All posts by Jawad

What a carry-on! Grayling carries on wrecking ‘elf and safety despite the evidence (or lack of it!)

Following the announcements made today by Employment Minister Chris Grayling after the publication of the government’s review of health and safety by Professor Lofstedt, the Hazards Campaign said: “Here we go again! While Professor Lofstedt’s evidence shows there’s no fundamental problem with the regime which is meant to protect people at work the Tories take the opportunity to wreck what they can by exaggerating Lofstedt’s findings – or just by making stuff up. Just like they did with Lord Young. What a carry on!

“The really disgraceful part of all of this is that this review was a real opportunity to look at way of reducing the burden on people at work who are injured, made unwell, disabled and killed – which the government says costs the UK as a whole of up to £32billion each and every year and which the government says is caused by employers not doing what they should to prevent this happening – by law.

“Instead the review was focussed on the so-called burdens on business and it will do nothing, absolutely nothing, to reduce the real burden borne by workers, their families and friends or the state.”

The Hazards Campaign disagrees with the government’s plans to exempt the self employed for health and safety protections and disputes they are currently placed under any burden by health and safety legislation. This change will make things worse, not better, for the self employed.

The Hazards Campaign disagrees with the government’s plan to create an enforcement challenge panel, points out this will create extra bureaucracy and cost as well as that there is an appeals system currently in place.

The Hazards Campaign disagrees with the government’s plan to add extra burden on the Health and Safety Executive who are already facing 35% cuts, by giving them more of a role in local authority enforcement. The Hazards Campaign calls for more resources for the HSE and local authorities so they can do the job they are required to by law properly and adequately.

The Hazards Campaign accuses Chris Grayling and the media of creating a mountain out of a non-existent molehill in his announcements over plans for strict liability compensation cases.

For more information contact:
Hazards Campaign – 0161 636 7557

Further information:

We didn’t vote to die at work:
http://www.hazards.org/votetodie/

Hazards Campaign:
http://www.hazardscampaign.org.uk/

The Lofstedt report is available at: http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/lofstedt-report.pdf

The Government response to the Lofstedt review is available at:
http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/lofstedt-report-response.pdf

TUC comment on the Lofstedt review is available at:
http://www.tuc.org.uk/workplace/tuc-20341-f0.cfm

“Clegg – stop talking such utter cobblers!”

Commenting on the speech by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg to small business leaders today, the Hazards Campaign asks that instead of publicly regurgitating the disproved and, frankly, discredited, arguments of Lord Young and Chris Grayling to prop up an equally discredited deregulatory philosophy, shouldn’t he at least wait until the evidence the government is seeking through the Lofstedt review is made public?

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has today picked up the ball taken away from Lord Young and run with the line that somehow the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Environment Agency are oppressively preventing businesses getting on with solving the country’s economic woes. Yet again the Hazards Campaign say “What utter cobblers!”

Not only is it cobblers, it is dangerous, toxic, life threatening cobblers.

This is yet another assault launched by the Tories on laws and enforcement which protect workers, now with clear support from the Lib Dems. Every time Lord Young, Employment Minister Chris Grayling or PM Cameron, until today the key players in this assault, have opened their mouths, their utterances have been roundly discredited by the evidence, which disproves their biased and politically motivated theories, and evidence continues to mount up against them, as a recent BIS report shows (1).

Clegg is not only wrong when he implies the HSE over-enforces. It is clear he either doesn’t know the facts or like Lord Young et al, won’t let reality get in the way of a well spun soundbite. On average, a workplace in GB can expect an unannounced visit just once every 38 years. With the 35% cuts the HSE is having to face and the restrictions on preventative, proactive inspections put on them by Grayling, this can only get worse leaving workers lives and health at great risk (2).

