Asbestos disease campaigners, politicians and unions are calling for urgent action to combat a deadly asbestos cancer. Deaths from mesothelioma, which is incurable and now kills in excess of 2,500 people a year, are still to peak in the UK, meaning tens of thousands more will die unless new treatments are found.
Hilda Palmer of the Hazards Campaign commented: “This is an industrial disaster on an unprecedented scale, and the death rate is still rising. Continue reading Campaigners press for asbestos justice
The number of workplace fatalities in Britain last year fell to the lowest annual rate on record, but the Hazards Campaign is warning that work-related deaths overall increased markedly as asbestos cancer deaths soared. Continue reading Fatalities at work down, work-related deaths up
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’http://www.hazards.org/votetodie/deregulate.htm
2 It’s your choice: ‘ Red Tape or more bloody bandages’http://www.hazards.org/images/h123posterlarge.jpg
Hazards blueprint for saner Health and Safety Executive http://www.hazards.org/votetodie/citizensane
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 http://www.fack.org.uk 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: http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/overall/hssh1213.pdf
Triennial review giving HSE the thumbs up is rejected by government planning to exterminate the protection of hard-working workers by commercialisation!
The Hazards Campaign mostly welcomes HSE Triennial Review Report but condemns the government’s demented Dalek cries of ‘Deregulate, Privatise, Commercialise’ which is their only discredited answer to everything, and risks exterminating the public protection of workers’ health and safety.
Hazards Campaign spokesperson said “We utterly condemn the DWP minister’s response as irrational, pre-conceived, market-driven ideological claptrap, unsupported by any evidence, fact or need, and likely to increase the risk of death, injury and illness at work of those hard-working people the government is so fond of pretending to support.
Martin Temple’s independent report (1) concludes unequivocally that HSE’s functions are still necessary, that the HSE as a non-departmental body (NDPB) is the best way to execute them, and that broadly it does this well. Temple, supported by a tripartite advisory panel, led a review of the facts and evidence, including responses to the consultation document and meetings with knowledgeable people and organisations such as the Hazards Campaign and Families Against Corporate Killers.
Mike Penning, the Minster for Disabled People at the DWP (2) while accepting the report’s conclusions, then rejects it’s considered findings: ‘I welcome these recommendations, but want to go further to introduce reforms of HSE to ensure that it delivers value for money to the taxpayer, whilst ensuring safety for the nation. There is considerable potential for HSE to become more commercial in outlook and in delivery – increasing the pace of the work already started within the organisation. ‘
Hazards Campaign spokesperson added: “We welcome the report’s confirmation that the functions of the HSE are necessary and in general it is best body to carry them out. And we utterly condemn as lacking any credibility, the minister’s dismissal of his own government-commissioned, independent review process because it didn’t rubber stamp the ideological market-led result the government wanted. Any evidence that refutes the government’s sick fantasy approach to workers’ lives and health – the lie that it’s a terrible ’burden on business’ – gets the irrational demented Dalek mantra of: ‘ Deregulate, Privatise and Commercialise’ (3) and threats to exterminate the HSE as we know it.
“The HSE wasn’t completely broken before, but it may be now. This looks like the government trying to abolish the HSE as it originally wanted to do in 2010, and has continued to undermine it by review after pointless review (4)- and by the daily rubbishing of HSE’s work, and the very notion that regulation and enforcement are necessary to ensure employers protect workers.
“The problem for workers is getting employers to comply with health and safety law at all, which has been made far harder by government pulling out the HSE watchdog’s teeth since 2010. The problem for the tax-payer is that employers’ mismanagement of health and safety at work is costing well over £40 billion a year by the most conservative of estimates (5). Mike Penning’s proposals to further commercialise what’s left of workers’ protection answers neither of those problems. It will put hard-working workers at even greater risk of being hurt by their employers with even less HSE intervention. It will cost individuals their lives, their health and their livelihoods, and it will reduce the value of the HSE to tax payers by shifting even more costs of cleaning up employers’ negligence onto the public purse.
“The Hazards Campaign does not agree with all the report’s recommendations some of which seem confused and at odds with the body of the report, especially on the composition of the HSE Board and on increasing commercialisation. However, support for tripartism, for prevention of occupational ill-health rather than individualistic well-being nonsense, criticism of FFI, rejection of privatisation, and some consideration of the cost of poor management of health and safety by employers is welcome. We would have liked a proper evaluation of the true, full cost of employers’ poor management of health and safety and the savings in lives, health and money which would be made by investing in the HSE and a strict enforcement and regulation regime. The massive benefits to public health and to society this could produce would pay for the HSE many times over in the prevention of work-related deaths, injuries and illness, and make workers safer and healthier (6).
