UK Hazards Campaign welcomes the new ILO Fundamental Right on health and safety at work and demands UK Government act now

Press Statement For Immediate Release

14 June 2022.

UK Hazards Campaign welcomes the new ILO Fundamental Right on health and safety at work and demands UK Government action to implement it, save lives and livelihoods.

On 10th June a historic announcement was made to introduce a fifth fundamental principal and right at work with the right for workers to a healthy and safe working environment.  It is the first extension of workers’ rights in 25 years. (1)

This stands alongside those Fundamental principles and rights at work, originally adopted in 1998:

  1. Freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining
  2. The elimination of forced or compulsory labour
  3. The effective abolition of child labour
  4. The Elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation. And now
  5. Right to a healthy and safe working environment

The main aim of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) is to promote rights at work, encourage decent employment opportunities, enhance social protection and strengthen dialogue on work related issues.  It is the only tripartite UN Agency and has been in existence since 1919 when the ILO was formed.

This significant development has only been possible with the dedication and hard work of individuals across the globe and we congratulate and thank them for their fortitude and relentless pursuit of decent work that is safe and healthy and that will benefit all of society.

The fundamental right to safe and healthy work was the major theme of this year’s International Workers Memorial Day as we remembered all those people who die in the UK because of exposure to toxic and hazardous substances and work activities.

Every year in the UK more than 50,000 people die because of work activities and because their employers have failed to control the risks to their health and safety. (2)  This is both immoral and makes no economic sense to the UK economy, to our health care systems and to the commercial interests of organisations.  Every death is cost to individuals, to communities and to society in general.  This needs to be addressed and reduced.  Covid-19 has led to the deaths of more than 20,000 workers.  Deaths that should and could have been avoided with employers taking a precautionary approach to the risks.

This Thursday 16.6.22 is ‘Clean Air Day’ and the Hazards Campaigns TUCAN (Trade Union Clean Air Network) is holding an event to discuss the harm that toxic and polluted air is causing workers, their community and families.  According to the Govt, air pollution is the largest environmental risk to public health, killing between 28,000 and 36,000 deaths every year. (3)   However, little is done to protect the health of workers exposed inside and outside the workplace every day and everyone should have the right to not be harmed because of their work.

“No-one should be exposed to polluted air, be injured, develop occupational diseases or die because of work.  The vast majority of these are foreseeable and preventable.  Workplace harm is a blight on our society and for our families and loved ones.”

The Hazards Campaign calls on the UK government to ensure the safety and health of all workers as outlined in ILO conventions 155 and 187 and to agree to support their recommendations in UK law, including in trade agreements, international financing rules and in the global supply chains.

“Having the International Labour Organisation, a United Nations body with representation from governments, employers and workers organisations, agree the right to safe and healthy work as a fundamental right globally is an amazingly significant event and those who have achieved it deserve applause.  However, this right does not apply in the same way EU Directives or national laws do and we will have to fight to ensure our government (and many others) do what is necessary to meet the spirit of this right. What is clear is that it will be a useful tool in the fight against the de-regulators and those who hide de-regulation in secret international trade deals but we will have to learn exactly how it may be used in those fights in the months and years to come.”

For more information Please see:

  1. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/air-pollution-applying-all-our-health/air-pollution-applying-all-our-health#:~:text=The%20annual%20mortality%20of%20human,and%2036%2C000%20deaths%20every%20year.
  2. https://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/newsroom/news/WCMS_848132/lang–en/index.htm
  3. https://gmhazards.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/The-Whole-story-2022.pdf

For more information, press only:
Contact: Janet Newsham
Email: janet@gmhazards.org.uk
Tel: 07734317158
www.hazardscampaign.org.uk

The Hazards Campaign is a UK-wide network of resource centres and campaigners. The Hazards Campaign supports those organising and campaigning for justice and safety at work.

Contact details:
The Hazards Campaign
c/o Greater Manchester Hazards Centre
Windrush Millennium Centre
70 Alexandra Road
Manchester,
M16 7WD
ENGLAND

website www.hazardscampaign.org.uk
twitter @hazardscampaign
facebook www.facebook.com/groups/123746101003963

FACK 28 April statement: Healthy and safe work should not be only a fundamental right, but also a fundamental reality

FACK Statement
International Workers’ Memorial Day 28 April 2022

Time is a healer. Or so it is said. Because, so often for families who lose loved ones because of work, the extended periods of time spent waiting and fighting for action, searching and battling for answers,
simply serves to exacerbate the trauma we have suffered and which we will continue to suffer for all time.

