Tag Archives: Featured

ePostcard campaign: Tell Theresa May “Enough is enough”

To coincide with  the national Hazards Conference 2017 (28-30 July) the Hazards Campaign has launched an ePostcard Campaign to tell the Prime Minister that “Enough is enough.”

As the nation watched in horror as fire ripped through Grenfell Tower, questions about government culpability were being asked. The Conservatives have discarded critical fire, building, product, environmental and workplace safety protections and shackled and starved regulators. A government with a criminal disregard for human life has now been left with blood on its hands.

The Hazards Campaign warned the government repeatedly that its ideological obsession with cutting red tape is a deadly mistake. After the Grenfell disaster the Hazards Campaign says: “Enough is enough. Stop undermining the laws that protect us.”

Click here to send the Prime Minister the Enough is enough epostcard 

Printed copies of the postcard will be also made available at the 28-30 July Hazards 2017 conference – alternatively you can write to the Hazards Campaign

Background  Tower block inferno must mean an end to the Tory deregulation fetish, Hazards magazine, 138 July 2017

Hazards conference 2017 programme

Hazards 2017 Programme – Organising health, safety and welfare in an insecure world

Friday 28th July

13.00 – 19.30                      Delegates arrival and Registration

Choose and sign-up for ONE Saturday Campaign meeting at Registration  Listed here.

17.00 – 19.30                       Evening Meal

19.30 – 21.00                       Opening Plenary in Westminster Theatre

Chair:  Doug Russell, USDAW; opening remarks  Speakers: Janet Newsham, Hazards Campaign: Welcome and Conference arrangements; Jessica Martinez, Director National COSH, USA; Dan Shears, GMB; Tracey Seward, FACK;   Mick Lancaster GMB/FACK

Saturday 29th July

07.30 – 9.00                            Registration for later arrivals/non-residential delegates

07.00 – 08.45                          Breakfast

09.00 – 10.30                          First Workshop Session

10.30– 11.00                           Tea/Coffee Break

11.00 – 12.30                          Second Workshop Session

12.30 – 14.00                           Lunch

14.00 – 15.45                          Three Meetings

  1. Challenging the individual therapy view versus collective action to prevent work causing mental ill-health
    Chair:  Hugh Robertson, TUC; Speaker: Paul Maloney,  Psychologist,  author of ‘The Therapy Industry’
  2. Towards zero work-related cancer Chair: Kathy Jenkins, Scottish Hazards; Speakers:  Helen Lynn Alliance for Cancer Prevention;  Susan Murray UNITE
  3. Using new methods of organising on health and safety Chair: Janet Newsham, GM Hazards Centre; Speakers: Barry Faulkner, UNITE; Gareth Lane BFAWU;  Michael Newman, Leigh Day;  Bryan Simpson,  Better than Zero.

15.45 – 16.00                           Tea/Coffee Break

16.00 – 17.30                           Campaign Meetings   – Room allocation signs are displayed at Registration

19.00 – 20.30                             Dinner          

Sunday 30th July

07.30 – 09.15                          Breakfast

Clear rooms- bring cases to secure room in registration area

10.00 – 12.00                           Closing Plenary in Westminster theatre

Chair: Hazards Campaign:  ‘Enough is Enough: End deregulation now !

Speakers: Matt Wrack, General Secretary, FBU, Hazards Campaign; Others tbc;

12.00 – 13.30                          Packed Lunch – eat with us or take away & depart

Don’t forget to complete an evaluation form and leave it at registration.

27th to 29th July Hazards 2018 at Keele University

Leave a self-addressed envelope at registration to be kept informed.

And check on Hazards Campaign website: http://www.hazardscampaign.org.uk   #Haz2017


29 July Campaign Meetings 16.00 – 17.30

Choose ONE and then Sign up at Registration

  1. Internnal solidarity to combat attacks on workers; lives and health

Main health and safety  problems facing workers worldwide including Brexit, CETA and the alphabet soup of other toxic ‘free trade;’ treaties Developing Global Occupational Safety and Health Networks GOSH to fight back.