The recently exposed links between cabinet ministers including Chris Grayling, and the neo-conservative lobbyist organization Atlantic Bridge (3) with its pro-business anti-worker agenda, looks like getting just what it wants out of this government: the right to make money whatever it costs workers, their families, and the cost to society! The evidence which utterly refutes the lies that regulation and enforcement of health and safety at work is a ‘burden on business’ and costs jobs, has been presented to the Lofstedt Review which will report shortly.

In the meantime we would suggest Nick Clegg stop talking such utter cobblers and show some respect for the facts, the truth and workers lives!

For more information contact:
Hazards Campaign – 0161 636 7557

Further information:

1. The SME Business Barometer published by BIS in October 201

‘A brand new survey of small and medium-sized enterprises published by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), shows that employment law and health and safety regulation do not even feature in their list of concerns. It would appear that employer organisations are pursuing a fanatical right wing agenda that does not actually reflect the concerns of their members.’

2. Once in a lifetime – Hazards magazine

3. Safety minister was part of Fox’s organisation Risks 528, 22 October 2011

We didn’t vote to die at work campaign

Hazards Campaign

Hazards Campaign comment on employment minister Chris Grayling’s Butlin’s bumper car letter

In response to the publication by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) of Chris Grayling’s letter on Butlin’s bumping bumper car ban decision, a Hazards Campaign spokesperson said:

“The first piece of hard evidence published from workplace health and safety’s nemesis, employment minister Chris Grayling, undermines the whole basis for his attacks on workplace health and safety by showing it’s not our health and safety laws or over-zealous enforcement by health and safety cops or “gold plating” EU directives that lead to some of the well publicised “bonkers conkers” decisions.

“In his published letter to Butlin’s regarding their decision to ban bumping bumper cars he clearly recognises it is operational decisions taken by employers themselves under no pressure from the state, the law or its enforcement bodies. In the Butlin’s case the decision in all likelihood was taken to lessen the potential risk of being sued – which has nothing to do with workplace health and safety.

“It’s time for Grayling to come clean and admit his and the Tory attacks on workplace health and safety provisions are based on ideology rather than reality. He must stop his attacks on our legal framework, recognise the real cost of workplace health and safety failures to society and who is responsible. It is criminally negligent employers who kill, maim, disable, injure and make unwell many thousands of workers every year costing the UK economy £32 billion annually and the cuts to the HSE and its enforcement regime must be reversed.”

For more information contact:
Hazards Campaign – 0161 636 7557

Further information:

Chris Grayling’s letter: http://www.hse.gov.uk/press/record/2011/butlins260411.htm

We didn’t vote to die at work: http://www.hazards.org/votetodie/

Hazards Campaign: http://www.hazardscampaign.org.uk/

The whole story: http://www.shponline.co.uk/features-content/full/the-whole-story

Hazards Campaign comment on PM Cameron’s linking the riots and looting to health and safety legislation

Hazards Campaign comment on PM Cameron’s linking the riots and looting to health and safety legislation

Following the statements made by PM Cameron yesterday, a Hazards Campaign spokesperson said: “Cameron’s linking of the recent social unrest to “‘elf and safety gorn mad” is not only complete rubbish but completely crass and scraping the bottom of the daft ideas barrel. What next – the unrest in Syria down to ‘elf and safety? Our rubbish summer – ‘elf and safety! The failure of the England football team to win anything – ‘elf and safety!

“To link the looting to health and safety legislation is an absolute insult to the lad who died in crane incident in Lancashire yesterday, the lad who died on the Woolwich ferry last week, the lad who died on the tug on the Thames last week and the family of Noel Corbin whose employers have just been fined only £1. Noel’s employers went into liquidation thus avoiding any accountability or paying the penalty for the crime, not a get out clause available to rioters so why should it be available to killer employers?