“Mike Penning’s statement shows the government cares not a jot for the health and safety of hard working workers, or for the burdens on tax-payers, but instead is about rewarding its business paymasters with even less scrutiny. Workers and public beware: the HSE wasn’t completely broken by the government before, but it may be now””
For more information contact The UK National Hazards Campaign: 0161 636 7557
2. WRITTEN MINISTERIAL STATEMENT Thursday 9 January 2014 THE DEPARTMENT FOR WORK AND PENSIONS Triennial Review of the Health and Safety Executive
The Minister for Disabled People (Mike Penning MP): On 25 April 2013 the Minister for Employment made a written statement to Parliament announcing the Triennial Review of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and that Martin Temple, Chair of the EEF would lead that review. I am pleased to announce the conclusion of the Review and publication of Mr Temple’s report later today.
HSE is an Executive Non-Departmental Public Body (NDPB). It is the national, independent regulator for work-related safety and health. Its mission is the prevention of death, injury and ill health to those at work and those affected by work activities.
The review has concluded that the functions performed by HSE are still required and that it should be retained as a NDPB. Mr Temple has recommended that HSE build on its well-deserved international reputation and makes more progress to grow its commercial income.
I welcome these recommendations, but want to go further to introduce reforms of HSE to ensure that it delivers value for money to the taxpayer, whilst ensuring safety for the nation. There is considerable potential for HSE to become more commercial in outlook and in delivery – increasing the pace of the work already started within the organisation.
Therefore, I have asked HSE to begin work immediately to examine commercial models for HSE in collaboration with HMT and Cabinet office, and to review the HSE Board to ensure it has the right skills to oversee future efficiencies and commercial income generating options. Some of the other recommendations require further consideration and therefore the Government will respond more fully later this year.
I will place a copy of the report of the Triennial Review of HSE in the House library later today.
3. Hazards Magazine Business says Deregulate: the government will obey
4. Lord Young Review, Red Tape Reviews, Professor Lofstedt Review
5. Good health and safety is not a ‘burden on business’ it’s a burden on us! The 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 £13.8 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 would make it nearer £60 billion. Of this cost, according to the HSE: individuals and families pay 57%, the state – us, tax payers, the public purse! – pays 22%, and employers, whose criminal negligence caused the harm, pay 21% HSE Annual Statistics Report 2012/13: http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/overall/hssh1213.pdf
6. Hazards maagazine blueprint for saner Health and Safety Executive Plus interview with Rory O’Neill, Hazards Magazine Editor, by Health and Safety Bulletin:
Hazards Campaign says: “Regulate, Regulate, Regulate! We love red tape and we want a health and safety system with workers at its centre that’s good for all!”
Like a bunch of demented Daleks, six business leaders are rolled out to repeat the same ludicrous robotic mantra: ‘Deregulate, Deregulate, Deregulate!’ in the ’Cut EU red tape’ report released yesterday (1). Similarly to previous reports attacking workplace health and safety, it is not based on evidence but is part of the government’s ideological drive to leave business free to do what it wants and to hell with workers’ health and lives.
It’s not new, or surprising and certainly not clever, but it is utterly amazing that anyone treats these unevidenced attacks as credible! Regulations developed over years to protect the safety and the short and long term health of workers, are not pointless meaningless bureaucracy to be derided and ridiculed. Every report of workers killed in Asian garment and other factory fires and the Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh, graphically illustrates the consequences of a lack of good health and safety regulation and enforcement in case anyone has forgotten what it used to be like here.
The report talks ignorantly of ‘low risk’ workplaces where in fact occupational ill health is rife – slips trips and falls, violence, musculo-skeletal disorders and stress are at epidemic levels- and 53% of the HSE reported work-deaths occur in this so called low risk sector. The Report claims deregulation is necessary for us to compete, presumably with Asian countries or the Britain of the last two centuries, with the consequent appalling workplace death rates?
Regulations that protect workers and members of the public from danger are an essential part of a civilised society and when they fail, as they are doing under government policies, people die from, for example increased Legionnaire’s disease outbreaks, horse meat turns up in our food, and workers are killed in incidents or made sick to death by uncontrolled risks. Relaxing the requirements on employers taking on young people may lead to more tragedies as in the case of 16 year old Cameron Minshull, killed by an industrial lathe in Bury this year when his Mum felt sure he was safe at work, on a government approved apprenticeship (2).