Chair: Kathy Jenkins, Scottish Hazards; Speakers: Jessica Martinez, USA National COSH

  1. Campaigning against Asbestos in schools, in all workplaces, in UK and globally

Update on campaigning locally, nationally and globally to get asbestos banned globally, to get asbestos removed from schools and other workplaces and for better treatment and compensation for sufferers.

Chair:  Philip Lewis LASAG and LHC; Speakers Sarah Lyons, Joint Union Asbestos Committee   (JUAC)/NUT; Harminder Bains, Leigh Day Solicitors; Graham Dring, Chair of Asbestos Victims            Support             Groups

  1. Update on the legal state of health and safety

Recent legal changes to legal aid, tribunals, personal injury/ work-death, stress cases, TU Bill, and their implications for workers and union safety reps.

Chair: tbc; Speakers: Satinder Bains and Keith Cundall, Irwin Mitchell

  1. Dogs can be dangerous

Raising awareness of  the hazards of dogs to workers who call or enter a premises, the preventative measures developed jointly CWU and Royal Mail to reduce the risk – prevent serious injuries or death. What union safety reps can do in discussions with their employers to improve policies or improve them to protect workers.

Chair: Lynsey Mann, GMB:  Speakers Andrew Hickerman and Tony Pedal, CWU

  1. Work-Related Death, supporting families and fighting back

What FACK does in supporting families after a work-death and advocating for them through the      investigation, inquest and any prosecutions.  Using our stories in campaigning and how supporting solicitors        provide essential legal representation to ensure equality of arms at Inquests.  Issues arising from Grenfell.

Chair: Hilda Palmer, FACK, Speakers: Tracey Seward, Michael Lancaster FACK members; Helen Clifford, McMillan Williams Solicitors. Families Against Corporate Killers , FACK, is supported by TU donations and sponsorship from Irwin Mitchell and McMillan Williams solicitors.

  1. Whatever happened to welfare ?

Welfare at work – it’s the poor relation to Health and Safety these days.  What happened to the lunch hour?  Has your tea-break been sold?  Do you eat lunch at your desk these days – where did staff common rooms or canteens go? Share our experience of reduced welfare facilities at work.  What else should we demand from employers? Let’s make improved welfare provision a workplace campaign this year.

Chair Janet Newsham; Speaker John Bamford, GM Hazards Centre

  1. Air pollution as a Workplace issue

Air pollution is a public health emergency and is linked to at least 40,000 deaths on the UK each year.  It is a workplace issue taken up by the Greener Jobs Alliance, UCU and Hazards Campaign. What can we do about it as union safety reps?

Chair Caroline Bedale; Speaker Adam Lincoln, UCU Health, Safety and Sustainability Advisor

 

Hazards Campaign open letter to Commander Stuart Cundy in charge of the Grenfell fire investigation

Metropolitan Police Headquarters, New Scotland Yard,  8-10 Broadway, London, SW1H 0BG.

Hazards Campaign open letter to Commander Stuart Cundy in charge of the Grenfell fire investigation

Dear Commander Cundy,

The police investigation must investigate the Prime Ministers and ministers whose behaviour, actions and wilful disregard of warnings about the deadly consequences of their deregulation fetish that lead to decisions which caused the Grenfell fire.

We are pleased to hear you confirm that the starting point for your investigation into the Grenfell Tower investigation is ‘80 deaths by manslaughter.’  It is clear now that the overall model of regulation and enforcement of fire safety in buildings lies within a wider political context of government deregulatory initiatives that have undermined criminal health and safety law over a long period, and specifically accelerated since 2010.  Therefore we seek assurance that your investigation will look not only at all those individuals, companies and organisations directly involved in Grenfell Tower, but will examine the wider and crucial role of the ministers and their advisers on the deregulation of all types of health and safety law, enforcement and scrutiny, which form the environment in which the decisions that led to the Grenfell disaster took place.  This is a disaster which was foretold, that should never have happened and would not have done if the regulation and enforcement framework had been properly functioning to protect lives rather than serve business interests first.

