24th National Hazards Conference
19-21st July 2013, University of Keele
Conference presentation notes:
Hugh Robertson, TUC Who’s on our side?
Robert Baughan, Unison Sickness absence
Kathy Jenkins, Scottish Hazards Campaign, Defend sick pay
Dr. Aida Ponce Del Castillo, ETUI Whither or wither Europe
John McClean, GMB Whither or wither Europe
Workshops and Sunday Meetings
Hilda Palmer, Hazards campaign Health and safety: In a sorry state of health?
Irwin Mitchell Access to justice, changes to Legal Aid and civil liability
Susan Murray, Unite Body Mapping
Helen Lynn, Alliance for cancer prevention, Developing the campaign to reduce Occupational and Environmental Cancer
John Crust, UCU, Fire risk assessment • Fire workshop handout
Ian Cole, Unison, Using social media
Julie Winn, GMB, Asbestos in schools,
Ian Draper, Work Stress Network, Excessive workload
YouTube clips of conference presentations
Louise Taggart for FACK
Omana George AMRC and ANROEV
Dave Smith Blacklist Support Group
Scott Donohoe, Unison Glasgow, Scottish Hazards
Professor Phil Taylor, University of Strathclyde
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, give opportunities to learn, exchange experience and information with delegates from a wide range of sectors and jobs.
The effects of the government’s attack on health & safety are now being felt in workplaces. Cameron continued rubbishing health and safety in January 2013 telling entrepreneurs of the need to cut health and safety rules that stop young people getting work experience. Just days later, a 16 year old apprentice was killed in an incident with a lathe at an engineering company, only weeks after starting work. Enforcement is in retreat and hiding. It’s almost impossible to contact the HSE, and proactive, preventive inspections by L.A.’s and HSE have been banned in falsely classed ‘low hazard/risk’ sectors which cover the majority of workplaces. New evidence shows proactive inspections not only save lives but save employers money too. But government continues the ideological destruction of the regulatory enforcement environment that workers won by collective action over generations, using the lie that it is a ‘burden on business’.
Some regulations already revoked, others under threat, and the review of Approved Codes of Practice threatens to downgrade them to mere guidance. RIDDOR changes have already removed 30,000 reports of work-related injury and illness, and other proposals would make almost all work-related illness vanish, by removing the employers’ duty to report them. Government acceptance of Dame Carol Black’s sickness absence recommendations continues the punitive approach and includes state funded assessment for employees who are off sick for more than 4 week, increasing insecurity and stress for sick workers. Attacks on union reps facility time, on access to justice via tribunals & legal aid, and proposals to remove civil liability for health and safety breaches, further reduce the right to compensation for work-related injury and illness.
Workers have not been consulted on how work injuries, death and sickness can be reduced, nor has any assessment been conducted of the full human and economic costs of cutting laws and enforcement intended to prevent this work-related harm. The real burden is on us, not on employers. As the benefits system declares the sick, disabled and terminally ill ‘fit for work’, forcing them to seek jobs that don’t exist, as pension age rises, and as work becomes more dangerous and unhealthy, paradoxically the need for union safety reps and good H&S at work increases. Come and learn more, discuss how we can defend safe workplaces, and build a campaign to stop them killing, maiming and making us sick to death.