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News Release – Grounding our grannies while white-washing workplace infections!

Hazards Campaign – News Release,

14th October 2020 (No embargo)

Grounding Grannies while white-washing workplace infections
The government’s new three tier system risks penalising the general public while leaving crammed schools, colleges and workplaces packed to the gills without the necessary support and oversight to maintain Covid safety, a campaign group has warned.

There is a recurring narrative by politicians and the media, that the transmissions of Covid-19,  is fuelled by misbehaving families and students shirking their responsibilities to our communities.  This ignores the evidence that workplaces are the major sites of infection and transmission, and this includes thousands of schools that have had to isolate children and staff.  Deaths and infections of workers  in working environments where the risks weren’t controlled are being ignored.

We are continually bombarded with images of students partying, families hugging and kissing but when there is an outbreak in a workplace it is said to be the workers fault because they shared cars or they celebrated together.  Individuals are scapegoated rather than the workplaces that are the cause.

The images of young people in bars, in restaurants, in clubs, in gyms weren’t intended to show the absurdity of opening up these venues or the transmission risks of being indoors without adequate ventilation or a lack of public awareness of aerosol risks, but to add to the narrative that out of control young people were spreading the virus.

All these places, including schools, colleges, universities, sandwich bars, fast food outlets, buses, trains are workplaces.  Workplaces with employers who have a legal responsibility to control the risks to their employees and anyone else who comes into their working environment. (1)

If people have contracted the virus on their premises or as part of their work activities then the employer has not carried out their duty of controlling the risks.  The legislation does say ‘as far as reasonably practicable’ which some say is a get out clause for employers, but they still have a legal duty to identify and assess those risks and put in place suitable and sufficient controls to prevent them and then to inform everyone of the controls that are in place and monitor them.

On the 15/10/20 the Hazards Campaign are organising a zoom on ‘the challenges of Long-Covid’. (2)  They will discuss the long-term ill health that is caused by Covid-19.  Janet Newsham Chair of the Hazards Campaign will say ‘everyone focuses on the deaths caused by Covid-19 but the long-term ill health is just as devastating for many people.  And if these infections were caused in workplaces where the risks of infection were not controlled, then employers are negligent in that duty, liable to compensate and support chronically sick workers and subject to reporting and investigation by the health and safety enforcement authorities.’(3)

‘The local authority and HSE enforcement teams have failed to ensure our workplaces are Covid-Safe (4) which means they have also failed to control the risks for workers and the public.  We need Covid-Safe workplaces.  We need Zero-Covid strategy (5) in place and we need ‘no return to workplaces until this happens’  No-one should be in workplaces where the risks aren’t controlled because Workers Health is Public Health and workplace infections will be transmitted back into our communities and other workplaces – spiralling infections out of control, as has happened.

‘Stop grounding our grannies, demonising our children, and white-washing the infections in our workplaces.’

As the mixed messaging from Government increases, we now know that the Government failed to follow their own scientific committee advice that SAGE gave weeks ago about the need for a National Lock-down and even the Labour Party have now joined the call for clearer rules and a Covid-circuit break to get track and trace in place and functioning.  Workers and others have been repeatedly promised rapid testing and tracing. In the last week or so further failings in this system have been graphically revealed and workers and their families remain at high risk because of these failings.

The Hazards Campaign are clear about the steps necessary to halt the exponential spread of the virus. There should be no return to workplaces, no opening up of workplaces, no workplaces operating where the risks aren’t being controlled and this should be certified by our enforcement authorities who have the regulatory powers to inspect and serve enforcement notices on employers who aren’t carrying out their duties. But this will take more resources, (6) and it needs a Government who are determined to stop the transmission of the virus.

3.   Prof Aigius report Covid-19: statutory means of scrutinizing workers’ deaths and disease
Further Information

For further information contact:
Janet Newsham

Hazards conference 2019 – sponsorship appeal

We are very grateful for the generous support for the  Hazards Conference 2018 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 2019.

Sponsorship is extremely important as it helps keep down the price of the conference to individuals and union branches. Please consider our appeal positively. Details for payment can be found in the Hazards conference 2019 sponsorship appeal PDF.

Feedback from Hazards 2018 was again excellent from the 320 safety reps and activists, around half of whom were new delegates, from all types of workplaces, all unions, and from all over the UK, coming together to discuss ‘Safety Reps @40: Vital to the future of safe and healthy work!’ You can read the Hazards 2018 cnference report here.