Your investigation must seek to establish responsibility and culpability for this terrible tragedy that has taken many lives and damaged many more.  It seems clear that Prime Ministers’ setting deregulatory agendas in their manifestos, their speeches and their government programmes, plus Ministers carrying out those programmes, plus those specifically responsible for Housing and Fire Safety must be interviewed under caution.  Ministers who promised but failed to review the Building Regulations after the Laknal fire and failed to act after repeated warnings of potential disaster from fire experts and many letters from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Fire Safety and Rescue,  about the use of materials in high rise buildings without adequate safe guards in all aspects of their use, from specification, to installation to subsequent building, fire approvals and inspections, must be investigated.

We specifically seek assurance that this would include interviewing under caution ex Prime Minster David Cameron who repeatedly and vociferously ‘waged war’ on health and safety as ‘a monster’, ‘an albatross’, a ‘burden on business’ and which he vowed in his new year’s resolution of 2012 to ‘Kill off health and safety culture for good’   David Cameron set the ‘lite-touch’ political context in which regulations were viewed and policed.  Slashing the Health and Safety Executive, HSE, budget by a massive 33% in 2011 set the tone for the neutering of official policing of safety standards by the coalition government  . He established a programme of biased health and safety reviews, ‘Red Tape’ cuts, scrapping laws and dumbing down of guidance, plus slashing the budgets,  and restricting the enforcement activities of the HSE and the Local Authorities, while establishing business-oriented committees, advisory groups and programmes under the ‘Better Regulation’ agenda.

Others who must be interviewed under caution should include Prime Minister Theresa May who reaffirmed this deregulatory policy in 2016 and 2017, as ‘Cutting Red Tape’. and all ministers responsible for decisions on cutting health and safety in favour of reducing burdens on business, including, but not exclusively, ministers at the DWP, the DCLG, and those responsible for the Red Tape Challenge since 2010, those in charge of negotiating Brexit, plus any others who have made government sanctioned attacks on health and safety regulation and enforcement.  Of particular note is Oliver Letwin chairing a meeting under Brexit and the Red Tape Challenge on the deregulation of health and safety law for construction materials on the very day of the Grenfell Fire.

You are reported as stating that the criminal investigation would bring whoever is to blame to justice: “You can’t listen to the accounts of the survivors, the families, and those that lost loved ones, and listen to the 999 calls, like our investigation has done, and not want to hold people to account for a fire that should not have happened.”  We are pleased to hear this and insist that to honour this commitment, and to prevent other disasters, requires investigating and holding to account all those responsible for creating the deregulated health and safety environment including David Cameron and Theresa May and their ministers that have championed this model of corporate and governmental institutional neglect.

We will be pleased to provide more information on health and safety deregulation to your investigation team

Yours sincerely

Hilda Palmer, Acting Chair Hazards Campaign

FACK Statement on the suicide of George Cheese

FACK Statement on the suicide of George Arthur Cheese, apprentice at Audi Dealership, Reading

The Coroner Peter Bedford has concluded that Audi Reading management were not responsible for the death of apprentice George Cheese. 1

Stressing that there were other factors in play, Peter Bedford said he understood Cheese’s parents’ desire to blame the Audi dealership, but added that steps taken by the management following his death had succeeded in improving conditions there.

Families Against Corporate Killers has taken up this case as it highlights yet again the completely inadequate way in which work-related suicides are handled by the criminal justice system, and especially those relating to bullying of young people.  We were not present at the Inquest and did not hear the evidence the Coroner took into account in making his conclusion.   But whatever other factors were ‘in play’ in his death, the appalling bullying George suffered at work, as reported at the Inquest, must be addressed and those responsible held to account.  This verdict only lets employers off the hook.

We are concerned that there does not seem to have been an investigation under the Joint Protocol on Work-Related Death;  there may be no-one held to account for the bullying George suffered at his workplace, which as  reported at the Inquest was known about and allowed to continue by management.  We do not feel that steps taken by his employer after George took his own life in any way absolve them of their actions.  The catalogue of bullying abuse George faced is heartbreaking and includes:

“His parents said George  “over the moon” when he got the position at the Audi dealership, but he soon  started coming home covered in bruises and had holes burned into his clothes

“George Cheese’s coworkers at the Reading garage locked him in a cage, doused him in brake fluid and set his clothes set on fire.

“The court heard of one occasion when four men held him down while a fifth punched his leg, leaving him with a long-lasting limp.

