other areas of life are reduced, then the costs to the state and therefore the public as a whole - are similarly reduced. In countries that provide a national health system to its citizens (as provided by general taxation) the benefit of good health and safety regulations mean that significantly fewer people need medical treatment - and as everyone knows, medical treatment can be very expensive.
There is also the issue regarding social security costs - if someone is injured at work then they may be off work for a long period, which means that often the state will have to pay for living costs and rent etc. Another economic reason that companies would be interested in upholding these principles is that they themselves might be subject to legal fees or compensation claims.
Finally, there is the legal aspect. Health and safety is concreted in law and as such all government departments, companies and individuals are required by law to adhere to such regulations. The risk of legal action for failing to adhere to such rules is the spur that many organizations need in order to maintain a safe working environment for its employees.

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