Category Archives: Action

News release: Hazards Campaign demands action to save workers’ lives

Press statement for immediate release, 3 April 2020

Hazards Campaign demands action to save workers’ lives

The Hazards Campaign has written to MPs and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) calling for the HSE to close down organisations which continue to place profits before people by exposing workers to unacceptable risks.

Workers are being forced to face foreseeable and preventable risk of exposure to Covid-19 at work and it is the HSE’s duty to intervene to protect them, when employers are breaching their legal health and safety duties to prevent those risks.

The Government’s contradictory policy on preventing transmission and spread of Covid-19 at work is causing deaths and is nothing less than ‘social murder’.

The Government states ‘stay at home; if you go out, stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people at all times; wash your hands as soon as you get home; do not meet others, even friends or family; you can spread the virus even if you don’t have symptoms’ and at the same time say ‘only go outside for food, health reasons or work (but only if you cannot work from home)’   (https:www.gov.uk/coronavirus)  The Government is keeping non-essential businesses open. This leaves workers being forced to go out to work,  in conditions which place them in close contact with other workers, without the handwashing and cleaning hygiene precautions stated in Public Health Guidance  and exposed to this deadly virus.  Covid-19 is killing people of all ages, many of whom were previously healthy as well as those with underlying health risks.

As workers who develop Covid-19 will die at home or in hospital, there is a need to ensure their deaths are recorded at work, reported to HSE, Local Authorities under RIDDOR, and investigated later for work-related causes. This is essential information for future assessment of the effectiveness of workplace and government strategies on protecting workers and reducing Covid-19 transmission at work and will be essential in preventing deaths in future pandemics.

In addition, the HSE and Local Authority inspectors must be available to be contacted by concerned workers being threatened or forced to work in dangerous conditions, to be able to report negligent employers.

Janet Newsham, Chair of Hazards Campaign said:

These workers have to travel to work on public transport further exposing themselves and other more essential critical workers to contracting the virus.  Essential workplaces need to keep running for safety reasons or because they are producing critically needed equipment or supporting critical services.   The health of these essential workers, including health care workers, must be protected while commuting to and from work but their ability to maintain safe, physical distance is made impossible by the many non-essential workers also commuting.

“Workers themselves are having to force employers to ‘do the right thing’ when it should be the Government and its health and safety enforcement agencies, taking the lead.  The HSE must make clear unambiguous statements, that if employers in non-essential work cannot maintain conditions to meet public health guidance, then the workplace is unsafe and demand and follow that up with enforcement action to halt production, until the spread of the virus has been controlled.  Government must provide a decent living wage for all workers in this situation.

“The Hazards Campaign also demand that, unless PPE is available at the correct standard, essential critical workers should limit their interventions to the protective level of their PPE, so that these workers are not exposed to the virus.  In Spain there has been an estimated 14% of health workers diagnosed with the virus.  (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-spain-cases/health-workers-make-up-nearly-14-of-spains-coronavirus-cases-idUSKBN21B1MF)  We must not run an underfunded, under-resourced health service with ‘expendable workers’.  We need every health care worker to survive to help increase the chance of survival of all citizens.”

She added:

“We are witnessing Government reducing PPE standards to meet the levels of PPE available and NOT producing quickly the safest levels of PPE to protect all workers.  Critical health workers need and deserve the best standards and no compromise.  In the UK we still have some of the most advanced manufacturing facilities, we have the expertise and capability to produce all the PPE and equipment we need and we demand that the Government steps up its efforts to provide what is necessary. 

“The HSE’s mission is ‘to prevent death, injury and ill-health in Great Britain’s workplaces – by becoming part of the solution’.  (https://www.hse.gov.uk/aboutus/insidehse.htm ) Hazards Campaign demand that the HSE does just that – it’s duty – to enforce employers legal duty to prevent illness, injury and death at work!”

Further information, press only
Contact: Janet Newsham
Email: janet@gmhazards.org.uk
Tel: 07734317158
Notes for Editors
Further information

The Hazards Campaign is a UK-wide network of resource centres and campaigners. The Hazards Campaign supports those organising and campaigning for justice and safety at work.