 “Much of the abuse was dismissed as “banter” and “horseplay” by his then colleagues.

“After the police returned his belongings, his mother found 14 diary entries saved in the calendar app on his iPad, describing traumatic events from his workplace. One said: “My boss told me to hurry up and hang myself because I’m a useless piece of shit.”

“Cheese referred to a “PC” in his diary entries, writing: “PC tied me up, pressure-washed me. Thought it was hilarious. I couldn’t stand up afterwards. He called me a pussy and I had to walk home soaking wet.”

Another entry said “PC” had approached Cheese after his parents complained to the company and called him “a pussy who went telling tales to mummy”.

Work-Related suicides are on the rise and we estimate account for at least 300 deaths per year. 2 The HSE excludes suicides from being reported under the Reporting of injuries, death and dangerous  Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) 3  and they are not properly investigated under the Joint Protocol on Work Related Death 4.

Consequently the employers and managers who play a role in the bullying or other work conditions that lead to a death by suicide are not held to account, and there are rarely any prosecutions for the work-related actions such as bullying, or long hours, excessive workloads, low pay and insecurity, all of which are reported to drive workers to take their own lives.

The Inquest is not a place to determine or ascribe blame, but to ascertain who died, when, where and how.  It is the authority responsible for enforcing health and safety in the workplace – the HSE or Local Authority in this case- and the police under the Joint Protocol for Work Related Death which should investigate, hold employers to account, take enforcement action to ensure future compliance,  and if there is sufficient evidence take prosecutions for breaches in the law.

Work-related suicides are not counted by the HSE, therefore do not count and are not taken seriously. Even when there is a blatant link with work, such as taking of a life in a workplace and letters specific work causes.  5

In a similar case to that of George Cheese, in Manchester in 2003 , 18 year old Hannah Kirkham took an overdose and died because she was being bullied at KFC.  Unlike in George’s case, the effect of the bullying was accepted as a major cause of her death.  At the Inquest in 2005,  the jury delivered a narrative verdict saying ‘she meant to kill herself by taking an overdose, was clinically depressed and this was “significantly influenced” by bullying at work. 6

However, as in George’s case, the Coroner ( Simon Nelson) , also noted favourably the employers’ action after her death: ‘KFC’s reaction to this inquiry in my view was appropriate, sensitive and proactive.”  He added he hoped anti-bullying policies made by the firm would prevent “similar tragic incidents”.

In both George’s and Hannah’s case, management were aware of, or shamefully, participated in totally unacceptable behaviour towards a vulnerable young colleague yet are not held accountable for the tragic outcome. In both cases the Coroners referred approvingly to action taken after the death.

‘Lessons have been learned’ are often the cruellest words a family can hear after someone they love has been killed by an employer’s negligence.  While everyone wants to ensure no-one else dies, it is surely only to be expected that improvements will be made? That an employee’s death would be a ‘wake up call’ for a negligent employer ?  But changes put in place afterwards, which should by law have been there before to stop the person dying, are cold comfort and should not be used to absolve the employers’ failures or show them in a better light.  It is not sufficient for justice that future deaths are prevented if employers are allowed to get away with the actions that contribute to a worker taking their life.

FACK are looking into work-related suicides generally and George Cheese’s death in particular.  We feel that work related suicides cannot be left to Inquests alone as they cannot hold employers to account for actions they have taken, or failed to take, that contribute to the suicide.  We are calling for

  • The HSE to change their policy and make it a duty under the Reporting of Injuries Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) – http://www.hse.gov.uk/riddor/reportable-incidents.htm for employers to report suicide of employees when there is any suspicion  it might be work-related.
  • Ensure that all signatories to the Join Protocol on Work-Related Death – http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/wrdp1.pdf-  investigate suicides for work-related issues.
  • The Local Authority with responsibility for enforcing health and safety legislation in George’s workplace to take action to ensure the employers are held to account for the failings that allowed George to be bullied and contributed to his death, and to take enforcement action to ensure future compliance.