“Blaming health and safety for rioting is a disgraceful insult to the 20-50,000 people who die in the UK EVERY YEAR because their employers failed to manage health and safety at their workplaces.“

“Bad and negligent employers cost the UK economy up to £30 billion every year for health and safety failings – not our figures but ten year old government figures which will be far higher now. The government’s answer to this is to let employers get away with even more killing, injuring and making workers ill, as well as looting our economy by attacking and cutting health and safety provisions. We have called on many successive governments to do what Cameron has announced in the war on “gang culture” but against those bad employers and their criminal lack of health and safety culture, and every successive bad government has refused to do it.”

“Until those who run organisations are held accountable for the consequences of their actions – death, injury and illness of workers – they will go on behaving in morally and criminally irresponsible ways. We ask when will those employers be pursued and punished in a similar way to those being sought now by government for rioting and looting?”

For more information contact:
Hilda Palmer, Hazards Campaign – 0161 636 7557

Further information

We didn’t vote to die at work campaign

Hazards Campaign

Firm fined £1 over death of satellite TV engineer, Camden New Journal

The whole story, Safety and Health Practitioner

Hazards conference 2011


22nd National Hazards conference 2011, 2-4 September
University of Keele

Conference documents

Who Really Bears the Burden? FACK families can tell you… Louise Taggart, FACK [ppt]

Struggle for OSH Rights in Asia, Sanjiv Pandita, AMRC [pdf]

Health and Safety – Fighting for our rights – and our lives, Hugh Robertson, TUC [pdf]

Is the Government destroying enforcement?, Hugh Robertson, TUC [pdf]

Background and booking

HSE cuts mean we need better organisation – Booking form [pdf] – Sponsorship form [pdf]

The 22nd National Hazards Conference: Hazards 2011 Hazards Conference is the UK‟s biggest educational and organising event for trade union safety reps and activists. The conference is a mixture of speakers, plenary sessions, debates & meetings and a comprehensive workshop programme. You can network and exchange experience and information with delegates from a wide range of occupations.

Now we know the dreadful hand that the 2010 election dealt us. The ConDem government is now intent on making ordinary people pay the price of resolving the economic crisis caused by the greed of banks and financial institutions. They falsely present the crisis as being caused by the sick and injured, those on disability and other benefits, public sector workers, and the regulation and enforcement of health and safety that they say imposes unfair burdens on business. Enforcement officers and public sector workers are now being described as “the enemies of enterprise.” Workers pay the price; there is precious little evidence of shared “we are all in this together” misery.

The HSE face 35 per cent cuts to their budget, and 201 staff left HSE in February. That means less information, education, research and enforcement for occupational health and safety as inspectors and others lose their jobs. Local authority EHO departments also face similar levels of cuts. Meanwhile Lord Young‟s daft and dangerous ideas like combining food safety with
workplace safety inspections can only weaken both.

We must organise more effectively in the workplace. Last year‟s TUC safety reps survey found that most reps still don‟t fully undertake all their statutory functions. A majority of reps don‟t conduct the 4 workplace inspections a year the SRSC Regulations prescribe; over half spend just an hour or less a week on safety rep work; only a quarter of reps say they are automatically consulted by the employer, while 14 per cent of reps reported they were refused time-off for training. The statutory framework must be defended, best done by extending and improving our workplace organisation and activity against unsafe and unhealthy conditions. If we don‟t, it‟s clear no-one else will.

Join us to debate these crucial health and safety issues, think about what we all need to do and develop some fresh ideas, and help to build the campaign for better workplace organisation, more inspections and effective trade union action for decent workplaces and against the cuts.

How to apply for Hazards 2011 Booking form [pdf]
The absolute deadline for applications is Monday 8th August 2011. Choose 2 workshops plus a reserve and 1 keynote meeting from the list, arrange your delegate fee, complete the registration form, and send it together with your cheque payable to Hazards 2011 for the appropriate delegate fee, to the address on the form. Please do this as soon as possible, as the maximum number of 500 cannot be exceeded.

 

On Workers Memorial Day the Hazards Campaign says: “Oi, Grayling! We aren’t going to let you send us back to the dark ages!”

