Category Archives: Blog

FACK statement on Coroner’s conclusion of Ofsted inspection’s contribution to suicide

Families Against Corporate Killers (FACK) Statement on inquest into the death of Ruth Perry Head Teacher of Caversham Primary School Coroner’s conclusion: Suicide contributed to by an Ofsted inspection.

News release – no embargo – 7 December 2023

On behalf of Families Against Corporate Killers (FACK), facilitator Hilda Palmer said today:

“There must be massive and constructive change from this painful process and Ruth’s death must be the ‘enough is enough’ moment, no more Ofsted deaths.

“The Coroner made clear that the’ inner workings of Ofsted’ were not in scope for the Inquest, but teachers reports and evidence heard makes clear it is not only the conduct of the inspections that causes acute stress but the fear of the high stakes consequences.  A bad one word judgement can lead to forced academisation of your school, loss of your job, reputation, career with no realistic chance to defend yourself or challenge Ofsted errors of fact or judgement. The weeks of delay between the inspection draft report and publication of report during which time Heads are not permitted, on threat of action against them, to speak to anyone outside of a tiny circle, even a mental health professional, puts intolerable stress on Head Teachers.

“We welcome the conclusions of the Berkshire Chief Coroner, Heidi Connor, based on a finding of facts that Ruth Pery’s death was suicide contributed to by an Ofsted inspection in November 2022, and unequivocally linking her deteriorating state of mind and death to the Ofsted inspection which was at times ‘rude & intimidating, lacked fairness, respect and sensitivity’.

“Ruth was a remarkable woman and a successful, well respected and much liked Head Teacher running an outstanding popular school, committed to the good education safety and welfare of the children.

“She was also much more than this, a much loved and loving wife, mother, sister and daughter, and a friend to many. She worked hard and achieved great things and had no history of mental ill health. All that changed within minutes of the Ofsted Inspection beginning and the loss to her family, friends and Caversham Primary School children and parents is immensely painful.

“At the inquest, Professor Julia Waters, Ruth’s sister,  bravely and eloquently painted a beautiful picture of her beloved sister and her rich and happy life, in words from her parents, her husband and herself and ended with: “We shall feel her terrible loss for the rest of our lives”.

“We are sorry that the coroner refused a renewed Article 2 application from the family, which would mean the state have to carry out an ‘enhanced investigation’ into a death as she said she does not have ‘sufficient concern about systems to protect life’.

And FACK renews its demands that all families have free legal representation provided for Inquests to ‘ensure equality arms’ when they face employers and state funded organisations and are able to challenge, to question and get the answers they need..

“We welcome the Coroner’s Conclusion and her Regulation 28 Preventing Future Deaths Ofsted and the Local Authority and. her hope that the Parliamentary Education Committee and Secretary of State will also consider her findings.

“We believe Ruth’s death and those of other teachers might have been prevented had concern about the suicides of other teachers related to Ofsted over the years been taken more seriously, investigated and acted upon preventatively by the Health and Safety Executive, HSE, Ofsted and Local Authorities when they happened. And we believe it is also essential that the HSE records, investigates and acts to prevent all work-related suicides in schools and all workplaces, something it refuses to do currently.

“After hearing evidence during the Inquest we are even more sceptical that Ofsted can be reformed. It should be scrapped and replaced by a cooperative, collaborative and supportive inspection system, which is accountable and effective in improving schools without destroying the health and lives of teachers.

“Nothing will bring Ruth back, but knowing that stringent efforts are being demanded of the organisations which had a role in her death, and of other related organisations, to prevent the deaths of other teachers in future is an outcome that Ruth’s family wanted. Julia Waters, Ruth’s sister, has fearlessly and eloquently exposed the unbearable and unfair stress of Ofsted inspections, the lack of protection and redress for Head Teachers, given thousands of teachers a chance to speak out, made their concerns a subject of public debate and investigation ever since Ruth’s death. We thank Julia and her family for all they have done to stop Ofsted deaths.