Deregulate! Deregulate! Deregulate!

Business pandering government safety cuts will leave a trail of human and economic devastation in their wake

UK National Hazards Campaign warns that you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone as Cameron obeys business buddies in race to slash red tape that puts everyone at risk!

Hazards Campaign spokesperson said today:  “Cameron is blindly following the demented business daleks demanding ‘deregulate, deregulate, deregulate’ (1).  Supporting their friends in the FSB who believe that the USA is a better business model is hardly reassuring when USA workplace death rate is six times higher than the UK!

No-one supports pointless bureaucracy or rules for their own sake.  But much of the ‘red tape’ Cameron is slashing and trashing is not imposed by mindless bureaucrats but carefully thought out, devised, evaluated and agreed by the HSE with industry and unions, to protect not only workers but the public and the environment.  Sending out signal that employers will not be liable for the abuse of workers by customers, will not make them protect

“Cameron prefers to concoct policy in the saloon bar with his corporate cronies on the back of beer mats.  Cameron’s populist lie about health and safety being a ‘burden on business’, ‘an albatross/millstone round neck of business’ and vowing to ‘kill off health and safety culture’ gets short shrift from those who know the truth.  Families of people killed, injured and made sick to death by employers, know that existing rules and enforcement are far too weak, say:

“No-one we love died due to too much regulation and enforcement but due to far too little.  Deregulation and slashing enforcement won’t make workers safer, or protect ordinary people, it’s designed to let corporations and business off the hook.  Don’t be fooled and let regulations go, it’s your choice ‘Red Tape or more bloody bandages’!” (2)  Said Louise Taggart, Families Against Corporate Killers  (FACK) Spokesperson (3)

“Cameron at the behest of his corporate mates has enrolled us in a race to the bottom, to compete with countries with appalling health and safety records such as Bangladesh.  Last year’s garment factory fires and building collapse clearly showed the world that a lack of health and safety  regulation and enforcement brings death and destruction.  Amongst the government’s crazy deregulations , exempting the self-employed, making more exemptions for SMEs, reducing the protections for young people in training placements, and banning preventative inspections in falsely called ‘low risk’ workplaces , are creating two/three tier workforce with so many holes in the once universal health and safety net. It will allow the very many unscrupulous employers to get away with injurying and making ill, the most vulnerable workers. And we will all pay the cost in the end.

“Failure to manage workplace safety and health costs the UK economy between £20 and 40 billion a year (3).  All the evidence from across the world shows that good regulation and strict enforcement lead to economically more successful countries; more innovation that serves ordinary people, saves lives, saves money for businesses, improves health, and builds the economy.  Cameron’s strategy is to serve the interest of the rich and powerful against those of workers based on fairy tales such as the Emperor’s new clothes.  Some of us can see the nakedness of this strategy and the deadly dangers of such a stupid race to the bottom, but others are still seeing invisible posh clothes.

For more information contact Hilda Palmer, Acting Chair of UK National Hazards Campaign:
Tel: 0161 636 7 557 ,  Louise Taggart, Families Against Corporate Killers  Tel : 0781 278 2534

Notes to editors

1.       Hazards Magazine  ‘Business  says Deregulate: the government will obey’

2   It’s your choice: ‘ Red Tape or more bloody bandages’
Hazards blueprint for saner Health and Safety Executive
Plus interview with Rory O’Neil, Hazards Magazine Editor,  by Health and Safety Bulletin:

3.       Families Aganst Corporate  Killers  set up in 2006 by families of people killed by employers negligence  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 January 1998
Mike and Lynne Hutin – son Andrew Hutin 20, killed at work on 8th Nov 2001
Mick & Bet Murphy – son Lewis Murphy 18, killed at work on 21st February 2004
Louise Taggart – 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

4.       Good health and safety is not a ‘burden on business’ it’s a burden on us!
The HSE records the costs of poor health and safety i.e. deaths, injuries and illnesses (over 70% caused by poor management according to the HSE) as £13.8 billion per year at 2010/11 prices. But this does not include the long latency illnesses like cancers.  Each incident fatality costs £1.5 million and each occupational cancer costs over £2.5 million (DEFRA costing). So, even taking HSE’s gross under-estimate of 8,000 work cancer deaths per year would add £20 billion to this total making it nearer £40 billion per year.   Taking Hazards figures of  18,000  occupational cancer deaths p.a.  would make it nearer £60 billion.  Of this cost, according to the HSE: individuals and families harmed pay 57%, the state – us, tax payers, the public purse! – pays 22%, and employers, whose criminal negligence caused the harm, pay only 21% HSE Annual Statistics Report 2012/13:

FACK Says: ‘Don’t be fooled by government lies on health and safety’

7th June 2013
Save Our Safety
Lobby of Parliament on 11th June
Organised by UCATT and UNITE (1)
11am photo call on College Green, Houses of Parliament
Post Lobby Meeting in Committee Room 14,  1pm to 3pm

UCATT and UNITE have called this lobby of Parliament at a time when the government is dismantling one of our fundamental human rights: the right to safe and healthy work (2)

“Don’t be fooled by government lies on health and safety, it isn’t a joke and isn’t a burden, an albatross or a millstone round employers necks, but lack of it is a massive burden on all of us!”  said Linda Whelan, founder member of Families Against Corporate Killers, who is speaking at the meeting. She added:

“By cutting health and safety regulations, inspections and inspectors, the government is putting the lives and safety of so many workers at risk. This is  true not only in construction but also in workplaces that they have wrongly classified as ‘low risk’ such as quarries, farming, docks, the whole of the manufacturing sector, road and air transport, the public sector and more!  FACK knows that health and safety isn’t a joke, it’s about life and death. But many people do not realise that, until someone they love goes to work and never comes home. People aren’t killed because of too much regulation and enforcement, but because of not enough! The only people who benefit from removing laws and scrutiny are unscrupulous employers. Employers will not necessarily look after workers health, safety and welfare unless the law says they have to, and inspectors check-up to make sure they do. Many people laugh about health and safety and think getting rid of it will be good for us all.  This is not true. We want the public and MPs to learn from our bitter experience that health and safety is not meaningless red tape but a vital safety net that protects all the people you love at work. We don’t want you crying later when it’s gone.

“Deaths at work will only increase if we let Cameron get away with trashing health and safety. Instead of cuts to the regulation, enforcement and inspection system, the government should value and respecting workers and strengthening their protection at work. The government is lying about the burden on business, lack of health and safety is a massive burden on us, in heartache and lifelong loss, but it also cost the public purse far more than good health and safety does.(3)

FACK wants to make sure a message goes out loud and clear to negligent employers that if you put someone’s life or safety at risk, then the punishment will fit the crime.
No-one voted for this government so they could help bad employers kill us in our work place. On behalf of FACK, my message to the government today is:

Regulations don’t  kill jobs but lack of regulation does kills workers,  so ‘Stop deregulating, you are killing us’“

For more information contact FACK 0161 636 7557 or 079298 00240; Linda Whelan 07919334793

Notes for editors

1. For information on the Save Our Safety Lobby see UNITE and UCATT websites: ;

2. We Didn’t Vote to Die at Work Campaign : Stop it You’re KiIling us! leaflet summarizing government attacks, lies and the truth:

Hazards Magazine:
Hazards Magazine

3. Cost of the harm caused by poor workplace health and safety

The HSE records the costs of poor health and safety i.e. deaths, injuries and illnesses (over 70% caused by poor management according to the HSE) as £13.4 billion per year, but this does not include the long latency illnesses like cancers. Each incident fatality costs £1.5 million and each occupational cancer costs £2.5 million (DEFRA costing). So even taking HSE’s gross under estimate of 8,000 work cancer deaths per year would add £20 billion to this total making it nearer £40 billion per year.  Taking Hazards figures would make it nearer £60 billion.

Of this cost, according to the HSE, individuals and families pay 55%, the state – us, tax payers!- pay 24%, and employers whose criminal negligence caused the harm, pay only 22%
See HSE Annual Statistics Report  2011/12:

Who bears the burden? We do: Real Burdens:


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

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 January 1998
Mike and Lynne Hutin – son Andrew Hutin 20, killed at work on 8th Nov 2001
Mick & Bet Murphy – son Lewis Murphy 18, killed at work on 21st February 2004
Louise Taggart – 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 2002
Dorothy & Douglas Wright – son Mark Wright 37, killed at work on 13th April 2005

See  for the stories above.

Tackling occupational cancer should mean preventing it, not taking a ‘3 monkeys’ approach

Tackling occupational cancer should mean preventing it, not taking a ‘3 monkeys’ approach

Photo-op 8.30am Thursday 14th March, British Library, Gate No 5 Midland Road.

