HSE buries bad news on work deaths on England semi-final day

HSE quietly announces a massive increase in worker deaths on a good day to bury bad news

News bulletin for immediate release – 8 July 2021 No embargo

Workers deaths increase by 25 per cent and this doesn’t include Covid-19 deaths

On the day all eyes were focused on the English football team’s Euro semi-final exploits, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) took the opportunity to bury bad news on work deaths. Latest figures released by the safety regulator on 7 July show a ‘massive’ 25 per cent increase in reports of workplace fatalities in 2020/21, despite many workers that year being furloughed or working from home. The figures also don’t include the 383 work-related Covid-19 deaths in the same 2020/21 reporting year.

Chair of the UK Hazards Campaign, Janet Newsham, said

“Although these HSE statistics only represent a a small percentage of the actual number of deaths because of work each year, it is still a huge increase in fatalities reportable through RIDDOR.   The Hazards Campaign says this is because HSE isn’t carrying out sufficient preventive inspections, isn’t holding bad employers to account, and hasn’t sufficient resources to carry out the enforcement needed to protect workers and prevent these incidents.”

“During the pandemic the HSE locked down initially, and then paid a debt collecting company to run their call centre and carry out onsite inspections, without adequate training, skills or knowledge to do the job.  The result has been NO COVID prosecutions and a complacent HSE .”

“This week the Government has made it clear they are going to remove the public health measures for Covid-19, that have been protecting people and preventing transmission of the virus.  They are prepared to put young peoples lives at risk, who mostly haven’t had the vaccination.  The Hazards Campaign will continue to demand that the HSE and other enforcement bodies hold employers to account if they fail to control the transmission risks and putting the lives and health of workers and others at risk.”

“The collapse of the Bosley Mill corporate manslaughter case has further highlighted the inadequate legal redress and dysfunctional enforcement that exists.  The director of the company then pleaded guilty to a lesser charge, and the 4 families devastated by the deaths of their loved ones saw him sentenced to a 9 month suspended sentence and a minimal fine.  The deaths of 4 workers doesn’t seem to matter and in many other cases employers are quite literally getting away with murder!”

“The announcement of the work fatalities by the HSE tries to paint a rosy picture of health at work, we know only too well the terror many workers face in the workplace, with employers ignoring health and safety and placing many young and vulnerable workers at risk.  The pandemic has highlighted the risks many employers are willing to take with workers lives.”

“We need a robust, transparent, accountable and proactive HSE, one that puts workers lives first and holds bad employers to account.  As the UK Government forces a return to work without the necessary controls in place to protect workers and prevent further infections and deaths, we need an HSE enforcing health and safety law not cosying up to employers or Government.  The Hazards Campaign want the HSE to be independent from pressure from government and big business.”

For more information contact:
Janet Newsham, Hazards Campaign
janet@gmhazards.org.uk
Tel: 07734 317158

Additional Information:

Hazards Campaign details:

website www.hazardscampaign.org.uk
twitter @hazardscampaign
facebook www.facebook.com/groups/123746101003963

The Hazards Campaign is a UK-wide network of resource centres and campaigners. The Hazards Campaign supports those organising and campaigning for justice and safety at work

Bow crane collapse: Vigil for June Harvey

No-one should be killed in their own home by an unsafe crane operation.  1 year since crane collapse in Bow, East London… But many questions still need answering.

Join Families Against Corporate Killers (FACK), Construction Safety Campaign (CSC) and Helen Clifford Law at the Vigil for June Harvey

Date: Thursday 8th July 2021  Time: 12 noon.

Venue: 2 Compton Close, Bow East London E3 3RS
(nearest to Docklands Light Railway DLR) Devon’s Road Station

June Harvey, aged 85, was killed when a 20m crane crashed through the roof of the house she shared with her niece Jacqueline Atkinson and great nephew Sam Atkinson on 8th July last year. Jaqueline and Sam suffered minor physical injuries but significant psychological trauma.  They lost a much loved member of their family, their home and all their belongings through no fault of their own. The companies involved did not take full responsibility to look after them, ensure they were properly rehoused or treated for psychological trauma.