“FACK, Greater Manchester Hazards Centre, Hazards Campaign and Hazards Magazine pledge ourselves to continue the campaign to make all work suicides reportable, investigated and preventive action taken. No one should be driven to deaths of despair by work.”

For more information contact Hilda Palmer 079298 00240

Notes to Editors

Papers and articles relating to Work-Suicide and the problem of the HSE refusing to record or investigate the causes and prevent them.

• Professor Sarah Waters, Hilda Palmer Work Suicides are uncounted:

• Waters and McKee, BMJ, Ofsted and case of official negligence?

• Waters and Palmer, Journal of Public Health Dying at work. Work-related suicide – how does the UK regulatory context measure up?

• Our postcard campaign to the HSE over many years saw thousands of postcards delivered by mail to the CEO and now is an ecard campaign: • Rory O’Neill Hazards Latest article : • Earlier articles: •

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 in Oldham, January 1998

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

Mick & Bet Murphy – son Lewis Murphy 18, killed at work in Brighton on 21st February 2004

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

Linda Whelan – son Craig Whelan 23, (and Paul Wakefield) killed at work in Bolton on 23rd May 2002

Dorothy & Douglas Wright – son Mark Wright 37, killed at work in Deeside on 13th April 2005

Zoom discussion: Organising 101 – Dave Smith on campaigning


Thursday, 30 November, 2023, 18.00 – 19.30Register:

Join us at this brilliant, lively and entertaining event, in discussion with the dynamic and inspiring Dave Smith and organised by the Hazards Campaign. Dave is a blacklisted campaigner, a trade union educator and has been a health and safety advocate for decades. He speaks with enthusiasm and from years of relevant experience.It will be a unique opportunity to hear about his Organising 101 campaigning and organising  tips column in Hazards Magazine and to join him in discussion.

For more information, please contact Janet Newsham –

Thursday, 30th November, 2023, 18.00 – 19.30pmRegister:

Take action to support sacked EIS safety rep!

Please take solidarity action to support Kevin Scally, sacked EIS safety rep at Edinburgh College.

Solidarity  from the Troublemakers Striking for Safety fringe meeting, 29/30 July 2023

The victimisation of our Edinburgh College EIS branch official and safety rep Kevin Scally is a matter of principle and social justice. We’ve taken four days’ strike action so far.  And we’ll carry on striking four days a week indefinitely till we win Kevin’s reinstatement. To encourage our management to do the right thing, could you send a message of protest to the Principal and Chair of the College Board- (; ) and (; copying in the EIS-FELA branch secretary,;).  If you have any questions or want to invite Kev and Penny to speak at your branch, please write to Penny. So, something along the lines of the following would be great, or anything you want to send….

‘Dear Ms Cumberford and Ms Senior,

I am writing on behalf of my trade union branch and wish to express our concern at the treatment of EIS Branch Official and Safety Rep, Kevin Scally. Edinburgh College has already reached your target of £6m savings through voluntary severance. Kevin is an experienced lecturer who can deliver courses the College needs to be covered and he is the only employee to be made redundant. So we can only assume Mr Scally’s sacking as due to the fact that he is a trade union representative. Shockingly, you refuse to even meet with the union representatives under the College’s Avoidance of Disputes’ Procedure. You also refused to hear the EIS branch grievance against this compulsory redundancy.  Yet trade union recognition is a fundamental right. The stress this has caused Kevin and his family can only be imagined. Your behaviour as managers of a public service charged with delivering education to working class adults has been appalling. We urge that you reinstate Kevin immediately. Regards …………………. NAME OF TRADE UNION/ WORKPLACE’


Hazards Conference 2023

The 34th National Hazards Conference

Organising for safe and healthy work environments

1-3 September 2023

The Hazards Conference is one of the biggest conferences for trade union safety reps and activists consisting of a mixture of plenary sessions, meetings and a comprehensive workshop programme. You can attend in person at Keele University, Stoke on Trent, or remotely via online streaming.

