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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:


‘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
M16 7WD
Tel 0161 636 7557
Fax 0161 6367556
Email mail@gmhazards.org.uk

Our alternative to Tories’ deadly safety plan

The Hazards Campaign has published a plan for the first 100 days of the new government  It’s time to step up and act up for health and safety.

Hilda Palmer, Hazards Campaign spokesperson said: “Work is getting more unhealthy and workers and the country are paying a very heavy price for work-related illness, injury and death. Workers won’t vote to die at work so the Hazards Campaign wants to know from all political parties:  ‘Hey! Whotcha gonna do?’  On May 8th the new government could immediately start to make workplaces healthier, safer and better for all if it adopted our plan. So who is going to adopt it? Workers  won’t vote to die at work.

“Business as usual for the next 5 years is not an option for workers lives and health. Work shouldn’t hurt and it certainly shouldn’t kill, but in 2015 it still does (2). Over the last five years some have seen work become hell, for most it has become more unhealthy, and for many it is deadly due to the great deregulation lie causing a retreat from the law, enforcement, prevention and protection.  Damaging workers’ health and lives is an unacceptable price to pay and it also costs taxpayers and the economy between £30 and 60 billion a year.  Employers’ criminal non-compliance with health and safety law is a tax on us all.

“On day one the new government could begin preventing this harm and start the move to making work better by implementing our plan and returning to evidence-based policies.  We set out ten steps for government and three for workers and unions safety reps.

“First of all the new government must bury the ‘burdens on business’ lie, be explicit that the mismanagement that hurts the workforce also hurts the economy. It must put a stop to the erosion of health and safety laws, and instigate a programme of inspections to protect workers from unscrupulous employers and keep workers healthy.

“The HSE needs to get real and step up and act up as it currently fails to act on almost all of the ill-health issues caused by modern work. HSE has taken no prosecutions on stress, the single biggest cause of work-related ill-health, and is not clamping down on cancer risks or removing toxins from work.   Our plan says the main aim of the HSE should be the protection of workers not the profits or the interests of those who would harm them. The HSE’s aim should be to make work better and to stand up to government when it’s wrong.

“HSE must get the count right by counting all workers killed at, and by, work, including suicides, road, air and sea deaths; all work-cancers, heart attacks, strokes and fatal lung disease deaths. Acting to protect workers and safety reps in badly managed workplaces means giving them more enforceable rights, and then enforcing them.

“Government policies over the past 5 years based on ideology not evidence have thrown workers to the wolves of a deregulated, unenforced marketplace. Vulnerable migrant, temporary and low paid workers have suffered the most, are at most risk and least protected (3) so the new government must reinstate the powers of the Gangmasters Licensing Authority and extend its remit to all sectors where temporary workers are exploited.

“The iceberg of workplace harm is work-related ill-health.  Our plan calls for sorting this out by creating worker-oriented occupational health services within the NHS focusing on prevention, support for sick and injured workers, treatment and rehabilitation. This will replace punitive sickness absence management and government hounding by outsourced ‘Welfare’ and  ‘Fit for Work’ agencies which focus only on forcing the sick and injured back to work, recovered or not.

“Our plan also calls for fair, just compensation not the dysfunctional Industrial Injuries Disability Benefits scheme (4) or slashed legal aid for personal injury cases. Whistleblowers, such as workers on the Crossrail project who have been sacked for raising health and safety issues, should be protected, and fees for Employment tribunals removed.

“We also call on workers not to sit around waiting but to get involved, become safety reps, for existing safety reps and workers to be more active at work, to build union organisation which makes work safer and healthier. Join your union and the Hazards Campaign in campaigning for a government and policies which will protect our lives and health and those of our children and grandchildren.
Work shouldn’t kill or hurt, it’s time to reject the deregulation lie,  we won’t vote to die at work.”

More information: Hilda Palmer Acting Chair of National Hazards Campaign tel: 0161 636 7557, cell phone: 079298 00240

Notes for editors

1.Hazards Campaign 13 – step election guide : “It’s time to step up and act up for workers health and safety: Hey! Whatcha gonna do?”  http://www.hazards.org/votetodie/stepup

2. Hazards Magazine and ITUC International Workers Memorial Day Poster ‘Hell No!’http://www.hazards.org/gallery/hellno.htm and TUC and Hazards Magazine Poster ‘Stand up for safety and stop the tears’

3. Hazards Magazine 128 ‘Low Blow:  Badly paid work guarantees more than hardship. Because low pay goes hand in hand with low health and safety standards, occupational injuries and diseases like diabetes and cancer frequently come with the job.’ http://www.hazards.org/workingworld/lowblow.htm

4. Hazards Magazine 129:  ‘Mean Test:  For 7 of top 10 entries on official UK occupational cancer priorities ranking, you can forget about government payouts.’  http://hazards.org/compensation/meantest
and ‘Robbed, Bloody bandages but no bloody compensation’  http://www.hazards.org/votetodie/robbed.htm

International Workers’ Memorial Day

The Hazards campaign brought Workers’ Memorial Day to the UK. The 28 April global event – which is now the biggest annual occupational health and safety activity in the world – sees unions, campaigners and safety activists undertake protests, workplace activities and safety organising drives on the theme “remember the dead, fight like hell for the living”.

For further details, links and events listings visit