Local MP Apsana Begum intervened to support and Families Against Corporate Killers, FACK, put Sam in touch with Helen Clifford a solicitor experienced in construction incidents and advocacy for families of those killed and secured counselling for the Atkinsons.

Sam Atkinson, 29, and his 63-year-old mother lived in a hotel paid for by their landlord Gateway Housing but were threatened with eviction in January 2021 when they refused to accept a property Tower Hamlets Council offered them as it did not have a kitchen and was “uninhabitable”.  Interventions helped to prevent their eviction but they had to rely on the help of friends to make the house fit to move into.

The crane  collapse is under on-going investigation by the Police and Health and Safety Executive, with the Police having primacy at the moment. The crane was only removed in December 2020 which hampered the investigation though indications are the crane collapse was due to failure of the concrete base on which it was erected. Like almost all crane collapses and work-related deaths, this was probably foreseeable and should have been prevented, June and her family should have been safe.

One year later, June’s family whose lives have been turned upside down by a failure of corporate health and safety, still don’t know what went wrong or why. This is unacceptable: justice delayed is justice denied. FACK and the Construction Safety Campaign call for a speedy investigation and justice for June and her family, and also a massive improvement in crane safety so no-one else is killed.

Stop-Deaths from Crane Collapses

For 25-years the Construction Safety Campaign, CSC, campaigned for better crane safety and for 15 years with the Battersea Crane Disaster Action Group, BCDAG.

In September 2006 a crane driver, Jonathan Cloke,  and a member of the public, Michael Alexa were killed when a crane collapsed on a Barrett’s Building site in Battersea Southwest London. The support of the CSC together with the Battersea Trades Council led to the setting up of the ‘Battersea Crane Disaster Action Group’. Concerted campaigning led to the success of getting government to enact The Notification of Conventional Tower Crane Regulations 2010 and the registration of cranes enforced. These regulations were scrapped by the Tory Government elected in 2010 and hell bent on attacking worker health and safety.  Disgracefully, it took ten years for the Battersea crane collapse case to go to court.

In a new year’s article in the Evening standard published in 2012, prime minister David Cameron declared his resolution “to kill off health and safety culture for good” and concluded that health & safety “is an albatross around the neck of British business”. What then followed was a 33 per cent cut in the Health and Safety Executive’s budget, deregulation of health and safety law and endless reviews such as by Professor Lofstedt’s. Hundreds of the government’s Health and Safety Executive officers lost their jobs and far fewer health and safety inspections, enforcement notices and prosecutions were carried out. The effects of this health and safety law deregulation and cuts in its enforcement were not just felt on construction sites but on all our safety, most notably the deaths which occurred in  the Grenfell fire in 2017.

The UK has a deadly record on tower crane accidents. Many other countries have stricter crane safety laws including compulsory licensing (certification) of all cranes. In addition to the Battersea crane collapse, in just over two decades there have been many other deaths and serious injuries due to the collapse of cranes, including:

 May 2000: Canary Wharf, east London; February 2005: Worthing, Sussex;

January 2007: Elysian Fields, Liverpool; June 2007: Croydon, south London;

December 2007 Forest Hill London; July 2009: Chandlers Wharf, Liverpool;

March 2014: Blackwall, east London.

 In recent years we have witnessed

On 21 June 2017, a crane collapsed in Crewe killing two workers, David Newall, 36, and Rhys Barker, 18, and injuring one other person.

On 25 July 2017, it was announced that a third man David Webb, 43 years of age, had now died from his injuries.

On 20 June 2012. Garry Currie was killed and Mr Nisbet, a self-employed worker suffered serious head injuries when a crane collapse happened.

The CSC calls for the rescinded The Notification of Conventional Tower Crane Regulations 2010 to be reinstated and extended to include all types of cranes. All cranes should be subject to testing and inspection by specialist crane companies who are independent of the crane provider and operator companies. There should be a shelf-life limitation on each crane after which they must be scrapped. In addition, many other changes to long to list here are needed.

What previous prosecutions by the Crown Prosecution Service or the HSE show is they take enormous amount of time. This is a callous way to treat bereaved families who not only suffer the totally unnecessary and negligent death of a loved ones but are plunged into many years of legal nightmares. This must not be allowed to happen in the investigation into the Bow East London crane disaster.