SIGN UP! Either via this Form or on Eventbrite


Hazards Campaign reveals the tragic price of work hazards

Press Release for International Workers Memorial Day to remember people killed by work

For immediate release

On International Workers Memorial Day, Friday 28th April,  workers globally will hold workplace and community events to remember work colleagues, who have died because of their work.  Every year the Hazards Campaign produce ‘The Whole Story’ (1) which is an analysis of the occupational injuries, illness and deaths statistics.

In the last 12 months alone, it is estimated by the Hazards Campaign, that more than 53,000 people died because of work and this number doesn’t include the hundreds of workers who have died because of Covid infections they contracted in the workplace, because there is no obligation for employers to report them to the enforcement agency, or for them to be investigated or employers to be prosecuted.(1) and they not recorded.

The Hazards Campaign includes an estimate of the number of workers who have died from work-related suicide, which is estimated to be as high as 10% of all suicides. (2)  Again, the employer is under no legal duty to report, or investigate these deaths and this estimate is based on numbers recorded in other countries where suicides are reportable.  The Hazards Campaign believes there is a moral obligation to do this, and are campaigning for there to be a legal obligation for work-related suicides to be reportable, investigated and employers prosecuted if they are negligent.(3)

UK Hazards Campaign spokesperson Janet Newsham, said it’s shocking that worldwide, work kills a minimum of 2.9 million people every year.

She said: “Last year safe and healthy work was adopted as a fundamental right by the ILO.  This means that occupational health and safety must be central to all work.  This should also mean that our Government, employers and enforcement authorities must double their efforts to eradicate unsafe and unhealthy work activities.  It should be no longer acceptable that work drives people to take their own life, or that workers are subjected to air pollution and other airborne viruses, toxic chemicals and hazardous substances, that will eventually kill them. It should mean that these are not an optional extra but are fundamental to safe and healthy work.’

‘No-one should lose their life for just going out to work to earn a living. Too many people die because of their work activities.  On International Workers Memorial Day we will remember all those who have died because of work, we will wear purple ribbons in their memory, we will tell their stories(2), and try to hold those responsible for their deaths are held to account.  We don’t want to hear about lessons learnt, that means that someone else has died.  We need all work to be safe and healthy, preventing deaths, diseases and injuries and on April 28th we will ‘Remember the dead and Fight for the Living!’’

Note to editors:

More details on the theme can be found here:

  1. The whole story:
  2. Families against corporate killers 2023 statement:
  3. Suicide:
  4. Further information:

For more details please contact Janet Newsham on 07734 317158.

UK: FACK Statement – International Workers’ Memorial Day 28 April 2023

FACK Statement

International Workers’ Memorial Day 28 April 2023


We FACK families are eternally grateful to each and every person who has come together today to mark International Workers’ Memorial Day.  A day when we remember all of those bereaved by work. And renew our commitment to fighting like hell for the living.

Because, just what is it to be bereaved by work…?

It’s to start a day like any other. And end it like no other. To not have known that was your last goodbye. To be left to rue the denial of so many tomorrows and still feel the ripple effects decades on.

It’s to be let down, time and again.  By the employer who had a moral duty and a legal responsibility to look after our family member, and failed in both respects in the worst possible way.  By those politicians who erroneously believe health and safety protections to be burdens on business, and seek to slash and burn where they should be seeking to safeguard and bolster.  By the enforcement authorities who seem so often incapable of effecting proactive preventative inspections.  And by our prosecution bodies, who take far too long to bring negligent employers to, what passes for, justice.

Because, to be bereaved by work is to be a victim of crime.  But to be made to feel like a lesser class of victim.  One where you’re not placed at the heart of the justice process, but left to feel you exist somewhere on the periphery.  To have to garner the strength time and again to face another battle against a justice system, which is meant to be on our side, but which all too often serves to further deepen our trauma.

It’s to question whether you yourself have done enough.  Whether you could have done more to get answers sooner.  To get action quicker. To ensure changes are implemented to prevent the heartbreak of other families like your own. But having to come to terms with the fact this is never within our own power, but reliant on others.  Others who have let us down.

