Tag Archives: Featured

Hazards Conference 2020 goes online: Viral Action – 1 August

Join us for the Hazards 2020 Conference online on 1st August!

Sign up , circulate to safety reps and activists and let’s get a great turn out for the first ever Hazards Conference online via Zoom!

Workers health and safety is paramount now and must be central to organising safe and healthy workplaces to create the decent jobs for decent lives for all as we rebuild a better future, no going back to neoliberal deadly business as usual normal.

SIGN UP ON EVENTBRITE 

This unique Zoom based online conference starts with an international plenary and is followed by four specific subject workshops with brilliant speakers and experts throughout the day.

Each Zoom workshop will start at the advertised time and will provide an opportunity to join in the discussions and together help formulate action plans to direct Hazards Campaign work priorities for the next 12 months.

10.00 – 11.30 Plenary – with international speakers on Covid-19 and the impact on workers

12.00 – 13.00  Safety reps taking the lead! – during and after Covid-19

13.30– 14.30  Fighting inequality in health and safety

15.00 – 16.00  Mental Health and Covid-19

16.30- 17.30 Toxics Out! Air pollution, just transition after Covid-19

To register please use the eventbrite link:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/hazards-online-conference-2020-viral-action-tickets-113872190788

DONATIONS
The conference is free of charge but if you, or your branch/organisation, would like to donate to the Hazards Campaign please pay by bank transfer to:
Name: Hazards 2020
Account number: 20090430
Sort Code: 608301
Bank: Unity Trust Bank, Four Brindleyplace, Birmingham, B1 2JB. Ref: Your organisation/name

Contact Janet Newsham / 07734 317 158 for more information.

On behalf of the Hazards Conference Organising Committee

 

 

 

28 April: Hazards Campaign call to action

Workers’ Memorial Day 2020

Normal public events for April 28th won’t be possible because of measures to contain Coronavirus/Covid-19. But marking International Workers’ Memorial Day has never been more important for workers’ lives and health and those of our families and communities.

Some workplace events may still go ahead but we are taking #IWMD20 online, developing a social media campaign that we want everyone to join in. This will keep the day and its perennial aims on the public and political agenda with the twin slogans to ‘Remember the Dead and Fight for the Living’. This year’s international theme has been changed by ITUC to ‘Stop the Pandemic at work’.

The Hazards Campaign is going ahead with: ‘Unions fighting for hearts and minds’ incorporating the fight against Coronavirus.

Hazards Campaign – Final briefing and call to action document

  1. WINDOW DISPLAYS Put up a Heartbroken poster – order or print one off- make a window display! See below.
  2. POST SELFIES Post a selfie with Heartbroken poster, or your window poster display, add a message, post on social media #IWMD20 or send to us
  3. ORGANISE A MEETING Organise a meeting – on-line or in the workplace if it can be done safely.
  4. USE OUR FIGURES NOT HSE’S Use ‘The Whole Story’ on death caused by work not HSE partial statistics [Updated April 2020]
  5. MAPPING ACTION Mapping #IWMD20: tell us what you are doing and about workers memorials near you and we will map them.
  6. CAMPAIGN ON SOCIAL MEDIA Create a huge wave of #IWMD20 tweets and posts on social media – download sample graphics here
  7. HAZARDS FILM Watch and send out the Hazards Campaign Film for #IWMD20 ‘Fighting for Hearts and Minds – forthcoming.
  8. LIGHT A CANDLE Light a candle in the window on 28th at 9pm to remember all workers killed by #COVID and other work hazards – but be safe.
  9. MEMORIALS ONLINE Online memorials—post photos and details of those killed at and by work to us or direct to Twitter and Facebook.
  10. GLOBAL SOLIDARITY Use the #IWMD20 for national and international solidarity with our union colleagues all across the world. And check out the ITUC/Hazards magazine global hub for international activities.

Resources to print out for your window display 

A manifesto for a health and safety system fit for workers: Decent jobs and decent lives

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:

  1. End deregulation and restore regulation and enforcement as a social good
  2. Develop a health and safety system based on prevention, precaution and participation of strong active unions.
  3. 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 info@hazardscampaign.org.uk

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

Nine demands for organising around safety: Hazards Campaign discussion document

The Hazards Campaign has developed a  safety campaigning document  based around nine major organising demands. It is a working document intended to stimulate discussion, educate, agitate, organise and politicise health and safety.

 “It is a living, working document.”

