The recession will not lead to a reduction in investment in health and safety for companies.

That is according to health and safety minister Lord McKenzie of Luton, who has been speaking at the Institute of Occupational Health and Safety (IOSH) 09 conference.

Lord McKenzie explained that the current economic situation would mean "testing" times ahead, but there would be no let up of "duties around health and safety".

Addressing 700 health and safety professionals, Lord McKenzie said: "The HSE (Health and Safety Executive) and its inspectors will not weaken their position on health and safety.

"Skimping on health and safety is wrong – the financial and reputational consequences can be severe."

Geoffrey Podger, chief executive of the HSE warned that health and safety dangers may appear when the economy begins to recover.

He explained that historically that is when companies are recruiting "but not training [new recruits] properly".

The IOSH is an independent, not-for-profit organisation and stands as Europe’s leading body for health and safety professionals.