Hazards conference 2012

23rd National Hazards conference 2012 
31st August– 2nd September, University of Keele

Countering the attack on the safe workplace


Presentations and info from Hazards 2012, more to come

Conference statement • Final Programme • Statements from 3 labour MPs

Friday plenary
‘We Didn’t Vote to Die at Work’ Campaign – ‘Stop it: you’re killing us!’

Eurig Scandrett, Scottish Friends of Bhopal – Presentation
Louise Adamson from Families Against Corporate Killers (FACK) – Presentation • Notes • YouTube
Ivan Timson, UNITE Safety Rep, Becoming a Hazards campaigner Presentation • YouTube

Saturday plenary

Helen Lynn, Alliance for Cancer Prevention, gave Simon Pickvance’s speech as he is unwell. Presentation • YouTube • Notes
Tony Whitston, Chair of Asbestos Victims Support Group Forum Presentation • YouTube
John McClean, Director Health, Safety and Environment GMB
Nobby Styles Award of the Alan 2012 to Nobby Styles, Convenor UNITE NE 10/348 • Grimsby Telegraph • YouTube • Nomination form for 2013

Key note meetings

1) Lofstedt: Friend or Foe? Chair: Caroline Bedale, Speakers: Dave Whyte, Liverpool University/ IER and Hugh Robertson, TUC
2) Sickness is for wimps Chair: Kathy Jenkins, Scottish Hazards Speakers: John Bamford, Hazards Campaign and Robert Baughan, UNISON
3)The case for regulation and enforcement Chair: Ian Tasker, STUC, Speakers: Simon Hester, Chair of Prospect, HSE and Hilda Palmer, Hazards Campaign

All YouTube films by Philip Lewis of Camden UNISON)


Booking form • Sponsorship form • the Alan nomination form


Hazards Conference is the UK’s biggest educational and organising event for trade union safety reps and activists. A mixture of plenary sessions, debates, meetings and a comprehensive workshop programme. Exchange experience and information with delegates from a wide range of sectors and jobs.

The attack on health & safety regulation has continued into 2012. Lord Young was reinstated in 2011, his deregulatory brief re-confirmed. In November, Professor Lofstedt clearly upset his political masters by not quite being the hatchet-man they expected. He didn’t bow to their prejudices, and said that, by and large, the system of health & safety regulation is about right. He also made a positive reference to trade union safety reps, but no recommendation about their activities. The Government then announced their intention to extend the ‘Local Better Regulation Office’ (LBRO) scheme as part of a package of plans to transform front-line enforcement for
businesses. In this way they side-stepped the, for them, disappointingLofstedt report.
In summer 2011, the ‘Transforming Regulatory Enforcement’ consultation. asked businesses to say where reform of enforcement is needed. Responding in December the Government said it wanted business to become more like customers of the enforcement agencies, rather than just being subjected to the enforcement system. So law breakers as “customers” of the policing authority! They want to reduce enforcement and replace it with advice, and promote self-regulation and co-regulation, none of which offer any real protection against employer negligence or wilful disregard. Workers have not been consulted on what they believe would improve regulation.

Meanwhile, Dame Carol Black, appointed to review sickness absence, proposed removing GPs from the process of authorising long-term sickness absence after 4 weeks, and giving that function to a new ‘Independent Assessment Service’. She said that workers exploit the sick pay system, implying they are skivers, and that public sector workers are the worst, and encouraged the government to review public sector sick pay schemes. Such reviews invariably lead to worsening conditions of service.

In January Cameron described health and safety as “an albatross around the neck of British businesses” and pledged to make 2012 not just the year of the Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee, but also “the year we get a lot of this pointless time-wasting out of the British economy and British life once and for all”. He supported the anti-trade union group the (so-called) Trade Union Reform Campaign, and told parliament that paid time-off for union reps in the public sector was a disgraceful waste of public money and would be stopped.

So there’s a lot to find out, discuss and debate, and a lot to do to defend safe
workplaces and our union organisation. Come and learn what you can do.


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