We say that families deserve justice. In fact what we really deserved was for our child… parent… sibling… spouse… partner… to have got home from work that fateful day. We deserved for them to have been kept safe and healthy. We deserved for corners not to have been cut, for profit not to have been put before people. We deserved so much more time with our loved ones. Decades upon decades which we have been denied.

And to add insult to our injury, we continue to have to wait for healthy and safe work to be recognised as a fundamental right by the ILO. Here we are, a year on from having pleaded for it last year, to find this surely most basic of recognitions, has not been approved by employers groups though the tide of support from Unions, Governments and some employers is growing.

For families of those who lose loved ones because of work, the extent of any healing very much depends on how we are treated over time. The scar tissue can only grow to cover and protect our grievous, grieving wounds, when we receive care and understanding.
And we get that in spades from those in our Hazards and trade union movements, and from joining forces with fellow FACKers – people we wished we’d never had to meet, but are eternally grateful that we did.

Most often our wounds are re-opened or are left festering because of failures by our enforcement and prosecuting authorities, by politicians, and by the employers who caused the wounds in the first place.

That’s not to say we never receive any care or understanding from those quarters. Because we sometimes do. But more often than not, the systems we should be able to rely on let us down so fundamentally, to the extent that we end up battling against a justice system which should work for us. And we have to do this when we are mired in shock and grief, our whole lives turned up-side down.

We are all too frequently left feeling like we are the ones in the wrong, rather than the victims we in actual fact are.

More than anything, we want answers swiftly, so that those answers prompt action, and we can prevent others from having to become FACKers, to ensure others are saved from suffering the gut-wrenching heartache we are enduring.

Mick Collings, Chris Huxtable, Ken Cresswell and John Shaw are the 4 partners, husbands, dads, sons, uncles, who died in the Didcot collapse. It’s now more than 6 years since that fateful day.

These families have endured many agonising waits. Not least the more than 6 months it took for the  bodies of three of all their loved ones to be recovered.

And then, as Ken Cresswell’s wife Gail, has said recently: “Six years without answers for our men who just went to work, and also for all those still working in this industry that need answers too, so no other families go through this dreadful nightmare like us.”

How much longer must these families wait?

And when so much time is spent waiting for what passes for justice to be delivered, it is all too often justice denied. Jane Midgley is the mum of Simon. He and his partner Richard Dyson died in a fire at Cameron House Hotel in December 2017. Guilty pleas were submitted by the hotel’s operating company, and by an individual worker and sentences handed down in January 2021. No evidence was heard. And then it was decided no Fatal Accident Inquiry should be held. But Jane desperately needed answers. She needed to know change was going to happen. So she appealed. And the Crown relented. A Fatal Accident Inquiry will now be held.

But as she says “no-one should need to beg for an FAI…it’s not going to bring Simon and Richard back, but I’m doing this to get answers so this doesn’t happen again. I need to know everything that happened,
from the thread to the needle. It gets harder and harder with each year that passes. I can’t move forward without knowing all the facts.”.

By the time a Sheriff issues a determination, it will be around 5 years since the deaths of Jane’s beloved boys.

How much longer must we expect to be unable to move forward, time in many ways standing still during our waiting, fighting, searching and battling? Until we emerge changed. And all the more determined to use what time we have left on this earth to continue to effect change.

Time is a healer. Or so it is said. But far better to never have to experience the process of trying to heal. Far better that the fatal injury or illness were prevented from ever occurring. Far better that healthy and safe work is not just finally recognised as a fundamental right, but is a fundamental reality.

Because we remember all of our dead each and every day. And to ensure none of your families have their time cut so tragically short as ours, we pledge to continue fighting like hell for the living!

By Louise Adamson on behalf of FACK

Michaels Story: https://michaels-story.net/;

FACK was established in July 2006, by and for families of people killed by the gross negligence of business employers, see www.fack.org.uk .