Please participate, contribute to improving it and use it to stop work killing, injuring and making us ill. If you have any comments or suggestions please add them to this post or contact us by email. 

The nine major demands are:

  1. Full enforcement and extension of the role and statutory functions of TU Safety Reps
  2. Improvement and strengthening of Health, Safety and Welfare Regulations
  3. Enforcement of Health, Safety and Welfare Regulations
  4. Just treatment for victims of health and safety crime
  5. Decent work (good pay and conditions) for all workers
  6. Government  to strengthen and promote good health, safety and welfare in communities and workplaces
  7. Strongest level of International regulations and standards on occupational health, safety and welfare
  8. Strengthen and increase participation in International Workers Memorial Day
  9. Increase the reach of our message  and demands

Read the full document ‘Hazards Campaign organising demands’

Hazards Conference 2018 report

Safety Reps @ 40: Still Vital to the Future of Safe and Healthy Work!

Hazards Conference 2018

The 29th Hazards Conference was held at Keele University, 27–29 July, 2018. It is the UK’s biggest and best educational and organising event for trade union safety reps and activists. It consisted of a mixture of plenary sessions, meetings and a comprehensive workshop programme. Delegates took the opportunity to exchange experience and information with, and learn from, safety reps
and activists from other unions, sectors and jobs across the UK. Hazards 2018  addressed some of the most important issues facing workers providing practical skills, improving knowledge and giving delegates a new confidence to conduct their roles in the workplace.

Find below a full report of the conference compiled by Janet Newsham and Hilda Palmer – it includes numerous links to course materials, presentations and resources.

Conference programme  • YouTube channel  •  Twitter #Haz2018

Friday, 27 July

Friday Evening Plenary Session 

The Hazards Conference opened with a great session on the Friday evening, when more than 320 delegates from all over the UK, from different industrial sectors, different workplaces and different trade unions registered and attended the first plenary at this year’s Hazards Conference.

Each delegate received a bag full of important and relevant information and the bag proudly proclaimed ‘You gotta fight for the right to safety!’ Included in the bag were the Hazards Campaign leaflets on supporting solidarity action with ‘Fast food workers’ and ‘Care workers’.  Also a newly developed leaflet on SRSC Regs – a sort of mini brown book with information about key dates, links and contacts which reps can hang around their necks on lanyards and further copies can be ordered from GMHC – janet@gmhazards.org.uk or 0161 636 7558.

The Hazards Campaign is developing a charter and the first draft of the charter was shared with delegates for further comment.

Finally along with important information from campaign groups, trade unions, there was also the latest copy of  Hazards Magazine.

Branches are encouraged to subscribe by emailing sub@hazards.org

This is one of the most important publications for health and safety reps to keep up with the latest developments, news and topics.

Finally, all delegates received a Hazards 2018 commemorative badge.

The Falling Tears stained glass window

The Friday plenary was chaired by Doug Russell USDAW National Health and Safety Officer; we were moved to tears by Louise Taggart whose brother sadly died as a result of being electrocuted at work.  Louise is a founder member of Families Against Corporate Killing (FACK), an organisation set up in 2006 to fight for justice for all families and for safer workplaces for everyone.  Louise’s brother Michael Adamson was killed at work in 2005 aged 26 years.  She said she wanted to make his life count and to stop anyone else suffering the way her family had.  Louise used the Hazards Campaign: The Whole Story and gave many examples of the deaths of people who are invisible in the HSE figures, because the HSE do not include them as workplace deaths in the records that they count.  These include people who are killed in road traffic incidents, in air crashes, those killed at sea, those who die as a result of suicide which is workplace related.  And the thousands who die as a result of illnesses because of their work or workplace.  This was such a moving and powerful contribution and there were not many dry eyes in the hall at the end of her contribution.

Our international speaker was Asli Odman from Istanbul Workers’ Health and Work Safety Assembly.  Because of the volatile political situation in Turkey, we were uncertain Asli would be able to leave Turkey to come to the UK to speak, so her contribution was even more valued and welcome.  Asli spoke about the large numbers of workers dying at work and the work they are doing in Turkey to record deaths and investigate patterns and causes.  She explained that there is a problem getting information from the Government and their organisation has to scan local and national press to find out about the work related deaths.  They also actively support workers seeking justice.  Everyday there are at least 20/30 deaths due to work related reasons which Asli described as being like a war in workplaces.  They call their work related deaths ‘work related murders’!  Last year 2006 people were murdered and this included 453 in the construction industry.  She also explained that women are largely invisible in the figures because their work is often not registered as being done in a workplace and therefore injuries are not recorded.  Asli said that one of the reasons for poor health and safety in the workplace is because of a decreasing number of trade union members.  Membership of unions has dropped from 24% to 4% in the last 30 years.  Annually they produce a book detailing the deaths of workers.  Finally every month they hold a vigil to all those workers who have been killed.  Asli explained that she has been inspired by Hazards Magazine, International Workers Memorial Day and Families Against Corporate Killing.