The loss of our loved one’s life set off a chain reaction of change, where the lives we thought we were going to lead are no longer possible.  The wedding day that didn’t happen.  The child who didn’t survive their apprenticeship.  The future mapped out with your partner of 28 years now a solo challenge, rather than a team adventure.  The sibling you can no longer call for advice, or look to for support.

It’s also about facing poverty through the loss of a breadwinner’s income or losing your own job, house, livelihood, as you grieve for your loved one and are unable to work to sustain yourself and your family. Compensation is often not made at all, or is too little, and the benefits system is very harsh and support very scarce. The effects of a work death can resonate painfully through generations.

It’s to feel a devastation you never thought possible.  And other times to feel numb, a nothing-ness, a lack of hope.  When you see another news report of a death due to a so-called “accident” at work, it’s to not just understand what that actually means, but to feel it.

What else is it to be bereaved by work….?

It’s to find lifelong friends you will cherish, all the while wishing you had met in altogether different circumstances.

It’s to find the voice you never knew you had.  The one which, though it may occasionally tremble, steadies itself to assertively speak truth to power. To find that strength you never ever expected to need.

And though you are let down at too many turns, you are lifted by the fortitude and support of others. Like those who work and volunteer in the Hazards movement, Hazards Centres, and charity Scottish Hazards.  Like the trade unionists who help ensure their workplaces are safer and healthier. And like those individual politicians, enforcers, prosecutors and others who do get it, who do understand what we are going through, and who want desperately to bring about the changes we need to see.

We need the employers who do care to guide, educate and cajole those who need woken up to their responsibilities. Laws to be protected. An end to the odious practice of blacklisting. We need enforcement before the fact.  Lessons to be learned, communicated and actioned before loss of life occurs. Penalties that fit the crime. Those bereaved by work to be placed at the heart of the justice system.  And for no other family to have to walk in our families’ shoes.

So, we will continue to tell our loved ones’ stories. We will continue to lay bare our reality.

All in the desperate hope and eternal expectation that we’ll be able to prevent others going through the turmoil of those of us left behind.  Our loved one went to work to make a better life.  Instead, there was loss of life and lives forever altered.

We FACKers pledge to you is to continue to live the International Workers’ Memorial Day mantra each and every day, as we forever remember our dead, and do our damndest to fight like hell for the living.

FACK was established in July 2006, by and for families of people killed by the gross negligence of business employers, to sit with families in the darkest hour and help them speak truth to power, see      Facebook:  Families Against Corporate Killers

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 on 30th 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 Adamson 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

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

c/o GM Hazards Centre/Hazards Campaign, Windrush Millennium Centre,

70 Alexandra Road, Manchester M16 7WD Tel 0161 792 1044

Posters, ribbons and more – get your 28 April campaign gear!

International Workers’ Memorial Day on 28 April 2023 – the biggest event on the trade union safety calendar – is just over a week away. Essential resources, including 28 April purple ribbons, car stickers and ‘Organise!’ posters, bags, t-shirts and hi-vis jackets, are available from the national Hazards Campaign.

Hazards Campaign 28 April #iwmd23 resources

  • Organise! 28 April posters, specify A4 or A3, free plus cost of postage.
  • Purple ribbons, £50/100.
  • Car stickers, single £1, 2-10 50p each, 11-100 30p each.
  • Bags, £5 plus postage.
  • Organise v-neck t-shirts or Hi-viz gilets (sizes S,M, L, XL), £10.

Contact the campaign for discount rates for larger orders. Further details, email Janet Newsham or phone 07734 317158.

Print off order form.  Return order form to: iwmd23, 177 Watling Street Road, Fulwood, Preston PR28AE.

Cheques made payable to ‘Greater Manchester Hazards Centre Ltd’.

BACS payments
Account Name Greater Manchester Hazards Centre Ltd
Sort Code 60 83 01
Account Number 20090443
Bank Name and address Unity Trust Bank,  Nine Brindley place, Birmingham B1 2 HB.

It’s not just our liberties at stake, but our lives!