Founder Members of FACK
  • Dawn and Paul Adams – son Samuel Adams aged 6 killed at Trafford Centre,10th October 1998
  • Linzi Herbertson -husband Andrew Herbertson 29, killed at work on 30th January 1998
  • Mike and Lynne Hutin – son Andrew Hutin 20, killed at work on 8th November 2001
  • Mick & Bet Murphy – son Lewis Murphy 18, killed at work on 21st February 2004
  • Louise Adamson – brother Michael Adamson 26, killed at work on 4th August 2005
  • Linda Whelan – son Craig Whelan 23, (and Paul Wakefield) killed at work on 23rd May 2004
  • Dorothy & Douglas Wright – son Mark Wright 37, killed at work on 13th April 2005

For more information and to support FACK, contact Hilda Palmer, Facilitator for FACK: Tel 0161 792 1044

Source: FACK

The Whole Story – 28 April statistics briefing and information

UK Hazards Campaign tells the whole story on work related injury and death – the real statistics and the real stories behind those statistics.

Each year the Hazards Campaign tells the stories behind the statistics of those workers who have died because of work. And also  also provides an estimated number of workers who have died because of work – giving complete evidence-based estimates of work-related harm, including estimates of people who die by suicide.

This year, for the second year, Hazards Campaign has also included the estimated number of workers who have died because of Covid-19.  More than 60,000 workers are now estimated to have died last year because of work-related harm. https://gmhazards.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/The-Whole-story-2022.pdf

International Workers Memorial Information sheet – What are you doing for International Workers Memorial Day? The information sheet explains what Workers Memorial Day is all about and provides suggestions to raise the issue in your workplace, union or community.  Finally it provides links to more resources and information.   https://gmhazards.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/International-Workers-Memorial-Day-general-circular-2022.pdf

Workers’ Memorial Day resources from the Hazards Campaign

The Hazards Campaign has produced a wide selection of resources to help  you mark International Workers’ Memorial Day effectively and visually including ribbons, car stickers, posters, bags, fabric face masks and t-shirts.

Download the order form here

Below is the poster – other resources can be viewed in the order form.

 

Toxic Chemicals – Risk prevention through use Toxic Use Reduction: Conference report, recordings and resources

Report on the Toxic Chemicals – Risk prevention through use reduction Conference organised by GMHC as part of a project with the CSEU- Toxic Use Reduction Conference – 25th Feb

Recording of the conference with presentations and discussion:
https://youtu.be/5jWY6PGiNb0

Hilda Palmer – Greater Manchester Hazards Centre, FACK facilitator and Hazards Campaign

Bud Hudspith – Unite National health and safety advisor

Professor Andrew Watterson – Occupational health expert Stirling university

Dan Shears – GMB National health, safety and environment director

Survey: Chemicals and hazardous substances at work

Greater Manchester Hazards Centre (GMHC) is working with trade unions to reduce worker exposure to harmful, toxic chemicals  in a project on ‘Toxics Use Reduction’.

To help safety reps deal with toxic exposures better, we need to know more about the types of chemicals workers are exposed to, the harms caused, their awareness and knowledge of risks and of successful eliminations or substitution of safer chemicals or changes to processes that have been made in your workplace.

Please go to the following link and complete the questions, it should only take about 10 mins.

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/6C6WWW6

 

 

Hazards Conference 2022 – Urgent sponsorship appeal

Delegates at a pre-Covid Hazards conference participating in the innovative Body and Risk Mapping workshop.

Please would your organisation consider sponsoring this year’s Hazards Conference

In 2019, 185 trade union national, regional and branch organisations, personal injury solicitors, and groups and individuals supported the Hazards Conference.  Since then we have held two online conferences during the difficult circumstances of the pandemic.  These have been held free of charge, with the kind sponsorship of some organisations, but we cannot sustain this for any longer.

Hazards sponsors in the past have always risen to the challenge and continued their invaluable and essential support.  The last two years have been tremendously difficult for all workers. In the Hazards Campaign we have worked hard to respond to workers’ and trade unions’ needs.

The feedback we have received over the last two years has been encouraging and to this end we are moving the Hazards Conference to a hybrid model, where delegates can attend in person or participate online.

We would like to ensure all participants have an equal opportunity to attend and participate in the conference but we are acutely aware that some of our regular attendees have health conditions which will make them at risk of serious illness if they became infected by Covid and therefore we are providing an opportunity for everyone to attend, either in person or online.

However we will incur additional IT and administrative costs to do this, but hopefully with the support of sponsors we can keep the price as low as possible.

Therefore, please would your organisation consider sponsoring the 34th National Hazards Conference.  If you would like to speak to someone about the conference then please email Janet  at hazconf@gmhazards.org.uk

To sponsor please complete the Hazards Conference 2022 – sponsorship form and send it to c.bedale@btinternet.com or mail it to Caroline Bedale, 123 Coppice Street, Oldham OL8 4BH.