Steve Tombs our final speaker on Friday evening spoke passionately about why Grenfell Tower tragedy is social murder.  He said that Grenfell is a symbol of the consequences of deregulation, austerity, cuts and capitalism’s contempt.  Steve spoke about the convictions which have already taken place because of Grenfell.  There have been 7 and are nothing to do with the fire.  He spoke about the gap between rich and poor.  The people still waiting to be rehoused despite promises, the physical, emotional, psychological, cultural and financial harm being done to those affected by the fire.  He spoke about the long term systematic attack on regulation which Governments must have known would consequentially result in death.  It was foreseeable and that therefore this is social murder.

Delegates at the Hazards 2018 conference stood united in solidarity with all the victims of the Grenfell Tower tragedy fighting for justice and also with the Fire Brigades Union members being scrutinised unfairly in the public inquiry.  We demand that those who are responsible for the deaths, injuries and continued trauma of families, friends, neighbours and firefighters are held accountable.  Those responsible for the deregulation of fire safety, the lack of enforcement of building regulations, those who treated residents of Grenfell Tower with total disregard for their safety and welfare and those whose inhumanity created the foreseen tragedy of the fire.  We demand justice for Grenfell!

Friday plenary speakers  – Videos and PowerPoints

See all the conference videos on the Hazards Conference 2018 YouTube Channel

Saturday 28 July

A day packed with workshops, meetings and campaign meetings with the evening free for network and discussion.  The day began early with two workshops followed by a main meeting and then a campaign meeting.

Saturday – Workshops

  1. (a) Reps Functions and employers duties, Julie Weekes
    (b) Reps Functions and employers duties, Michelle Marshall
  2. Safety Committees: what do we need? Alan McShane
  3. Resources and creative action for safety reps, Jawad Qasrawi
    Workshop materials: Road Block – Strength in numbersUseful resourcesPlan a campaign – Case histories – Get Mapping
  4. Supporting health and safety reps, Joan McNulty
    Workshop materials: Workshop 4 Supporting Health and Safety Reps
  5. Workplace inspections, Alan Moss and Vincent Borg
  6. Investigating incidents and injuries, Neil Hope-Collins
  7. Identifying Hazards/Risk, Hierarchy of control, Tony Whelan
    Workshop materials: Workshop 7 Remove the Hazard Prevent the Risk, various documents
  8. Violence faced by workers, Doug Russell
    Workshop materials: Workshop 8 Violence various documents loViolence links
  9.  Fire risk Inspections, Billy Coates
    Workshop materials: Workshop 9 Fire Risk notes – Fire safety advice – Fire Scotland Act 2005 dutyholder info
  10. Air Pollution – external and internal, Adam Lincoln and Graham Petersen. Workshop materials: Air Pollution Campaign Charter
  11. Driving for a living, Tony Pedel and Andy Hickerman
    Workshop materials: Driving for a living resources and notes
  12. New technology and new ways of working, John James
    Workshop materials: New technology and new ways of working
  13. Sacked for capability, Chris Sheehy
  14. Resisting resilience and Individual well-being schemes, Dan Shears. Workshop materials:  Hazards Magazine Resilience Article – Stronger unions, Resilience gets nastier
  15. Getting enforcement to work for us,  Chris Warburton
    Workshop materials: Getting enforcement to work for us
  16.  Intensification of work and workplace bullying, Tracey Harding
    Workshop materials: Workshop 16 Intensification of work resources
  17. Challenging work related stress – mapping and the management standards, Paul Holleran and Cath Roberts
    Workshop materials: HSE Risk assessments and Management Standards – Man Standards Stress – TUC HSE tackling workplace stress
  18. Precarious Work, Barry Faulkner

Saturday  – Meetings

Meeting 1: From menstruation to menopause! Why do we need a gender sensitive approach to occupational safety and health.
Chair: Tracey Harding – Meeting 1 – Links
Speakers: Lynsey Mann and Andrea Oates – more