The real burden of current employers’ poor management of health and safety falls mainly on those harmed but it also costs a staggering over £30 billion per year (3). Even more staggering is that employers pay less than a quarter of the cost of the harm they cause. So the real problem at work is not too much red tape but too many bloody bandages (4). Government should be investing in the health of workers and protecting us, focusing on creating good jobs, as it is also good economic sense, rather than competing in the race to the bottom that deregulation causes. The Hazards Campaign, Hazards Magazine, TUC, Trade unions and many academics have repeatedly challenged the government with facts and evidence over the last 3 years. But this government is only interested in ideological ‘policy based evidence making’ and serving business interests, not workers lives and health.
The ’Cut EU red tape’ report is just another lazy, unevidenced, deadly demand by vested business interests, without consulting any representatives of those harmed by work, to legitimise bad work.
To the business leaders and government Daleks we say
“Regulate, Regulate, Regulate, we love red tape and we want a health and safety system with workers at its centre that is good for all!”
For more information contact Hilda Palmer, acting Chair of Hazards Campaign 0161 636 7557
Notes to editors
2. Death of Cameron Minshull, http://www.hazardscampaign.org.uk/fack/news/teendeath.htm
FACK is furious at Government release of misleading and inaccurate PR on Work Experience and Health and Safety which we fear will put children at greater risk: http://www.hazardscampaign.org.uk/fack/news/workexperience.htm
3. 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 54%,
· the state – us, tax payers, the public purse! – pays 23%, and
· employers, whose criminal negligence caused the harm, pay 24%
HSE Annual Statistics Report 2011/12: http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/overall/hssh1112.pdf
4. Hazards blueprint for saner Health and Safety Executive ‘We Love Red Tape’http://www.hazards.org/votetodie/citizensane
24th National Hazards Conference
19-21st July 2013, University of Keele
Conference presentation notes:
Hugh Robertson, TUC Who’s on our side?
Robert Baughan, Unison Sickness absence
Kathy Jenkins, Scottish Hazards Campaign, Defend sick pay
Dr. Aida Ponce Del Castillo, ETUI Whither or wither Europe
John McClean, GMB Whither or wither Europe
Workshops and Sunday Meetings
Hilda Palmer, Hazards campaign Health and safety: In a sorry state of health?
Irwin Mitchell Access to justice, changes to Legal Aid and civil liability
Susan Murray, Unite Body Mapping
Helen Lynn, Alliance for cancer prevention, Developing the campaign to reduce Occupational and Environmental Cancer
John Crust, UCU, Fire risk assessment • Fire workshop handout
Ian Cole, Unison, Using social media
Julie Winn, GMB, Asbestos in schools,
Ian Draper, Work Stress Network, Excessive workload
YouTube clips of conference presentations
Louise Taggart for FACK
Omana George AMRC and ANROEV
Dave Smith Blacklist Support Group
Scott Donohoe, Unison Glasgow, Scottish Hazards
Professor Phil Taylor, University of Strathclyde
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, give opportunities to learn, exchange experience and information with delegates from a wide range of sectors and jobs.
The effects of the government’s attack on health & safety are now being felt in workplaces. Cameron continued rubbishing health and safety in January 2013 telling entrepreneurs of the need to cut health and safety rules that stop young people getting work experience. Just days later, a 16 year old apprentice was killed in an incident with a lathe at an engineering company, only weeks after starting work. Enforcement is in retreat and hiding. It’s almost impossible to contact the HSE, and proactive, preventive inspections by L.A.’s and HSE have been banned in falsely classed ‘low hazard/risk’ sectors which cover the majority of workplaces. New evidence shows proactive inspections not only save lives but save employers money too. But government continues the ideological destruction of the regulatory enforcement environment that workers won by collective action over generations, using the lie that it is a ‘burden on business’.
Some regulations already revoked, others under threat, and the review of Approved Codes of Practice threatens to downgrade them to mere guidance. RIDDOR changes have already removed 30,000 reports of work-related injury and illness, and other proposals would make almost all work-related illness vanish, by removing the employers’ duty to report them. Government acceptance of Dame Carol Black’s sickness absence recommendations continues the punitive approach and includes state funded assessment for employees who are off sick for more than 4 week, increasing insecurity and stress for sick workers. Attacks on union reps facility time, on access to justice via tribunals & legal aid, and proposals to remove civil liability for health and safety breaches, further reduce the right to compensation for work-related injury and illness.
Workers have not been consulted on how work injuries, death and sickness can be reduced, nor has any assessment been conducted of the full human and economic costs of cutting laws and enforcement intended to prevent this work-related harm. The real burden is on us, not on employers. As the benefits system declares the sick, disabled and terminally ill ‘fit for work’, forcing them to seek jobs that don’t exist, as pension age rises, and as work becomes more dangerous and unhealthy, paradoxically the need for union safety reps and good H&S at work increases. Come and learn more, discuss how we can defend safe workplaces, and build a campaign to stop them killing, maiming and making us sick to death.