Supporters of the The Hazards Campaign will be marking this year’s Workers Memorial Day, April 28th, with a call to arms in the fight to protect workers rights to safe and healthy workplaces.

Hilda Palmer of the Hazards Campaign said: “The path the ConDem government is taking with Chris Grayling at the helm as employment minister will kill, disable and injure more workers, not less. The corrupt equation they have used to justify their attacks on workplace health and safety and the cuts to our safety police has been well exposed. Their absolute failure to take into account the burden on the families and  friends as well as the state, who pick up the bill of billions when workers are killed or injured, or the enormous benefits to society safe workplaces provide exposes their lack of concern for workers health. On Workers Memorial Day we will all be saying “Oi, Grayling! We aren’t going to let you send us back to the dark ages!””

Workers Memorial Day is a global day to mark the damage work does – globally every year more people are killed at work or by work activities than die in wars. Workers Memorial Day’s motto is:

“Remember the dead – but fight for the living!”

Contact: Hilda Palmer, Hazards Campaign – 0161 636 7557

Hazards Campaign and other authority estimates: 1,367 – 1,517 killed in work related incidents in GB last year made up of:

•          HSE figs of the 152 workers that are reported to HSE and Local Authorities via RIDDOR which UK Statistics Authority confirms are not national work-related death fatality figures,
•          Members of the public killed by work activity = 85
•          Workers killed at sea and in the air – estimated at 30 a year
•          About 1,000 in work-related road traffic incidents
•          About 100-250 suicides due to the pressures of work

Hazards and other authority estimates of those killed by work-related illness each year

•          Includes 18,000 by work-related cancer at 12% (8-16%) at least 5,000 due to asbestos cancers
•          Heart Disease – 20% of deaths work related due to stress, long hours, shift work = up to 20,000
•          Respiratory Illness -15-20% of obstructive lung disease = about 6,000
•          Other diseases inc. restrictive lung diseases = about 6,000
•          Giving Total of up to 50,000 per year

For more information:

Workers Memorial Day background leaflet and Workers Memorial Day international activity

The ConDem anti-health and safety agenda Regulations don’t kill jobs – lack of regulation kills workers’

Downloadable WMD leaflet

More cuts in health and safety are the real Job Killers!

Responding to Work and Pension minister Chris Grayling’s announcement of yet another review of health and safety with the aim of removing yet more protection for workers’ health, safety and welfare,  the Hazards Campaign says:  “This is dangerously illogical, will have major detrimental impacts of workers health and lives, and is completely false economy as it ignores the evidence that the major burden of poor health and safety falls not on employers, but on workers and their families, but also the tax payer.  

 In his statement Chris Grayling says:  “We will also shift the cost burden of health and safety law away from the tax payer, and instead make those organisations that fail to meet their obligations pay to put things right.”  Hazards Campaign spokesperson Hilda Palmer says:   “if only this were true!  The bill for poor safety and health every year in GB is a minimum of £30 billion but employers pay less than 25% of this!  Workers and their families pay first, then the state in health and other cost, and only finally do employers pay a small proportion for the harm they cause (1).  But all the government’s policies will do the complete opposite of making employers pay:  by reducing HSE’s enforcement, by cutting the requirements on employers with dumbed down tick boxes and trusting them to do the right thing, cutting oversight via proactive inspections, there will be no way of knowing what many  employers are really doing until something goes very wrong.   It is magical thinking for Grayling to claim these proposals will do anything but remove the credible threat of enforcement action and allow non-compliant, criminal employers to get away with harming far more workers with work-related stress, strains and pain, and injuring and killing them. (2)

She added: “We do not support ludicrous bureaucracy or unnecessary restrictions, but there is a widespread but false assumption that simple rules that protect the lives, the health and the welfare of people while at work, are a terrible drain on business and the economy.  This is based on bogus figures that overstate the cost of compliance, underestimate the savings that employers make through good health and safety and completely forget to tell us that failing to comply costs all of us far more than it costs them.  It’s not costing business an arm and a leg – it’s costing us our arms, legs and every other part of our bodies!