Notes:

  1. https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/may/25/george-cheese-bullied-mechanic-killed-himself-audi-garage-not-to-blame-coroner
  2. The Whole Story”: http://www.gmhazards.org.uk/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Hazards-Campaign-challenging-the-HSE-statistics.pdf
  3. RIDDOR:  http://www.hse.gov.uk/riddor/reportable-incidents.htm;
  4. Joint Protocol on Work-Related Death: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/wrdp1.pdf
  5. The Last Goodbye http://www.hazards.org/suicide/suicidalwork.htm

Inquest into Hannah Kirkham’s death: . http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/manchester/4508022.stm

PM’s speech on mental health ‘woefully inadequate’

Hazards Campaign comment on Prime Minster Theresa May’s  announcement of a  package of measures covering mental health support in our schools, workplaces and communities. 10 January 2017

Whilst the Hazards Campaign welcomes the discussion about how to help workers suffering from mental ill-health, Theresa May’s speech  is woefully inadequate, full of empty words and it comes at a time when the Government is under considerable pressure because of the crisis in the NHS,  yet she  offers no new resources to handle the extra demands of her proposals.

The NHS  crisis is based on political dogma of privatisation.   A crisis which has seen children being sent hundreds of miles to find suitable mental health support.  A crisis which has seen people waiting for days in general hospital beds whilst mental health beds and the support they desperately need, become available. This is being rolled out also at a time when there are funding cuts for our schools, a time when our teachers continue to be over worked,  and there are excessive pressures on our children from continuous testing.  Their mental health will not be improved unless all this is tackled and not by placing new demands on them.

The PM talks about a ‘shared society based on the values of citizenship, responsibility and fairness’ when in reality our society is more divided and unequal than it has ever been in recent history.

“Mental health first aid is like putting a sticking plaster over the festering sore.  The injury needs to be prevented.”

The welfare system is broken and people are taking their own lives rather than face the misery of unbearably stressful work, poverty, debt and homelessness.  Nowhere in the speech does the PM address this. Nowhere does she mention trade unions or safety reps who are in the front-line dealing with the mental health epidemic caused by government and employers actions.

We do not need another report, what we need is urgent action.  Action which forces employers to ensure that their employees’ mental health is not made worse by their workplaces.  That they are not having to do the same workload with fewer workers, or increased work on fewer hours.  That at the end of their 12 hour shifts they are not ill from fatigue.  That their employment is not based on a series of zero hours contracts  leaving them unable to challenge injustices and unfairness or unsafe working conditions.

This is not just in precarious employment, not just in casual employment, but applies to workers in government departments, in universities, in colleges, who are all working in unacceptably stressful jobs because of the excessive demands made on them, the insecurity of their work, and often the low wages do not cover the bills.

Mental health first aid is like putting a sticking plaster over the festering sore.  The injury needs to be prevented.

As there is so little done to help people with mental health problems at work at the moment, it would be hard to reject any real action to tackle this. We welcome the focus on the huge and growing epidemic of work-related stress illnesses and the way in which stress and mental ill-health have become endemic in most workplaces.   However as a proposal  ‘to transform mental health support’ this falls way short.

Government policies fostering inequality, injustice at work, lack of access to justice for resolutions, a culture that blames those who are ill and sick as shirkers and malingers, in-work poverty from low wages that do not pay the bills creating debt and  insecurity exacerbated by zero hours and other insecure contracts, and the endlessly increasing pressures upon workers are all major causes of mental ill-health at work.  There is no clear acknowledgement  that these and the way work is organised, is making so many workers mentally ill.

Tackling the work factors that cause stress is essential to ‘drive work with business and the public sector to support mental health in the workplace’. Much of the proposal focuses on individuals  already suffering and we welcome the promise to provide more help and support and to ‘review recommendations around discrimination in the workplace on the grounds of mental health’.

However, Government policies and workplace practices are driving this huge epidemic of work related depression, anxiety and other mental ill-health.

If Theresa May’s speech is not to just become a speech which at best mentions mental illness and at worst it is a deflection from the current NHS crisis, then we need mental health support to be treated more seriously, with more resources, achievable targets, support for trade union safety reps and for all actions by employers which make people ill, to be dealt with more severely.