Meeting 2: How do we challenge the consequences of privatisation, commercialisation and marketisation of the deregulation agenda and the selective enforcement of health and safety laws?
Chair: Hilda Palmer – Meeting 2 Report
Speakers: Neil Hope-Collins and Steve Tombs

Meeting 3: Why is transparency in the supply chain necessary in advancing the health, safety and welfare of workers both nationally and internationally? 
Chair: Sara Marsden
Speakers: Kathy Jenkins – Meeting 3 report, Stirling Smith – more and Asli Odman

Meeting 4: Is mental ill health a consequence of the intensification of working practices and bad management in our workplaces and what should we do about it? 
Chair: Ian Tasker
Speakers: Dan Shears – more, Joan McNulty – more and Adam Lincoln – more

Meeting 1: From Menstruation To Menopause with the GMB

Saturday – Campaign Meetings

Campaign meeting 1: Climate Change and Air Pollution
Speakers: Adam Lincoln and Graham Petersen

Campaign meeting 2: Why should Trade Unions use health and safety as an organising tool?
Chair: Janet Newsham – meeting report
Speakers: Neil Hope-Collins, Ian Hodson – YouTube and Ali  Waqaar

Campaign meeting 3: International solidarity to combat attacks on workers: lives and health
Speakers: Kathy Jenkins – meeting report, Sara Marsden and Asli Odman

Campaign meeting 4: Banishing asbestos from our workplaces and communities
Chair:  Philip Lewis
Speakers:  Harminder Bains – meeting summary with links plus appeal letter, John Flanagan and Sophie Ward – A healthy education

Campaign meeting 5: How can the law support workers improve health and safety at work? 
Chair: Barry Faulkner
Speakers: Michael Newman – presentation and Satinder Bains

Campaign meeting 6: Work-Related Death
Chair: Hilda Palmer – meeting report
Speaker:  Keith Cundall – presentation 

Sunday 29 July

Sunday Closing Plenary

Sunday was a ‘barn storming’ morning with inspirational, interesting and dynamic speakers.

Although on the face of it, 5 is a lot of speakers – they were all great to listen to, they held our attention and the two hours passed as though it had been just minutes.  Each speaker received a standing ovation and the audience was mesmerised and listened intently to each individual contribution, laughing where appropriate, indignant where there was cause and overall inspired by the lessons, leaving ready to challenge and improve the health and safety in their workplaces and provide solidarity to those in other unions and other workplaces.

Sunday began with a presentation by Hilda Palmer to Ian Draper of the Hazards Campaign Silver badge in recognition of his work in the UK Stress Network and his work on behalf of the Hazards Campaign in the European Work Hazards Network.  Ian then drew the raffle for the Leigh Day IPad.

Janet Newsham introduced the session by saying that the conference was more than any other trade union conference and that she hoped everyone felt that they belonged to the health and safety family of the Hazards Campaign.  A family with a common aim of keeping our friends and colleagues safe at work and with a network that extends beyond borders to sister organisations in places like Turkey, beyond sectors, industries, companies and organisations and brings everyone together to keep us all safe at work.  Janet referred to the speech Hilda Palmer had made previously when she said health and safety was all about love and that no one should suffer the heartache that Louise Taggart had so movingly spoken about at the Friday plenary session.  No one should suffer never seeing their loved ones again because of the negligence and total disregard of workers safety.  And also the safety of our friends and families as they sleep in their homes, eat out or enjoy their short period of leisure.

Kevin Rowan said that no one else does the role of health and safety reps.  He said that if every rep carried out just one inspection a year that would be 100,000 inspections.  The HSE carry out just 20,000 inspections.  And of those they find 10,000 serious breaches!  In a recent roadside inspection of lorries, 90% of the lorries inspected were not loaded correctly.  Kevin said that Trade Unions have a legitimate voice and we need to champion our successes more.

Audrey White showed a clip from a film that was made about her with Glenda Jackson playing her part.  It was about the sexual harassment of 4 women shop assistants when she was a manager at Lady at Lord John in Liverpool and her subsequent dismissal for challenging him.  Audrey’s story is inspiring; she went on strike supported by local T&G trade union members from the docks and road transport.  She picketed the store and eventually after escalating the action won her case.  Audrey spoke about why sexual harassment is a health and safety issue and the continuing need to challenge it.