For further information please email Janet at  hazconf@gmhazards.org.uk or
phone: 07734 317158

Candlelit vigil for workers who died because of Covid, 11 March

The Hazards Campaign is organising a national candlelit vigil to commemorate those who died because of work-related Covid-19.

The event on 11 March marks the second anniversary of when WHO declared Covid a pandemic. People will be encouraged to light candles, hold up pictures of work colleagues and loved ones who have died and invite people to say something about them.

The event is intended to include family members, workers, local trade unionists and politicians to support the event and will serve as a reminder that workers are still facing risks in the workplace every day.

If people don’t want to attend an event they can to put a poster in their window or light a candle safely on their doorstep, and post the picture online using a suggested hashtag:

#Candle4CovidkilledWorkers, #VigilForWorkers, #ShineLightOnWorkers

Please send information about what you are doing in your city, town or workplace to Janet Newsham so that we can share them on social media and through our trade union networks.

FACK News release: FACK expresses concern about the lack of conclusion to the investigation into the collapse of Didcot boiler house

Press Statement for immediate use 22.2.22

Justice delayed can be justice denied

FACK expresses concern about the lack of conclusion to the investigation into the collapse of Didcot boiler house which killed Mick Collings, Chris Huxtable, Ken Cresswell, and John Shaw on 23rd February 2016.

“Families Against Corporate Killers (FACK) are concerned that no conclusion has been reached after six years of investigation by the Police, HSE and CPS under the Joint Protocol on Work-Related death, and no time frame for any conclusion has been given.

Experienced demolition workers, Mick Collings, Chris Huxtable, Ken Cresswell, and John Shaw were employed by Coleman’s to demolish Didcot Power station for RWE.  They were preparing a boiler house for demolition when something went terribly wrong and it collapsed upon them, burying them under tonnes of rubble.

The body of Mick Collings was found that day but Chris, Ken and John were not all found until more than six months later as the remaining structure was unsafe and had to be safely demolished before recovery could be attempted. The violence of their deaths and the agonising time taken to recover the bodies of the three men they loved – partners, husbands, fathers – has been incredibly traumatising and added to the grief of all the families concerned.

FACK has supported the families of Chris Huxtable, Ken Cresswell, and John Shaw. We pay tribute to their steadfast concern to get their men out, to find out what happened, why they died, to bear witness to their lives however painful and traumatic that has been, and to try to ensure this never happens to other workers and families.

Gail Cresswell, Ken’s wife said: “ I just want to say how appalled we are at the wait. Six years without answers for our men who just went to work and also for all the men still working in this industry that need answers too, so no other families go through this dreadful nightmare like us”.  

Hilda Palmer, Facilitator of FACK said:

FACK’s concern is that the families need answers to their questions, how and why their loved ones, experienced demolition workers, died; lessons need to be learned to ensure the safety of workers involved in the future demolition of hundreds of other old power stations in UK and across the world; and anyone bearing responsibility needs to be held to account. The longer this goes on the harder it is for the families, other demolition workers are at risk, and it becomes less likely that any justice will be delivered.

Both FACK and the families are well aware of the difficulties due to the uniqueness and complexity of the investigation. Thousands of tonnes of rubble had to be recovered, transported, examined and analysed; plans, designs, risk assessments, systems of work and supervision had to be scrutinised; thousands of photographs and documents had to be collected and catalogued and hundreds of people interviewed. We know that ground breaking information systems and software have been developed to manage the data, to generate animated reconstructions, and many experts had to be commissioned to report on all aspects of the demolition and collapse. We are very well aware of the enormous amount of resources that have gone into this investigation and we all appreciate the work carried out by the Health and Safety Executive, HSE, and Crown Prosecution Service, CPS, the regular meetings to keep the families updated but also need for confidentiality to ensure the integrity of any future prosecutions, and we share the desire for the most rigorous investigation possible.  We commend the HSE and TVP but after 6 years we are entitled to ask how much longer.?

In Spring 2019 the families were told that an end was in sight as to a decision about whether there would be any prosecutions for Corporate Manslaughter or Gross Negligence Manslaughter or whether the primacy for the investigation would be handed to the HSE to consider any prosecutions under health and safety law. But this hope was dashed months later, and now the annual reports feel the same as years ago, giving no hint as to exact state of the investigation, and making clear there is no possible time frame for any decision as to prosecutions.

