188.8.131.52 Health and Safety Regulations
Health and safety regulations apply to products and services, working conditions and public infrastructure – to keep people safe.
There are obvious moral and political reasons for protecting people’s safety, but there are some economic benefits as well.
People are more likely to buy product and services if they can be confident that health and safety regulations apply. Consumer protection against harm is obviously paramount for medicines. There is a balance to be struck between taking risks and delaying the availability of valuable new medicines. An article published in April 2016, entitled Drugs, Devices, and the FDA, described the mission of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as including “ensuring that new medical treatments reach the public as quickly as possible while simultaneously ensuring that new treatments are both safe and effective”.
Safe working conditions form part of the need to prevent employees being exploited. Employers should not be able to gain competitive advantage by cutting back on safety.
Authorities are responsible for health and safety in public infrastructure. The fire which destroyed Grenfell Tower in June 2017 was an example of a local authority failing to meet its responsibilities to the inhabitants of public housing.
This page is intended to form part of Edition 4 of the Patterns of Power series of books. An archived copy of it is held at https://www.patternsofpower.org/edition04/3313.htm.