“Grayling needs to talk not just to businesses, but to the people who bear the real burdens of poor health and safety such as the families of workers killed.  FACK members are horrified at these actions and fear many more people will be killed.   The major costs of poor workplace health and safety costs those workers injured or killed and their families a massive amount, but it also costs the tax payer £billions every year and at a time of austerity especially, we cannot afford this subsidy to lawless employers. (3)

 

Contact Hazards Campaign on 0161 636 7557

For more info see http://www.hazards.org/votetodie/; and Hazards Campaign ‘We didn’t Vote to Die at Work Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/group.php?gid=123746101003963

Notes to editors
1. Who pays? you do: http://www.hazards.org/deadlybusiness/whopays.htm;http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/pdf/costs.pdf
2. Job killers- Regulations don’t kill jobs; lacks of regulations kill workers. Pesky safety regulations and meddling inspectors are bringing the economy to its knees and stifling job creation, or so the business lobby says. But there are a couple of large flies in their deregulatory ointment – the arguments are bogus and the statistics behind them are rigged.  http://www.hazards.org/votetodie/jobkillers.htm

3. DVD ‘Face the FACKS; the human cost of workplace killing’ stories of workers killed for just going to work where their employers failed to protect them, by Families Against Corporate Killers 

 Order your DVD now and it will be posted to you. Cost £10.00 including p&p. Make cheques payable to GMHC with ‘For FACK DVD’ on back. This money will help to cover the cost of production AND support FACK’s work – you can donate more if you want! THANK YOU c/o Hazards Campaign, Windrush Millennium Centre, 70 Alexandra Road, Manchester M16 7WD Tel 0161 636 7557 mail@gmhazards.org.uk www.fack.org.uk

Sentencing of Cotswold Geotechnical Services in the first ever corporate manslaughter trial.

Hazards Campaign statement following the sentencing of Cotswold Geotechnical Services in the first ever corporate manslaughter trial

Following the fine today of £385,000.00 (to be paid back over 10 years) on Cotswold Geotechnical Holdings after their conviction under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 for the death of employee Alexander Wright, 27, the Hazards Campaign said: “Alex’s death was sadly yet another example of a wholly predictable and preventable death and a clear example of gross negligence by an employer – yet no individual employer or director has been held to account and the only sanction has been a fine, which does not reflect the seriousness of the crime of taking a life. The Health and Safety Executive says over 70% of deaths and major injuries are caused by management failings, not freak accidents.

“A fundamental flaw with the new corporate manslaughter legislation is that it holds the company responsible, not the individual directors who make the decisions which lead to these disasters, and therefore no-one can be jailed, which is the appropriate sentence for taking a life by gross negligence. Currently, individual company directors can escape legal accountability and the only way to make them take protecting workers’ safety and health seriously is to implement a law making them legally responsible for the health and safety of their organisations.

“This case could easily have been taken against the company using our existing health and safety laws which would have allowed for a fine on conviction. The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 is a damp squib with only this case against Geotech , a small company, since it came into force rather than the 12 or so a year that were predicted to hold large employers to account. Other giants, such as Corus, Veolia, BIFFA, BP and many others who have killed and maimed repeatedly, have never been charged with corporate manslaughter and few individual directors or senior manager has ever been called to answer manslaughter charges for the dangerous ways they run their businesses.

“The Hazards Campaign is also very concerned that current government attacks on health and safety law and swingeing cuts in the safety police, the Health and Safety Executive, will only make matters worse and more workers will be killed.”