Campaigners against occupational and environmental cancer will hold a photo op outside the British Library, HSE conference on Tackling Occupational Diseases.  Women’s work-cancer is almost totally ignored by the HSE so campaigners will leave bras behind as a protest against the denial, delay and dithering that will kill more women from breast cancer especially.

Government, employers and the Health and Safety Executive are consigning thousands of workers to occupational cancer by their ‘3 monkeys’ approach to ‘tackling’ occupational disease.  Occupational cancer kills up to 18,000 men and women each year (1) yet action on prevention has been side-lined in favour of yet more research, and still work-related cancer in women is virtually ignored condemning more women to suffer and die.

HSE’s old fashioned, outdated approaches miss many modern workplace risks but especially ignore women’s cancers, specifically breast cancer, as researchers have recently shown (2, 3).  Campaigners will reinforce this point by leaving their bras outside the British Library as a protest against this approach.

“The Hazards Campaign has accused the HSE of dithering, denying and delaying over occupational cancer, and employers and government are also guilty of doing almost nothing on prevention for all work-cancers.  But this ‘3 monkeys’ approach is especially deadly for work-related cancer in women which has been completely ignored, under-researched and so much less likely to be targeted for preventative action.”  Said Hilda Palmer of the Hazards Campaign.

 “Occupational and environmental breast cancer is largely preventable and we hope this strategic meeting organised by the HSE will call for that.  For female cancers, specifically breast cancer, not to act now in a precautionary way, applying existing knowledge to reduce the occupational and environmental risk factors could be viewed as an act of wilful neglect.”  Said Helen Lynn from the Alliance for Cancer Prevention.

Traditional approaches to try and regulate the amount of exposure to certain chemicals in occupational and environmental settings are unworkable in light of what we know about chemicals which interfere with our endocrine systems (the body’s messenger system).  These endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are intrinsically linked with cancer and act singularly and in combination to increase the risk of breast and other cancers.

WHO estimates that as much as 24% of human diseases and disorders are at least partly due to environmental factors including chemical exposures. The report states: “Many endocrine diseases and disorders are on the rise and the speed at which they are increasing rules out genetic factors as the sole plausible explanation” (4)

Recent research highlighting excesses of breast cancer in occupations such as agricultural, automotive plastics, and food canning industries found women workers had elevated breast cancer risk, up to 5 times higher than the controls in certain sectors such as automotive plastics (3)

And yet another paper on the issue stated: “Primary prevention of cancer of environmental and occupational origin reduces cancer incidence and mortality, and is highly cost effective; in fact, it is not just socially beneficial because it reduces medical and other costs, but because it avoids many human beings suffering from cancer.” (5)

The United Steelworkers union in the US has acted immediately on this research by alerting their members and calling for substitution, chemical law reform and health and safety improvements.(6)

Yet the UK cancer establishment continued to assure women there is no need to worry and falls back on the archaic and limited risk reduction strategy of better diet, more exercise and limiting alcohol. (7)
Hilda Palmer of the Hazards campaign says: “We want this HSE meeting to make publicly explicit the extent, and preventable nature, of all occupational cancers; that prevention must be prioritised by government, employers and the HSE; that exposure to all cancer risks must be eliminated or reduced to as low a level as possible, and that women’s cancer risks must now be targeted for prevention”

Helen Lynn. Alliance for Cancer Prevention 07960033687

Hilda Palmer. Hazards Campaign: 079298 00240

Notes to Editor:
1. Burying the evidence, Hazards Magazine.
2.  This man knows all about cancer Article on the work of Simon Pickvance. Hazards 117, Rory O’Neill
3.  J. T. Brophy et al., Breast Cancer Risk in Relation to Occupations with Exposure to Carcinogens and Endocrine Disruptors: A Canadian Case-Control Study, Environmental Health 11(87) (2012): 1-17, doi: 10.1186/1476-069X-11-87
4.  WHO/UNEP report on the State of the Science for Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals Report.
5.  Espina C, Porta M, et al. Environmental and Occupational Interventions for Primary Prevention of Cancer: A Cross-Sectorial Policy Framework. Environ Health Perspect. Advanced publication here
6.  United Steelworkers Hazards Alert on occupational breast cancer
7.  Does your job increase your breast cancer risk? Breakthrough comments on the recent researchpublished in Canada that links occupation to an increased risk of developing breast cancer. Here

For more information contact:
Hazards Campaign – 0161 636 7557