Hard Labour: Shadow chancellor John McDonnell to act on workplace health and safety

John McDonnell says the Health and Safety Executive’s regulatory mission has been compromised by its new profit motive. Brexit threatens worse to come. But the shadow chancellor says your protection is a ‘red line’ issue for Labour – and that means delivering a strong safety regime underpinned by restored trade union rights.

Quoted in Hazards magazine, he said “the whole basis of health and safety protection in this country is bound up with the development of the trade unions and health and safety advances are bound up with the trade union movement and the organisation, representation and pressure they can bring to bear, on employers and government.

“Health and safety advances go hand in hand with trade union advances. We cannot establish an effective health and safety regime in this country unless we restore trade union rights as well.”

Read the full story in Hazards magazine.

Send the PM a message

To mark the start of the Hazards Conference 2016 the Hazards Campaign is inviting you to join the postcard campaign to remind the new Prime Minister Theresa May that the effective regulation and strict enforcement of safety laws saves lives.

postcardrearThousands of postcards have been produced and will be freely available at the conference. Additionally an electronic postcard mailing tool has been developed so you can lobby the PM electronically.

The text of the card is as follows:

Dear Prime Minister,

We warmly welcome your determination to tackle inequalities across society.

One of the most damaging inequalities is in occupational health and safety, which contributes greatly to the mortality and morbidity gulf between rich and poor.

Effective regulation and strict enforcement of safety laws saves lives. Please do not neglect them.

Use Brexit to improve not erode health and safety protection for all workers.

Yours sincerely

Confirmed: Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell will speak at the Hazards 2016 conference

Labour’s Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell MP will speak at the final plenary session of the Hazards conference 2016 ,  the largest health and safety conference for safety reps in UK, run by Hazards Campaign, 29-31 July. He says:

“After a long term decline I am very worried that workplace deaths and diseases are on the rise again. Workers deserve the protection of strong employment rights, trade union rights and a safety watchdog that is up to the job.

“Six years of Conservative-led government have allowed rogue bosses to exploit an increasingly insecure and abused workforce. Labour will protect people at work, rather than create a world where the likes of Sir Philip Green and Mike Ashley can get away with whatever they want.

“Working people earn this country’s wealth and run our public services; these are essential tasks for which no-one should pay with their life.”

More details on the Hazards 2016 conference

Hazards 2016 conference programme announced

Hazards 2016 – 29-31 July, University of Keele
‘Building the Hazards Resistance to support Safety Reps’
Tweet #Haz2016

The Hazards 2016 conference programme has been announced listing plenaries, workshops and campaigns including times and themes.

There are 6 campaign meetings, see below, please choose one sign up at registration.

Download all the details here.

Campaign meetings

1.UNITE-  Sports Direct the horrors and the fight back – Chair tbc:   Speaker: Barry Faulkner, UNITE

  1. International solidarity- Chair: Kathy Jenkins, Scottish Hazards; Speakers : Omana George AMRC ; Sanjiv Pandita GOSH.
  1. Asbestos update– Chair: Philip Lewis, London……. Speakers Joint Union Asbestos Committee (JUAC) Asbestos in Schools (AiS), Leigh Day & Co
  1. Update on legal state of H&S –Speakers: Stephen Nye and Satinder Bains, Irwin Mitchell
  1. TTIP, CETA and the alphabet soup of other toxic ‘free trade;’ treaties, their effects on workers H&S and how to stop them- Hilda Palmer, GMHC/Hazards Campaign +tbc
  1. Better than Zero- the campaign against zero hours and insecure contracts, low pay, poor health and safety – plus the BFAWU Justice for Fast Food Workers campaign for £10 per hour as low pay makes workers physically and mentally ill. Chair:  Janet Newsham GMHC, Speakers: Sarah Wiktorski, Better than Zero, + Ian Hodson,  BFAWU

Hazards 2017

28th to 30th July 2017 at Keele University

For details of the Hazards 2017 conference please hand in a self-addressed envelope at the registration desk of this year’s conference.  

 

Workers die when government says work safety isn’t important

Hazards Campaign News release
Workers die when government says work safety isn’t important

It’s dead wrong. Kill TU Bill not the Workers.