For more information contact:
Hilda Palmer, Hazards Campaign – 0161 636 7557

 

Lord Young’s biased report should be binned

We didn’t vote to die at work! Lord Young’s biased report should be binned and Con-Dem government should base their policies on the evidence not prejudice say the Hazards Campaign

The Hazards Campaign says that the report produced by Lord Young is based on a mass of unsubstantiated prejudices and tabloid myth, is the antithesis of evidence-based policy making, and should not form the basis for the government’s action on health and safety. This is not the report we need now when health and safety is in a parlous state exposing far too many workers to far too great a risk and with massive extra risk coming when the cuts get underway and fewer workers will be doing the work of their sacked colleagues. We did not vote to die at work and this report will not reduce workplace illness, injury or death (1).

Hazards Campaign spokesperson said: “The evidence shows that far from good health and safety being a burden on business, it is a positive bonus to employers, but also that the real burden of poor health and safety in terms of injury, illness and death is massive and is borne mainly by workers, their families and the state in benefits and health care cost, as employers pay only 25% of the very conservative cost of £30 billion per year. (2)

“The report is based on the figures used by the HSE for deaths, injuries and illness at work which are a mere fraction of the real total (3) which is nearer 1,500 killed in work-related incidents, up to 50,000 due to work-related illness, and millions suffering ill-health but soldiering on at work every year (4).

“The evidence is that enforcement isn’t over the top, with far too few inspectors spread too thinly so that workplaces may only be inspected once every 38 years. Prosecutions and investigations are all massively down over the last ten years and there’s 37% less regulation than there was 15 years ago. Few employers are ever prosecuted and then they mostly receive paltry and derisory fines which are not a credible deterrent. (4)

“There is no’ compensation culture’ as government report after report, and all the facts show. Claims under Employers Compulsory Liability Insurance, Clinical Negligence and Public Liability Insurance are all down, with only road traffic claims showing an increase. And in the case of work-related illness and injury, and even death, less than 10% of workers receive any compensation! Far from a compensation culture, there is a laissez faire culture that allows employers to do pretty much what they want and workers hurt by this negligence are left to cope as best they can. (5)

“The report has a very shaky grasp of the enormous iceberg that is occupational ill-health which many experts agree is at an all time high, with stress and musculo-skeletal injuries at epidemic levels and very prevalent in offices and shops and other workplaces falsely labelled ‘non-hazardous’.

“Lord Young does not appear to have heeded any of the facts or evidence put before him by the TUC, trade unions or Families Against Corporate Killers, which went against the bunch of prejudices and tabloid myths he calls ‘common sense’. The report rarely lets the facts get in the way of a good tabloid scare story.

“The report is clearly an ideological, fact-free unevidenced attack on workers conditions and far from being about ‘Common Safety’ it aims to divide workers and dismantle the current universal protection for all workers’ health, safety and welfare. ‘Common sense’ doesn’t protect workers The real aim of this report and the governments plans are to cut health and safety protection to the bone and beyond, leave employers free to make workers ill, injure them and kill them with impunity.

The real shame will be the Con-Dem government using the excuse of reducing the deficit – caused by bankers exploiting the lack of regulation and enforcement – to push through deregulation and massive cuts in health and safety enforcement while falsely claiming ‘we’re all in it together.” For more information contact Hilda Palmer 0161 636 7557

Notes for Editors

1. We didn’t vote to die at work, Hazards magazine;

2. Who pays? You do, Hazards magazine

3. The UK Statistics Authority in their Report 42 on Assessments of compliance with Code of Practice for official statistics – Statistics on Health and Safety at Work (produced by the HSE) Published May 2010 Para 1.3.4: ‘Statistics on work-related injuries and fatalities exclude those injuries that take place on the roads, in the air, at sea and exclude the armed forces. Although this is clearly acknowledged on HSE’s website, it is not always made clear in the presentation of the statistics- for example, when addressing the organisation’s targets in the compendium for publication. HSE does not produce an overall figure for work-related fatalities in Great Britain.’

4. The Whole Story Safety and Health Practitioner December 2008:

5. The case for Health and Safety, TUC:

6. Compensation, Hazards magazine