NEWS RELEASE 9th January 2019 for immediate use
Hazards Campaign launches Manifesto for a health and safety system fit for workers: Decent jobs and decent lives
The Hazards Campaign believes the British health and safety system is broken. Workers are harmed daily just for going to work to earn a living, and many now have no realistic prospect of enforcement of their basic human right to go to work and come home alive and well.
“Work contributes to a huge amount of public ill-health, to health inequality, lower life expectancy, less years of healthy life kills over 50,000 people in the UK each year, makes millions ill, injures over half a million and the quality of jobs contributes to poverty and ill-health. But all of this is preventable with the right framework of strong laws, strict enforcement and support for active worker and union participation will have massive payback for workers, employers and whole economy. The current political situation has given us an opportunity to place health and safety firmly back on the political agenda,” says the campaign’s Janet Newsham. “An opportunity to address our concerns, to discuss what we want from regulation, enforcement, to support trade union safety reps and how workers should be treated with more dignity and be able to organise and respond collectively.”
“We are launching our Manifesto for health and safety fit for workers, decent jobs and decent lives for all with three clear demands on the current and future governments. To ensure decent jobs and lives for all, and to fix the broken health and safety system, government must by do three key things:
- End deregulation and restore regulation and enforcement as a social good
- Develop a health and safety system based on prevention, precaution and participation of strong active unions.
- Provide real, enforceable employment and safety rights to ensure good health and safety in low paid and precarious work by enforcement agencies working together.
“The Manifesto is a clear guide to action that must be taken to protect all workers by restoring good regulation and enforcement, revamping the independence, funding and action of the HSE and Local Authority enforcement agencies, empowering trade unions and safety reps who have the biggest impact on making work safer and healthier, and ensuring links between health and safety and employment inspections to deal with the exploitation of workers in the low paid, precarious economy.
“The Manifesto sets out in detail what must be done to achieve this. After Grenfell no-one can be in any doubt as to the deadly dangers of deregulation and it must be halted and reversed. Developing a health and safety system based on prevention, precaution and participation of strong active unions includes the organising demands of the updated Hazards Campaign charter and extends it. The link between precarious low paid work and poor health and safety must be acknowledged as a huge risk for workers’ lives and health must be addressed through enforcement of health and safety and employment issues.”
“We call for increased enforcement with more resources, and more, more accessible inspectors, employment rights with collective representation from day one on the job, and an end to zero hours, precarious work. An end to all the lying, dishonest, unevidenced rhetoric used to justify the deregulation of health and safety.
“We want the purpose and mission of HSE to be one sole aim – to prevent injury, ill-health and death caused by work, no constraints of having to consider business interests, and to use its teeth to enforce that strictly and be effective and active in the new precarious 21st Century workplace. The HSE must be made a real champion of workers’ lives and health and the whole health and safety system a proactive, preventive, precautionary, workers’ participatory project with ambitious aims to make work safer and healthier.”
“We want workers to be given much greater control over the circumstances under which they work and rights from day one. Give workers and union safety reps more power to take action in the workplace by abolishing all anti-trade union legislation, enforcing the Safety Representatives and Safety Committee Regulations and extending and enhancing them with, for example, the right to stop the job.”
Janet added “We want the current government to take heed of where they have gone wrong, how deadly deregulation must end now, and to use our Manifesto to fix the broken system. If they won’t do this, they must explain why. We want other political parties to adopt the Manifesto and set out their plans to make this happen ready for the next General Election. We want trade unions to adopt it, support it and campaign with us to make a health and safety system fit for all workers, for decent jobs and decent lives for all”
For more information contact Janet Newsham and Hilda Palmer, Hazards Campaign Secretariat c/o Greater Manchester Hazards Centre 0161 636 7557/8 firstname.lastname@example.org
The Hazards Campaign, established in 1987, is a network of worker oriented health and safety centres, individual activists & groups working with workers, trade union safety reps, families & communities on all aspects of work-related safety & ill-health. It includes the Scottish Hazards Campaign, Greater Manchester & London Hazards Centres, the Asbestos Victims Support Groups, Construction Safety Campaign, Families Against Corporate Killers, trade unions safety reps and specialists and award-winning Hazards Magazine. The Hazards Campaign brought International Workers Memorial Day to the UK in the 1990s, and runs the annual Hazards Conference , attracting 350 – 400 safety reps. The 9th Hazards Conference, Hazards 2018, was held 27-29th July at Keele University with 350 union safety reps and activists participating #Haz2018
CONTACT Hazards Campaign Secretariat c/o GMHC, Windrush Millennium Centre, 70 Alexandra Road, Manchester M16 7WD email: Tel: 0161 636 7557