Contact

The Hazards Campaign
c/o Greater Manchester Hazards Centre
Windrush Millennium Centre
70 Alexandra Road
Manchester,
M16 7WD
ENGLAND
websitetwitter @hazardscampaign • facebook

Hazards Campaign calls for urgent cut to killer silica dust limit

The national Hazards Campaign is urging the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to halve the workplace exposure limit for silica dust, a move it says will save 4,000 lives a year.

The campaign’s call came in response to a new ‘Choked’ report from Hazards magazine. This presents evidence for cutting the current legal limit of 0.1 mg/m3 for respirable crystalline silica to no more than 0.05 mg/m3, a move the report says would dramatically reduce the incidence of the lung scarring occupational disease silicosis, lung cancer, autoimmune diseases and other silica-related conditions.

Hazards reviewed the international scientific literature and internal HSE documents to calculate the annual excess silica-related death toll resulting from HSE’s repeat refusal to switch to and enforce the tighter standard, instead sticking with a level it admits comes with “significant risks”.

The report reveals that HSE’s own internal reports estimate the silicosis risk for workers is six times higher at the current HSE limit of 0.1 mg/m3, calculated at 30 cases per 100 workers exposed compared to just five per 100 at the tighter 0.05 mg/m3 standard. The United States and a number of other jurisdictions already work to the safer standard.

The Hazards Campaign is asking supporters to send an online postcard to Sarah Albon, the new chief executive of the HSE. Over 600,000 workers in the UK are regularly exposed to silica at work which is created when cutting, grinding drilling or polishing, natural substances such as rocks and sand and is a major constituent in bricks, tiles and concrete and materials. At least one-in-five workers in these jobs – and in some like stonemasonry and construction, possibly half – are exposed at or above the current deadly UK limit.

Choked! The evidence for introducing a lifesaving new silica dust exposure limit, Hazards, Number 147, September 2019.
ACTION: Send an e-postcard to HSE demanding it introduce a more protective silica standard no higher than 0.05mg/m³ and with a phased move to 0.025mg/m³.

Tories Out march, Sunday 1st October, Manchester: Hazards Campaign bloc and banner

Join the  Hazards Campaign in Manchester on Sunday 1st October where we will be marching behind our new banner at the Tories Out march at the Tory Party Conference in Manchester.

Join us to tell the Government : “We love red tape – it’s better than bloody bandages”

We  invite you to join us and to dress up in bloodied (fake blood or similar) bandages – there should be lots of Halloween costumes available in the shops if you don’t feel creative).

If you are lucky you may even get a  photo with Janet in her bandages… for the price of a postcard!

We are organising a table for the beginning of the march to encourage people to sign postcards – telling the Government : “We love red tape it’s better than bloody bandages” and “enough is enough.”

Meeting place  If possible we will our table up near to the Museum of Science and Industry end of Liverpool Road. If we can’t do that please ring one of the numbers below and keep an eye on @hazardscampaign and @jnewsham

Order of the day  We aim to set up our table  at about 10.00.  Speeches start at 11.30 at Castlefield Arena. The demo forms up on Liverpool Rd at 13.30  leaving at 14.00 with closing speeches at Piccadilly Gardens at 15.45 – 16.30.

Best wishes,

Janet Newsham – Hazards Campaign/GMHC

Janet Newsham 07734 317158
Hilda Palmer 07929 800240

ACTION : #TUC17 congress debate on regulation and safety this afternoon

Hazards Campaigners,

There is a  debate on Regulation and safety at #TUC17 this afternoon (Monday 11th) that supports  our message. It’s an excellent  opportunity to get more Enough is Enough ecards sent to PM and increase the pressure.

Please tweet and retweet this afternoon (Monday 11th) around 2pm onwards using the #tuc17 and retweet  @hazardscampaign   @jnewsham

Sample Tweets:

Paste and copy and tweet:

#TUC17 Regulation & Safety:  Hazards Campaign calls for an end to deregulation & undermining of health & safety http://www.hazardscampaign.org.uk/postcard

#TUC17 Support Regulation & Safety debate: Send a Hazards Campaign Enough is enough ecard http://www.hazardscampaign.org.uk/postcard

#TUC17 Deregulation is deadly, at Grenfell, at work, everywhere.  Enough is enough, stop deregulation http://www.hazardscampaign.org.uk/postcard

Or make up your own and add #tuc17 and the link http://www.hazardscampaign.org.uk/postcard 

THANK YOU

Hilda and Janet