Ken Cresswell’s youngest daughter Sadie says: “Ken Cresswell is a very much missed, much loved dad, husband and grandad and we won’t stop until we get justice even though we are disappointed that it’s hit the six year mark and we feel like we are still at square one. The investigation team ask us to trust they are doing the right thing and us as a family hope they are. But we still feel the pain today as we did when we found out our hardworking man was missing on that dreadful day back in 2016 after the boiler house collapsed.”

Tia Huxtable, daughter of Chris Huxtable said: “We as the family of Chris are deeply appalled that after 6 years we still have no answers why my loving dad went to work on that fateful day and never returned home to us.. They took away not just a father but my best friend too. I hope and pray every single day that they get the answers so that no other families go through what we have been through. We think of my dad every single day and he is talked about constantly. To some he is a nobody but to us he was a dad, partner, brother-in-law and uncle, and a cherished one too, One in a million and to us they are really dragging their feet. Since it happened these days aren’t getting much easier knowing there’s no answers on why the building collapsed as it did and my dad lost his life. We all need justice.”

Hilda Palmer says: “So after 6 years, FACK and the families now ask the CPS, TVP the HSE and the Government: How much longer must the families wait? Are there sufficient resources available to conclude the investigation as speedily as possible? What is the precise state of the investigation and the timetable?  What are the barriers to its completion? What lessons can the demolition  industry learn now to protect other workers? When will the families of Mick Collings, Chris Huxtable, Ken Cresswell, and John Shaw get any justice?”

For more information contact FACK Facilitator Hilda Palmer 0161 792 1044  Mobile: 079298 00240

Notes:

Didcot Power Station collapse inquiry continues five years on – BBC News  https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-oxfordshire-56168266

Work-related Deaths: A protocol for liaison (England and Wales) – WRDP1 (hse.gov.uk) https://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/wrdp1.pdf

FACK stories: http://www.hazardscampaign.org.uk/fack/about/index.htm

Plus FACK DVD ‘Face the FACKs: the human cost of workplace killing’ http://www.hazardscampaign.org.uk/fack/resources/facethefacks.pdf

https://gmhazards.org.uk/index.php/fack/

Founder Members of FACK:

Dawn and Paul Adams son Samuel Adams aged 6 killed at Trafford Centre,10th October 1998

Linzi Herbertsonhusband Andrew Herbertson 29, killed at work in January 1998

Mike and Lynne Hutin son Andrew Hutin 20, killed at work on 8th Nov 2001

Mick & Bet Murphyson Lewis Murphy 18, killed at work on 21st February 2004

Louise Taggart brother Michael Adamson 26, killed at work on 4th August 2005

Linda Whelanson Craig Whelan 23, (and Paul Wakefield) killed at work on 23rd May 2004

Dorothy & Douglas Wrightson Mark Wright 37, killed at work on 13th April 2005

Free online conference: Toxic Chemicals – risk prevention through use reduction

Toxic Chemicals: Risk prevention through use reduction

Friday, 25th February, 9.30-11.30am
Speakers include:
– Bud Hudspith, Unite Union Health and Safety
– Dan Shears, GMB National director of Health, Safety and Environment
– Professor Andy Watterson, Stirling University
– Hilda Palmer, Hazards Campaign

Organised by: Greater Manchester Hazards Centre

Register at Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/toxic-chemicals-risk-prevention-through-use-reduction-tickets-251110557437 or email: janet@gmhazards.org.uk

  •  Do you work in the manufacturing, shipbuilding, aerospace or engineering sector?
  • Are you exposed to chemicals in your work?
  • How many workers or ex workers do you know have suffered or died from cancer? Or from asthma, heart/lung other organ disease?
  • Do you know if it was related to exposure to work chemicals?
  • How do we limit the use of toxic chemicals in manufacturing processes?
  • With Brexit ‘done’, how is your health being protected from dangerous chemicals?
  • Why do you need to attend this conference?

The conference will discuss how to address the toxic chemical cocktail we are exposed to – Approaching 100,000 chemicals are used in workplaces worldwide. Barely 1 in a 100 has been thoroughly tested for health risks. Over 50 substances are rated by the United Nations’ International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as a definite or probable cancer risk at work. Over 100 more are IARC rated as a possible cancer risk. What can trade unions do to protect workers from the short and long term harm chemicals cause?

Register