Workers’ Memorial Day – this year, it’s the law

Every year more people are killed at work than in wars. Most don’t die of mystery ailments, or in tragic “accidents”. They die because an employer decided their safety just wasn’t that important a priority. Workers’ Memorial Day (WMD) commemorates those workers. The 28 April annual event is marked all over the world, as workers and their representatives conduct events, demonstrations, vigils and a plethora of other activities to mark the day.

As preparations begin for this year’s event, the TUC has announced the global campaign focus. “In 2016 the theme for the day is ‘Strong Laws – Strong enforcement – Strong Unions’ because across the world we are seeing growing attacks on health and safety protection, including in Britain where the government have removed protection from millions of self-employed workers, and across Europe where the European Commission is pursuing a dangerous deregulatory strategy,” the union body said.

“However strong laws are not enough if they are not going to be enforced. That is why we need proper inspections and enforcement action against those who break the laws.”

The TUC said that in UK the number of inspections has fallen dramatically in the past five years, while in many other countries enforcement is non-existent. “That is why we also need strong unions. Unionised workplaces are safer, yet the government is trying to stop unions protecting the health and safety of their members by restricting the right of health and safety representatives to take time off to keep the workplace safer, and also trying to reduce our right to strike when things go wrong.”

TUC news alert. TUC 2016 Workers’ Memorial Day activities listing. Add your 28 April event to the TUC listing . For tweeters, use the #iwmd16

ITUC/Hazards global events listing.

For Hazards Campaign Workers’ Memorial Day resources including ribbons and car stickers, contact the Greater Manchester Hazards Centre by email or phone 0161 636 7557.

14th EWHN conference, Rotterdam, 27-29 May 2016

The European Work Hazards Network conference is to be held on 27-29 May 2016 in Rotterdam.

The theme is Empowerment of workers and experts in Health and Safety at the shopfloor and Empowerment of workers and experts to neutralize deregulation and lack of precautions in an European context.

The programme includes workshops, infomeetings and workplace visits.

Conference flyer • conference website  • EWHN 2016 UK booking form

UK policy is to do sod all about killer chemicals

Despite being a major player in global chemicals production, the UK is showing little interest in efforts to control the most dangerous substances including carcinogens, a report suggests.

The report from the European Environment Bureau (EEB), A Roadmap to Revitalise REACH, notes “most Member States, including several with a strong chemicals industry, such as Italy or Ireland, are not contributing at all to the process, while others, like the UK and Spain, are only contributing marginally.”

The report reveals the UK government has only proposed two Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC), chemicals including carcinogens and reproductive toxins targeted for phase-out. Germany tops the table, with 44 chemicals proposed.

Dr Michael Warhurst, executive director of CHEM Trust, a UK-based charity that promotes safer alternatives to hazardous chemicals, said: “We are very concerned about the performance of the UK government, who seem to have a deliberate strategy of not identifying the chemicals of very high concern.”

CHEM Trust is critical of the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) approach to the identification and control of the “worst chemicals”. It points to an online HSE strategy document that states there must be “an overriding UK government policy need for the UK to take the initiative on a substance”.

CHEM Trust says “this shows a worrying lack of commitment to human health and the environment.”

UK asbestos giant spied and lied in attempt to discredit critics

Executives at the world’s biggest asbestos factory spied on journalists and  safety and environmental campaigners who exposed the killer dust’s dangers.

Secret industry documents reveal that the executives at Rochdale-based asbestos giant Turner and Newall (T&N) monitored people they considered to be “subversive” and kept a dossier on their activities at the height of the debate about the mineral’s safety in the 1980s.

The T&N documentation was unearthed from the company’s archives by Manchester Metropolitan University researcher Jason Addy as part of 12 years of research into the firm’s toxic legacy.

Those identified in the papers include the British Society for Social Responsibility in Science (BSSRS) – the organisation that set up what became Hazards magazine and whose Work Hazards Group was a precursor of the Hazards Campaign – Alan Dalton, the now deceased former union national safety officer and author of ‘Asbestos Killer Dust’, journalists working on an award-winning asbestos documentary and Friends of the Earth.

Also targeted was Nancy Tait, the founder of the world’s first asbestos victims’ advocacy group, an asbestos widow who died in 2009. The firm then used a media and political campaign in an attempt to discredit its critics.

Hazards 2016 sponsorship form

We are grateful for the generous support for Hazards 2015 by our sponsors in Unions nationally, regionally, at branches, trades councils, individuals, and union-linked personal injury solicitors. We hope this vital support will continue for Hazards 2016.

Download the  Hazards 2016 Sponsorship form

Please consider our appeal positively. Cheques should be payable to Hazards 2016, and sent to: Hazards 2016, GMHC, Windrush Millennium Centre, 70 Alexandra Road, Manchester, M16 7WD. Telephone: 0161 636 7557, email: hazconf@gmhazards.org.uk

Parliamentary group calls for asbestos eradication

Hazards Campaign news release  
Parliamentary group calls for asbestos eradication

The Hazards Campaign supports the report published today, Friday 16th October, by the all-party parliamentary group on occupational safety and health calling for the safe removal of all asbestos in Britain as an answer to the asbestos crisis.

Hilda Palmer, acting chair of the Hazards Campaign said:

 “Asbestos is not a problem of the past, but a very real and present risk to many workers.  There are still millions of tonnes in about half a million workplaces and public buildings – schools, hospitals- across the UK.  Some of it in a poor state, poorly managed and shedding microscopic asbestos fibres into the air that people then breathe.  All types of asbestos are carcinogenic and exposure to asbestos at work continues to cause over 5,000 deaths every year from mesothelioma and lung cancer.  Over 15 years after the use of asbestos was banned, hundreds of thousands of workers, and children in schools and other public buildings, are still at risk of exposure every day.

“The Hazards Campaign wholeheartedly supports and endorses the proposal from the all-party group for the safe removal and disposal of asbestos from all workplaces and public buildings.  Beginning the removal of the carcinogenic hazard of asbestos from our buildings now, is the only way of ensuring the protection of future generations from the risk of a known and preventable cause of death.

“Failure of government to act now will be knowingly condemning future generations to death.”

NOTES TO EDITORS:  Hilda Palmer Tel 0161 636 7557

  1. The report – The asbestos crisis: Why Britain needs an eradication law – is available at www.ianlavery.org.uk/asbestos_eradication

 

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

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