Press Release: For immediate release – 7.10.22

Today is the ITUC World Day for Decent Work (1).  Decent work is a hallmark of a progressive society, but the Governments actions this week show they don’t want it, wont police it, and thinks workers shouldn’t have the power to defend it.

Workers are facing ever rising, unrelenting workloads, never ending working hours, with emails and phone calls at all times of the day and night, a disappearing work/life balance and hundreds of thousands of workers off sick with mental ill health and long-covid disabilities.

The latest proposed bonfire of employment and health and safety regulations of everything that originated in the EU and the shackling of trade unions, will place workers enslaved in low paid, dangerous unhealthy work at the behest of unscrupulous employers.  At a time when modern slavery is increasing, the 5th richest nation Government could be adding to it.

None of us voted to die at work, but the policies of this government will mean an increasing number of us will.  They will die because they cannot afford to give up work to retire, they will die because of the stress of having to work multiple jobs to pay their mortgages or energy bills, they will die because their employer will not have to assess and control the risks to their health and safety, they will die in their communities from exposure to toxic substances or unleashed viruses.

This Government are choosing not to value the lives of ordinary working people and at the same time ‘raiding’ the public purse to reduce the tax burden on the wealthy, without any scrutiny or electoral mandate.

They are about to plunge us into more despair.  They are coming after our working conditions, our safety at work and our future health.  And if they succeed, they will let bad employers determine the number of working hours people work, whether they will pay for holidays, whether we have maternity leave or sick pay, the ability to retain contracts when our organisations are outsourced, to name a few.  There could be no standard for the PPE provided by employers when we work with hazardous substances, no right to have it provided free by your employer, no minimum standards of welfare at work.  They will literally be able to work us to death!  As Rory O’Neill says in the Hazards Magazine (2) they have ‘plans for a lawless, dangerous and disposable worker UK plc!

At the heart of decent jobs and decent lives, workers need a health and safety system with strong laws, strict enforcement and strong, organised, and active trade unions.


For more information:
Janet Newsham – Chair UK Hazards Campaign

News release: The Hazards Campaign rejects the political hijacking of the HSE

11 September 2022: For immediate release

The Hazards Campaign rejects the political hijacking of the HSE

On the 50th anniversary of the Robens Report it is shameful that the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions has chosen this year to put the final nail in the coffin of tripartism.

The UK Hazards Campaign is deeply concerned at the political hijacking of the Health and Safety enforcement (HSE) authority, which again has rejected a representative nominated from the TUC on to the HSE Board, which replaced the HSC.

The HSE has become an organisation which at worst, no longer operates as a tripartite organisation or at best only pretends to operate as one.  The principles of tripartism were fundamental to ensuring that workers voices are heard and their concerns about health and safety risks are represented at every level of the HSE organisation including board level 1.

The Robens report, which established the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSWA), is 50 this year– It set up the Health and Safety Commission, HSC, to agree any new regulations and oversee the Health and Safety Executive, HSE, enforcement of health and safety at work, on tripartite principles2.

Working effectively with business, workers and government to keep workers safe, no decision could be made without the support of both employers and employee representatives. This meant that any changes to health and safety law were seen to have come about by consensus, achieved through a common purpose of improving health and safety in the workplace.

This can no longer be the case if the Government refuses to accept those people that the TUC or other trade unions with due diligence legitimately nominate.  It is also becoming apparent that the HSE are withdrawing their involvement from the industrial committees, which also operate on a tripartite basis.

The UK Hazards Campaign, urges the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, to reverse this dangerous and politically motivated path and return the HSE to its independent tripartite origins.

Further information:

  1. So much for the Robens vision of health and safety 08 May 2013, By Kevin Rowan
  2. Briefing: Work and Health: 50 years of regulatory failure – IER
  3. Hazards, number 153, 2021 – RUBBED OUT | HSE bosses are the only ones that think it’s doing a good job

For More Information:
Janet Newsham

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:


For more information, press only:
Contact: Janet Newsham
Tel: 07734317158

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
M16 7WD

twitter @hazardscampaign