The Hazards Campaign is marching on Sunday 4th October because of fears we will not survive another 5 years of Tory attacks on workers lives and health. Hilda Palmer, Hazards Campaign says: “Workers die when government says work safety isn’t important. It’s dead wrong. We won’t take work deaths lying down. None of us voted to die at work,so stop your wrong headed attack on workers safety. (1) We are sending a postcard to David Cameron at the Tory Party Conference:

postcard

‘Dear PM, Your policies on health and safety, trade union and employment rights are dangerous for workers and damaging to our economy. We urge you to abandon this vindictive and potentially deadly assault on basic human rights, yours faithfully, Hazards Campaign.’”

Hilda Palmer explains: “We are worried because in just one term the Conservatives have; abandoned routine safety inspections; slashed the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) budget by nearly 44 per cent; pimped out HSE to commercial interests; killed off the HSE medical division; stacked the HSE board with industry stooges; pulled the teeth of gangmasters’ watchdog; priced sick and injured workers out of compensation claims; made employment tribunals pay per go; removed key legal protections; told business that health and safety is a burden that shouldn’t concern them.

“What more harm will they cause in another 5 years? Immediately on re-election they introduced the TU Bill which will harm workers’ ability to protect their health and safety at work, will also cost employers and the economy, and may lead to more worker deaths and ill health.Marching with us today are families of those killed by employers’negligence, which is likely to get worse if the TU Bill is passed.” (2)

Joanne Hill, mother of 16 year old Cameron Minshull, killed by grossly negligent employer in Bury while on a government funded apprenticeship in 2013 says:

“Cameron should have been safe at work, the government should have been checking the employer was fit to have an apprentice like Cameron, but he wasn’t, it was a death trap. We will never see Cameron again and I hold his employer and the government to blame. Only days before Cameron was killed, David Cameron was telling business leaders that health and safety regulations to protect young people were silly and unnecessary and should be scrapped. I am very worried that other young people are at risk on apprenticeships and will die or be injured. I want David Cameron to meet me and discuss what needs to be done to keep our sons and daughters safe at work. He has children too, surely he will understand and not want to make it easier for people like Cameron’s employer to hurt and kill our children?” (3)

Tracey Seward says:“Our 4 year old daughter Daisy can’t see her dad anymore, she can only water the flowers on his grave as he was killed at work earlier this year. That shouldn’t happen to anyone’s child, to be left without their dad just because he went to work to earn a living to look after us. We are devastated at his death.”

Hilda Palmer added:“Will we survive another 5 years of Tory attacks on the laws and enforcement meant to keep workers safe and healthy at work? 28.2 million working days are lost to injuries and illness caused by work. Union safety reps make workplaces twice as safe by working with employers to prevent injuries and illness, but the TU Bill threatens to stop them having time and resources to carry out their life-saving work. Safety reps not only save workers lives and health they also save employers’ money and the economy too! Less than 0.8 million days are lost to strikes which this Bill aims to make harder, compared to 28.2 million days lost due to injuries and illness caused by poorly managed health and safety. That shows that the TU Bill is wrong-headed, vindictive and potentially deadly and it must be stopped. No-one should die simply for going to work to earn a living.” (1)

Hazards Campaign says to David Cameron “Workers die when government says work safety isn’t important. It’s dead wrong. We won’t take work deaths lying down. None of us voted to die at work, so stop deregulating, stop slashing enforcement and adopt a positive programme for good workplace safety that is good for workers and their families, good for business, good for the economy, good for all! Kill the Bill not the Workers.”(4).

For more information: Hilda Palmer Tel: 0161 636 7557 Mobile: 079298 00240

Note to editors

  1. Hazards magazine Unions challenge wrong-headed government attack that could cost lives
    TUC Government threat to safety reps – get the message out there!
  2. Hazards magazine Will we survive another 5 years?
  3. Hazards magazine Workers die when government says work safety isn’t important. It’s dead wrong
    Hazards magazine Cameron Killed
  4. Hazards Campaign plan Step up and act up for health and safety

Hazards Campaign
c/o Greater Manchester Hazards Centre
Windrush Millennium Centre
70 Alexandra Road
Manchester
M16 7WD
Tel 0161 636 7557
Fax 0161 6367556
Email mail@gmhazards.org.uk