embargoed until 14 July 2006 ( Back to news releases)
families against corporate killers (fack) launched
Hundreds of people are killed by work every year in incidents the Health and Safety Executive say should have been prevented. Relatives of people killed at work will launch a national campaigning group called Fack– families against corporate killers – at the 17th annual Hazards Campaign conference, Hazards 2006, at Manchester University, Sackville Street, Manchester on Friday 14th July.
Fack is a group of families of people killed by work who believe that safe work is a human right not a privilege. They are angry and frustrated, and feel they have been robbed twice: once of their loved ones in incidents that should have been prevented by employers simply obeying the law on workplace health and safety; and secondly of their right to justice. They are joining together to form a national campaigning network to make themselves more visible to government, to make their voices heard, to protest, to lobby , to demand urgent action. Lord Hunt, the minister for health and safety at work, is speaking at Hazards conference and fack will ask why people are being unlawfully killed every day and their killers are mostly escaping significant punishment.
Hilda Palmer of the Hazards Campaign which is supporting Fack says “ Fack has grown out of the pioneering work of individual families like Ann Elvin and the Simon Jones Memorial Campaign, and wants to create a united voice to all families devastated by a death at work. Fack will work with all the individual family campaigns and others to achieve its aims:
Fack members will call on Lord Hunt the Minister to meet with them soon to
Dorothy and Douglas Wright whose son Mark was killed last year in an explosion at a recycling plant say: “Like the victims of 7/7our son was also killed by a bomb, not by a terrorist but by a negligent employer. Unlike the victims of 7/7 the government wants to keep the circumstances of his death quiet, no commemoration, the laying of flowers at the spot forbidden, the perpetrator walks free protected by the present useless laws while the family is treated with contempt. Why should our son's life be worth so much less than those lost on 7/7?”
Dawn and Paul Adams whose son Samuel was 6 years old when he was killed at the newly opened Trafford Centre in October 1998 say: ”On a family day out, when we should have been safe, our son was crushed when an 18 stone railing, which had been unsafely leant against a wall, hit him on the back of his head as he was standing in front of it. We know our health and safety law and work in the area of construction safety. The investigation process by the local authority horrified us as it totally failed to hold the employer accountable, sent the wrong message to other employers and has shaken our faith in health and safety law on top of the incredible heart break of seeing our son killed in such a terrible way that never should have happened.”
Linda Whelan whose son Craig was killed in a fire in a chimney at Metal Box in Bolton said “My son was murdered on 23rd May 2002, after 4 years I am still waiting for an inquest. Over 3,000 people have been killed by work since this government came to power, if they were killed by terrorism then government and government agencies would be crying out. Are the lives of those killed at work for profit not as important? Isn’t this another form of terrorism in our workforce? I want employers who put lives at risk to face corporate manslaughter charges.”
Linzi Herbertson whose husband Andrew was killed when he fell from scaffold platform while dismantling a printing press in Oldham in January 1998 says
“Any employer who kills a worker by negligence should go to jail. Everyone should be able to go to work and come home safely but this won’t happen until all employers know that if they don’t take workers health and safety seriously they will face severe consequences. Health and safety at work is a human right not a privilege and every workplace needs a trade union safety rep to keep the employer up to scratch.”
Maggie Robbins, Centre for Corporate Accountability, which offers free legal advice to families and campaigns for employers to be made accountable says: “ The voice of families who have had a relative killed at work is often missing from the public discussion about workplace safety. Individual families have spoken up eloquently in the past, such as Anne Jones, Ann Elvin and others. Following in their footsteps, Fack can allow more families to funnel their grief, anger, and resolve into the public policy arena. Fack is a welcome addition to the campaign to prevent workplace deaths by making killing people at work a serious crime that will result in serious penalties for the companies that do it.”
Notes to journalists
1. Death at work : 220 workers and 361 members of the public were killed last year according to HSE work-related fatality figures. In addition about 1,000 people are killed on the roads each year on work-related rtas but not included in HSE’s figures. The HSE says 70% of these deaths are due to management failure. Breaking health and safety law is a criminal act but only about 11 employers have ever been jailed for killing people at work.
2. The Hazards Campaign is a national network established in 1988, consisting of Hazards Centres, Occupational Health Projects, Construction Safety Campaign, Trades Unions, health and safety groups, specific campaigns, individual safety reps and reps networks, and activists. Hazards Campaign runs the annual Hazards Conference which is the biggest event for grass roots safety reps in Europe: the 17th conference Hazards 2006 expects over 550 delegates.
3. Press contact: c/o Hazards Campaign, Windrush Millennium Centre, 70 Alexandra Road, Manchester. M16 7WD Tel 0161 636 7557 firstname.lastname@example.org
4. Families bereaved by work and organisations wanting to support or work with us can contact us at: Fack. c/o Hazards Campaign, Windrush Millennium Centre, 70 Alexandra Road, Manchester M16 7WD email@example.com Tel: 0161 636 7557
Photocall of founder members of Fack holding photos of their family members killed at work at 10.30 am, Renold Building, University of Manchester, Sackville Street, Manchester Saturday 15th July 2006
Fack members who will talk to the press:
Dawn and Paul Adams whose son Samuel was 6 years old when he was killed at the newly opened Trafford Centre in October 1998, Tel: Tel: Paul 07937252021, Dawn 07725208882.
Dorothy and Douglas Wright whose son Mark was killed last year in an explosion at a recycling plant Dorothy and Douglas have set up a petition, ‘Stop Deaths in the workplace’ www.petition-them.com and when it reaches 15,000 signatures it will be presented it to the Prime Minister. Tel: 01475 670442 Mobile 07818442083
Linda Whelan whose son Craig was killed in a fire in a chimney at Metal Box in Bolton, Tel 01388 773884 daytime Mobile 07919334793
Linzi Herbertson whose husband Andrew was killed when he fell from scaffold platform while dismantling a printing press in Oldham in January 1998. Tel 0161 681 8078 Mobile 07790024379