Ali Waqaar, a McDonalds McStriker spoke about the health and safety challenges for young workers and in particular the dire conditions that many fast food workers are facing in ‘warzone’ like conditions from overwhelming queues of people, violence, drunkenness, and the consequential burns, injuries and stress caused to the workers.  He accused McDonalds of victimisation and the need for workers to join trade unions and challenge these unacceptable conditions.  Ali described himself as a ‘warrior poet’ – he said working in McDonalds was like the current in the ocean – always moving, always asked to do something, lift something, orders flooding through.

Dave Smith spoke about the importance of collective action.  Dave writes a regular column, Organising 101, in Hazards Magazine which illustrates collective and creative action that could be taken to challenge unsafe and unhealthy working practices.  He spoke about some of the challenges he had faced in the construction industry where in the 70’s one construction worker died every day and now 38 deaths a year from incidents and we can celebrate our role in that decline in deaths.  He emphasised the need to continue to hold these companies to account.  He said it was never about one person but always about the collective and that we are on the side of the angels.

Ian Hodson gave a brilliant speech to end the conference.  He spoke about the importance of not blaming migrant workers for deteriorating pay and conditions at work.  He thanked the Hazards Campaign for keeping health and safety at the top of trade unions agendas when health and safety was being attacked, deregulated and undermined.  Ian recognised the important role of health and safety reps and trade union activists and said that we will make a difference in our workplaces if we stand together and work collectively.

The conference closed at 12.00pm.  There has been some great feedback: one or two issues to improve on for next year and some great suggestions to consider, but overall summed up by one new delegate as ‘First Hazards experience did not disappoint + would definitely return again. A must for safety reps!’

A final thanks to all the staff at Keele for their support, patience and response to our many requests and challenges. A big thanks to all the GMHC staff for organising, administrating and delivering the conference.  Thanks to all the volunteers who run the registration desk, help, support people with access needs and generally run to respond to delegates needs.  Thanks to the workshop, meeting and campaign meeting speakers and tutors and for the plenary speakers who have inspired and challenged us all.  Thanks to our photographers, and video recorders: Jawad, Nick and Cath. A special thanks to all the Trade Unions – nationally, regionally, at branch and workplace, Trade Union Councils, Hazards Centres, Solicitors and other campaigning organisations and individuals for supporting and sponsoring the conference.  Finally, thanks to the hundreds of delegates for attending, contributing, networking and sharing their knowledge, challenges and successes with other delegates.

YouTube and PowerPoint resources from the Sunday Plenary

See all the conference videos on the Hazards Conference 2018 YouTube Channel

Death at work trend going upwards yet deadly deregulation still remains government obsession

The latest HSE provisional figures  for workplace fatal injuries in Great Britain show 144 fatally injured between 1 April 2017 and 31 March 2018 which is nine more lives lost in preventable incidents than the year before 2016/17.

Coming a year after the Grenfell fire, and just before the 30th anniversary of the Piper Alpha fire which killed 167 workers, the upward trend is worrying.  The Cullen Report into the Piper Alpha disaster led to tighter regulations and enforcement of fire safety offshore.  Health and safety regulations written in the blood of the Piper Alpha workers undoubtedly saved many lives over the years but the lessons were not learned across all industries and could have prevented Grenfell .

In fact the need for strong fire safety laws, standards and enforcement has been totally rejected by governments intent on cutting regulations on fire safety to spare the ‘burden on business’.  This obsession with deregulating has shifted the burden to us, to workers, and the residents of Grenfell and other high rise tower blocks

Work deaths were dropping steadily up to 2010 when the Tory/Lib Dem coalition turbo charged deregulation with the ‘Red Tape Challenge’ and attacks on HSE, but have plateaued since.  Now the trend is going in wrong direction. Work deaths are going up while the government obsession with deregulation is just as strong and just as deadly.  Anecdotal reports from offshore workers show they fear things are going backwards in terms of safety offshore, and fear that, as at Piper Alpha, profits are being put before workers’ lives.

Significantly HSE’s fatality figures show that 40% of the deaths were to workers aged 60 or over while this group only make up 10% of the workforce. The rate of fatal injury rises steeply from the 55-59 years age group, and is highest in the 65+ age group where it is almost five times the rate for all ages. This raises questions about the lack of management of risks to ageing workers, and also that the increase in state pension age means many more people will die at work.  Agriculture which has the oldest workforce has the highest rate of fatalities at 18 times the average for all work.

Waste and recycling has a fatality rate 16 times the average, and has a low level of unionisation which is known to make work safer, and employs a larger proportion of more vulnerable migrant workers.

