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Lecturers seek urgent answers on health and safety training cuts

23 October 2006 | last updated: 15 December 2015

UCU has questioned if the Learning and Skills Council consulted the Health and Safety Commission before announcing that it will withdraw funding from vital health and safety courses.

In its newly published annual statement of funding priorities, the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) stated that funding for some short courses including health and safety, first aid and food safety courses, will be withdrawn. The LSC states that these courses should in future be provided by employers who have a legal duty to do so.

In a letter sent to the Learning and Skills Council today, UCU asks if the Health and Safety Commission, any other organisations, or the lecturers who teach these courses were consulted on the closures.

The union also asks what evidence there is that employers who currently send workers on LSC-funded training will now provide alternative health and safety training of a decent standard.

The union has made its requests under the Freedom of Information Act.

Roger Kline, head of equality and employment rights at UCU, said: 'Making the decision to close these courses should have been done in consultation with the Health and Safety Commission. We wonder if that was the case. Feedback from our members who teach these courses suggests that they were not consulted.

'Lecturers are astonished at the suggestion that these courses will now be carried out as part of the employer's statutory duties. Given that we know that one in three employers do not offer any training whatsoever, we are not confident that they will step in to the breach and provide these courses themselves. There is a risk we'll end up with workplaces where nobody is trained in the basics of health and safety, first aid, and food safety.'

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