Countering the attack on the safe workplace
CONFERENCE 2012 DOCUMENTS
Presentations and info from Hazards 2012, more to come
‘We Didn’t Vote to Die at Work’ Campaign – ‘Stop it: you’re killing us!’
Eurig Scandrett, Scottish Friends of Bhopal – Presentation
Louise Adamson from Families Against Corporate Killers (FACK) – Presentation • Notes • YouTube
Ivan Timson, UNITE Safety Rep, Becoming a Hazards campaigner Presentation • YouTube
Helen Lynn, Alliance for Cancer Prevention, gave Simon Pickvance’s speech as he is unwell. Presentation • YouTube • Notes
Tony Whitston, Chair of Asbestos Victims Support Group Forum Presentation • YouTube
John McClean, Director Health, Safety and Environment GMB
Nobby Styles Award of the Alan 2012 to Nobby Styles, Convenor UNITE NE 10/348 • Grimsby Telegraph • YouTube • Nomination form for 2013
Key note meetings
1) Lofstedt: Friend or Foe? Chair: Caroline Bedale, Speakers: Dave Whyte, Liverpool University/ IER and Hugh Robertson, TUC
2) Sickness is for wimps Chair: Kathy Jenkins, Scottish Hazards Speakers: John Bamford, Hazards Campaign and Robert Baughan, UNISON
3)The case for regulation and enforcement Chair: Ian Tasker, STUC, Speakers: Simon Hester, Chair of Prospect, HSE and Hilda Palmer, Hazards Campaign
All YouTube films by Philip Lewis of Camden UNISON)
Hazards Conference is the UK’s biggest educational and organising event for trade union safety reps and activists. A mixture of plenary sessions, debates, meetings and a comprehensive workshop programme. Exchange experience and information with delegates from a wide range of sectors and jobs.
The attack on health & safety regulation has continued into 2012. Lord Young was reinstated in 2011, his deregulatory brief re-confirmed. In November, Professor Lofstedt clearly upset his political masters by not quite being the hatchet-man they expected. He didn’t bow to their prejudices, and said that, by and large, the system of health & safety regulation is about right. He also made a positive reference to trade union safety reps, but no recommendation about their activities. The Government then announced their intention to extend the ‘Local Better Regulation Office’ (LBRO) scheme as part of a package of plans to transform front-line enforcement for
businesses. In this way they side-stepped the, for them, disappointingLofstedt report.
In summer 2011, the ‘Transforming Regulatory Enforcement’ consultation. asked businesses to say where reform of enforcement is needed. Responding in December the Government said it wanted business to become more like customers of the enforcement agencies, rather than just being subjected to the enforcement system. So law breakers as “customers” of the policing authority! They want to reduce enforcement and replace it with advice, and promote self-regulation and co-regulation, none of which offer any real protection against employer negligence or wilful disregard. Workers have not been consulted on what they believe would improve regulation.
Meanwhile, Dame Carol Black, appointed to review sickness absence, proposed removing GPs from the process of authorising long-term sickness absence after 4 weeks, and giving that function to a new ‘Independent Assessment Service’. She said that workers exploit the sick pay system, implying they are skivers, and that public sector workers are the worst, and encouraged the government to review public sector sick pay schemes. Such reviews invariably lead to worsening conditions of service.
In January Cameron described health and safety as “an albatross around the neck of British businesses” and pledged to make 2012 not just the year of the Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee, but also “the year we get a lot of this pointless time-wasting out of the British economy and British life once and for all”. He supported the anti-trade union group the (so-called) Trade Union Reform Campaign, and told parliament that paid time-off for union reps in the public sector was a disgraceful waste of public money and would be stopped.
So there’s a lot to find out, discuss and debate, and a lot to do to defend safe
workplaces and our union organisation. Come and learn what you can do.
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
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.
Our thanks to the 282 sponsors of Hazards 2009. Ever reliable support came from unions from branch to national levels, trades councils, Hazards campaigners and union-linked personal injury solicitors. Delegate numbers held up remarkably well given the economic climate.
Hazards 2009 opened with a meeting addressed by Sarangi Satinath, from the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal, the Indian city that was devastated by the world’s worst industrial incident in 1984. 42 tons of methyl isocyanate gas were released, which killed an estimated 10,000 people immediately, and has been responsible for some 25,000 deaths since. US company Union Carbide that owned the plant, whose disregard of safe working practices caused the incident, has never paid adequate compensation for their crime.
Hazards 2009 focused on supporting safety reps activities, and the need to ensure that employers are not using the recession as an excuse to relax workplace standards on health, safety & welfare. The conference also picked-up a strand from Dame Carol Black’s report; the need for workers to have good jobs that are safe and without risks to health.
Hank Roberts was awarded the 2009 ‘Alan’ for his campaigning work in schools and the community, and Solihull UCU Branch presented a cheque for £5,000 to the Hazards Campaign.
Nancy Lessin and Charley Richardson from workers’ education centres in the USA, and Hugh Robertson, HSE Board member, were keynote speakers in the opening plenary. They also contributed to debates on bullying; the creation of “good jobs”; and the importance of health & safety in the recession, supported by David Beale, employment studies lecturer at Manchester University and Hazards campaigners Simon Pickvance and Ian Draper.
Sunday morning meetings topics grouped together issues from the workshop programme, and reports from these meetings fed into the final plenary, where delegates discussed campaigning aims for the next year. A final report of the conference is on the Hazards Campaign website at www.hazardscampaign.org.uk .
Hazards 2010 is going back to Keele University in Staffordshire, the highly praised venue for the 2008 conference. We hope you will continue to be able to support Hazards. Please ask your organisation to consider this appeal positively.
Cheques should be made payable to Hazards 2010, and sent to: Hazards 2010, c/o GMHC, Windrush Millennium Centre, 70 Alexandra Road, Manchester, M16 7WD. Tel: 0161 636 7558. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
• Charley Richardson – Recession, Restructuring and Robber Barons pdf
• Nancy Lessin – Green up for grabs pdf PLUS Hazards magazine Green jobs, safe jobs
• Hugh Robertson – Health and safety in 2009 pdf
• Ten key points from the corporate killing meeting pdf
• Bullying debate – Ian Draper pdf • David Beale pdf
• Stress in the workplace – Info meeting pdf
• Hazards 2009 conference application form pdf
• Hazards 2009 sponsorship appeal Our thanks to the 289 sponsors of Hazards 2008. Ever reliable support came from unions at all levels, and Hazards campaigners and union-linked personal injury solicitors all contributed. Please ensure 2009 repeats this success by getting your branch to sponsor the conference pdf
• Unions and researchers work together to lift a ton of feathers: Gaining recognition for women’s OHS problems in Québec Karen Messing, UQAM – Powerpoint presentation • more
• Pete Kilbane speech, Keighley Worksafe Project pdf
• Asbestos in schools and government policies, Michael Lees pdf
• Presentation of the Alan troublemaker award YouTube
• Hazards 2008 Picasa photo gallery
• Dame Carol Black motion YouTube • motion and letter • News release, 24 July 2008