Construction still has a higher than average death rate at around four times the average and killed the largest number of workers at 38 for 2017/18.

But HSE official ‘144 killed by work’ is only the tip of the iceberg which we estimate at more like 140 a day dying from work! Hazards Campaign’s report The Whole Story  explains that the  2017/18 144 worker deaths reported by the HSE plus another 100 members of the public is pretty horrifying but isn’t even the full total of those killed while working, let alone all those killed by work illnesses and dying often years later.

The HSE only counts those killed at work in incidents which are reportable to HSE and Local Authorities under RIDDOR .  It excludes all those killed while at work on the roads, at sea and in the air – as their report makes clear in the  Technical Note on page 13.  It also excludes work-related suicides, which are not reportable under RIDDOR and are not even investigated. Although HSE records 100 members of the public killed, it does not add them to the total and report them.  It does not include the 72 people killed at Grenfell arguably due to the work-activity of refurbishing which turned it into a death trap.

These HSE statistics only refer to fatalities in incidents at work, not due to illnesses, but they are frequently reported as a total death caused by work figure.  To the totals of around 1,500 killed by work-related incidents, must be added the estimated 50,000 dying from disease caused by poor working conditions.

Evidence is piling up that shows what makes work safer and reduces deaths is strong unions, strict enforcement and strong, active unions  . To reverse the upward trend in preventable deaths caused by work, the Hazards Campaign calls for the strict enforcement of laws and employers duties to workers, stronger laws, repealing of anti trade union laws and more rights for workers to know the risk they face, to enable participation in workplace health and safety, and the right to refuse dangerous work.   The Hazards Campaign calls for an end to deregulation of the protective health and safety system which has been fully and publicly exposed as deadly by the Grenfell fire . We call for an end to the government enabled downward slide into a third world, informal precarious economy which is bad for workers, bad for the economy, everyone.

Every day this comes to about 140 people killed because of work.

Further information

Louise Taggart recently voted Most Influential Health and Safety Person at SHP Expo illustrates ‘ The Whole Story’ in a soap box talk.

28 April – Unions make work safer

28 April Hazards Campaign poster – Unions make work safer

Hazards Campaign has produced the two posters below to mark International Workers’ Memorial Day. A4 and A3 versions – ideal for demos, vigils, noticeboards and meetings – can be ordered  here. Free to unions and campaigners (plus postage) .

Details of UK-wide 28 April activities can be found here.
Global activities are listed on the ITUC/Hazards 28april.org website.

 

 

ePostcard campaign: Tell Theresa May “Enough is enough”

To coincide with  the national Hazards Conference 2017 (28-30 July) the Hazards Campaign has launched an ePostcard Campaign to tell the Prime Minister that “Enough is enough.”

As the nation watched in horror as fire ripped through Grenfell Tower, questions about government culpability were being asked. The Conservatives have discarded critical fire, building, product, environmental and workplace safety protections and shackled and starved regulators. A government with a criminal disregard for human life has now been left with blood on its hands.

The Hazards Campaign warned the government repeatedly that its ideological obsession with cutting red tape is a deadly mistake. After the Grenfell disaster the Hazards Campaign says: “Enough is enough. Stop undermining the laws that protect us.”

Click here to send the Prime Minister the Enough is enough epostcard 

Printed copies of the postcard will be also made available at the 28-30 July Hazards 2017 conference – alternatively you can write to the Hazards Campaign

Background  Tower block inferno must mean an end to the Tory deregulation fetish, Hazards magazine, 138 July 2017

Hazards conference 2017 programme

Hazards 2017 Programme – Organising health, safety and welfare in an insecure world

Friday 28th July

13.00 – 19.30                      Delegates arrival and Registration

Choose and sign-up for ONE Saturday Campaign meeting at Registration  Listed here.

17.00 – 19.30                       Evening Meal

19.30 – 21.00                       Opening Plenary in Westminster Theatre

Chair:  Doug Russell, USDAW; opening remarks  Speakers: Janet Newsham, Hazards Campaign: Welcome and Conference arrangements; Jessica Martinez, Director National COSH, USA; Dan Shears, GMB; Tracey Seward, FACK;   Mick Lancaster GMB/FACK

Saturday 29th July

07.30 – 9.00                            Registration for later arrivals/non-residential delegates

07.00 – 08.45                          Breakfast

09.00 – 10.30                          First Workshop Session

10.30– 11.00                           Tea/Coffee Break

11.00 – 12.30                          Second Workshop Session

12.30 – 14.00                           Lunch

14.00 – 15.45                          Three Meetings

  1. Challenging the individual therapy view versus collective action to prevent work causing mental ill-health
    Chair:  Hugh Robertson, TUC; Speaker: Paul Maloney,  Psychologist,  author of ‘The Therapy Industry’
  2. Towards zero work-related cancer Chair: Kathy Jenkins, Scottish Hazards; Speakers:  Helen Lynn Alliance for Cancer Prevention;  Susan Murray UNITE
  3. Using new methods of organising on health and safety Chair: Janet Newsham, GM Hazards Centre; Speakers: Barry Faulkner, UNITE; Gareth Lane BFAWU;  Michael Newman, Leigh Day;  Bryan Simpson,  Better than Zero.

15.45 – 16.00                           Tea/Coffee Break

16.00 – 17.30                           Campaign Meetings   – Room allocation signs are displayed at Registration

19.00 – 20.30                             Dinner          

Sunday 30th July

07.30 – 09.15                          Breakfast

Clear rooms- bring cases to secure room in registration area

10.00 – 12.00                           Closing Plenary in Westminster theatre

Chair: Hazards Campaign:  ‘Enough is Enough: End deregulation now !

Speakers: Matt Wrack, General Secretary, FBU, Hazards Campaign; Others tbc;

12.00 – 13.30                          Packed Lunch – eat with us or take away & depart

Don’t forget to complete an evaluation form and leave it at registration.

27th to 29th July Hazards 2018 at Keele University

Leave a self-addressed envelope at registration to be kept informed.

And check on Hazards Campaign website: http://www.hazardscampaign.org.uk   #Haz2017


29 July Campaign Meetings 16.00 – 17.30

Choose ONE and then Sign up at Registration

  1. Internnal solidarity to combat attacks on workers; lives and health

Main health and safety  problems facing workers worldwide including Brexit, CETA and the alphabet soup of other toxic ‘free trade;’ treaties Developing Global Occupational Safety and Health Networks GOSH to fight back.

Chair: Kathy Jenkins, Scottish Hazards; Speakers: Jessica Martinez, USA National COSH

  1. Campaigning against Asbestos in schools, in all workplaces, in UK and globally

Update on campaigning locally, nationally and globally to get asbestos banned globally, to get asbestos removed from schools and other workplaces and for better treatment and compensation for sufferers.

Chair:  Philip Lewis LASAG and LHC; Speakers Sarah Lyons, Joint Union Asbestos Committee   (JUAC)/NUT; Harminder Bains, Leigh Day Solicitors; Graham Dring, Chair of Asbestos Victims            Support             Groups

  1. Update on the legal state of health and safety

Recent legal changes to legal aid, tribunals, personal injury/ work-death, stress cases, TU Bill, and their implications for workers and union safety reps.

Chair: tbc; Speakers: Satinder Bains and Keith Cundall, Irwin Mitchell

  1. Dogs can be dangerous

Raising awareness of  the hazards of dogs to workers who call or enter a premises, the preventative measures developed jointly CWU and Royal Mail to reduce the risk – prevent serious injuries or death. What union safety reps can do in discussions with their employers to improve policies or improve them to protect workers.

Chair: Lynsey Mann, GMB:  Speakers Andrew Hickerman and Tony Pedal, CWU

  1. Work-Related Death, supporting families and fighting back

What FACK does in supporting families after a work-death and advocating for them through the      investigation, inquest and any prosecutions.  Using our stories in campaigning and how supporting solicitors        provide essential legal representation to ensure equality of arms at Inquests.  Issues arising from Grenfell.

Chair: Hilda Palmer, FACK, Speakers: Tracey Seward, Michael Lancaster FACK members; Helen Clifford, McMillan Williams Solicitors. Families Against Corporate Killers , FACK, is supported by TU donations and sponsorship from Irwin Mitchell and McMillan Williams solicitors.

  1. Whatever happened to welfare ?

Welfare at work – it’s the poor relation to Health and Safety these days.  What happened to the lunch hour?  Has your tea-break been sold?  Do you eat lunch at your desk these days – where did staff common rooms or canteens go? Share our experience of reduced welfare facilities at work.  What else should we demand from employers? Let’s make improved welfare provision a workplace campaign this year.

Chair Janet Newsham; Speaker John Bamford, GM Hazards Centre

  1. Air pollution as a Workplace issue

Air pollution is a public health emergency and is linked to at least 40,000 deaths on the UK each year.  It is a workplace issue taken up by the Greener Jobs Alliance, UCU and Hazards Campaign. What can we do about it as union safety reps?

Chair Caroline Bedale; Speaker Adam Lincoln, UCU Health, Safety and Sustainability Advisor

 

Hazards Campaign open letter to Commander Stuart Cundy in charge of the Grenfell fire investigation

Metropolitan Police Headquarters, New Scotland Yard,  8-10 Broadway, London, SW1H 0BG.

Hazards Campaign open letter to Commander Stuart Cundy in charge of the Grenfell fire investigation

Dear Commander Cundy,

The police investigation must investigate the Prime Ministers and ministers whose behaviour, actions and wilful disregard of warnings about the deadly consequences of their deregulation fetish that lead to decisions which caused the Grenfell fire.

We are pleased to hear you confirm that the starting point for your investigation into the Grenfell Tower investigation is ‘80 deaths by manslaughter.’  It is clear now that the overall model of regulation and enforcement of fire safety in buildings lies within a wider political context of government deregulatory initiatives that have undermined criminal health and safety law over a long period, and specifically accelerated since 2010.  Therefore we seek assurance that your investigation will look not only at all those individuals, companies and organisations directly involved in Grenfell Tower, but will examine the wider and crucial role of the ministers and their advisers on the deregulation of all types of health and safety law, enforcement and scrutiny, which form the environment in which the decisions that led to the Grenfell disaster took place.  This is a disaster which was foretold, that should never have happened and would not have done if the regulation and enforcement framework had been properly functioning to protect lives rather than serve business interests first.

Your investigation must seek to establish responsibility and culpability for this terrible tragedy that has taken many lives and damaged many more.  It seems clear that Prime Ministers’ setting deregulatory agendas in their manifestos, their speeches and their government programmes, plus Ministers carrying out those programmes, plus those specifically responsible for Housing and Fire Safety must be interviewed under caution.  Ministers who promised but failed to review the Building Regulations after the Laknal fire and failed to act after repeated warnings of potential disaster from fire experts and many letters from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Fire Safety and Rescue,  about the use of materials in high rise buildings without adequate safe guards in all aspects of their use, from specification, to installation to subsequent building, fire approvals and inspections, must be investigated.

We specifically seek assurance that this would include interviewing under caution ex Prime Minster David Cameron who repeatedly and vociferously ‘waged war’ on health and safety as ‘a monster’, ‘an albatross’, a ‘burden on business’ and which he vowed in his new year’s resolution of 2012 to ‘Kill off health and safety culture for good’   David Cameron set the ‘lite-touch’ political context in which regulations were viewed and policed.  Slashing the Health and Safety Executive, HSE, budget by a massive 33% in 2011 set the tone for the neutering of official policing of safety standards by the coalition government  . He established a programme of biased health and safety reviews, ‘Red Tape’ cuts, scrapping laws and dumbing down of guidance, plus slashing the budgets,  and restricting the enforcement activities of the HSE and the Local Authorities, while establishing business-oriented committees, advisory groups and programmes under the ‘Better Regulation’ agenda.

Others who must be interviewed under caution should include Prime Minister Theresa May who reaffirmed this deregulatory policy in 2016 and 2017, as ‘Cutting Red Tape’. and all ministers responsible for decisions on cutting health and safety in favour of reducing burdens on business, including, but not exclusively, ministers at the DWP, the DCLG, and those responsible for the Red Tape Challenge since 2010, those in charge of negotiating Brexit, plus any others who have made government sanctioned attacks on health and safety regulation and enforcement.  Of particular note is Oliver Letwin chairing a meeting under Brexit and the Red Tape Challenge on the deregulation of health and safety law for construction materials on the very day of the Grenfell Fire.

You are reported as stating that the criminal investigation would bring whoever is to blame to justice: “You can’t listen to the accounts of the survivors, the families, and those that lost loved ones, and listen to the 999 calls, like our investigation has done, and not want to hold people to account for a fire that should not have happened.”  We are pleased to hear this and insist that to honour this commitment, and to prevent other disasters, requires investigating and holding to account all those responsible for creating the deregulated health and safety environment including David Cameron and Theresa May and their ministers that have championed this model of corporate and governmental institutional neglect.

We will be pleased to provide more information on health and safety deregulation to your investigation team

Yours sincerely

Hilda Palmer, Acting Chair Hazards Campaign