For information: CSC – 07500169151

FACK: hilda@gmhazards.org.uk Facebook Families Against Corporate Killers

Helen Clifford Law: 07796 107997

 

 

Clean Air Thursday Talk recordings are now online

A recording of the Thursday Talk  – Clean Air Day and What is next for TUCAN? has now been published on YouTube. You can view it below:

You can view Professor Andrew Watterson’s PowerPoint Cleaning up the air in Scotland here

Hilda Palmer’s  PowerPoint Tucan – Air pollution all in a day’s work is  here and her presentation notes are here.

Further information

Links to more information:

For more information contact janet@gmhazards.org.uk

Campaign Call: The fight for Covid safety at work

If workplaces are vectors of transmission can they ever be virus free? Join us on Tuesday 22 June at 6pm to discuss this question with trade union and health and safety activists.

Speakers

Tracy Edwards, Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) (personal capacity)
Kathy Jenkins, Scottish Hazards campaign

Chair

Janet Newsham, Greater Manchester Hazards Centre and Zero Covid Campaign

Registration

Notes

PCS members working for the DVLA are currently in dispute over Covid safety failures Morning Star website

Clean Air Day: Register for the Hazards Campaign Thursday Talk and join the TUCAN campaign

Clean Air Day has been held every year since 2017 and is co-ordinated by Global Action Plan. The need for action is clear. From the recent verdict at nine year old Ella Kissi-Debra’s inquest making a direct link between the air pollution she endured and her untimely death to the recent study published by University College London stating that globally we are experiencing at least 8.7 million deaths related to air pollution annually.

Clean Air Day: 17 June 2021On Clean Air Day 2021 join the Hazards Campaign panel of experts from across the UK, to discuss what is happening in their country and what TUCAN should be doing to drive forward the air quality agenda throughout UK workplaces.

Register for the Hazards Campaign Thursday Talk here

Links to more information:

For more information contact janet@gmhazards.org.uk

Hybrid working: Hazards Campaign short survey on where you are working during the Covid-19 pandemic

Hybrid Working: Are you working from home, in a workplace, or a combination of both (hybrid working)? What is your employer doing to support you?
Many people are being encouraged to work in a different way than they did prior to the pandemic, The  Hazards Campaign is conducting a survey to establish  if and how employers are providing the conditions (equipment and processes) to support this changed way of working.

The survey should only take about 3 mins to complete.  The results will inform our campaigning priorities and enable us to better support workers.

Please complete the survey here

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/KSWBXJL

Hazards Campaign Thursday Talk – Clean Air Day and what next for TUCAN?

Clean Air Day: Thursday June 17th – 6-7.30pm

Clean Air Day has been held every year since 2017 and is co-ordinated by Global Action Plan. The need for action is clear. From the recent verdict at nine year old Ella Kissi-Debra’s inquest making a direct link between the air pollution she endured and her untimely death to the recent study published by University College London stating that globally we are experiencing at least 8.7 million deaths related to air pollution annually.

On Clean Air Day 2021 join the Hazards Campaign panel of experts from across the UK, to discuss what is happening in their country and what TUCAN should be doing to drive forward the air quality agenda throughout UK workplaces.

Register via Eventbrite for the  Zoom event

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/hazards-campaign-thursday-talk-clean-air-day-and-what-next-for-tucan-tickets-137598373439

Links to more information and resources

Greener Jobs Alliance

Greener workplaces for a just transition – a Wales TUC toolkit for trade unionists | TUC

Free online Courses from the Greener Jobs Alliance

The Clean Air Plan for Wales: Healthy Air, Healthy Wales, Welsh Government

Setting standards for employers to meet isn’t an unreachable burden – London’s low emission zone, TUCAN

Toxics Use Reduction: beyond analysis to action Linking public health, occupational health and safety, environmental sustainability and new or better employment: a position paper Toxic use Reduction in the Scottish context

Stop deadly exposures @ work today! Hazards Campaign Briefing Document

Target cancers: Cancers and their work causes Hazards magazine factsheet

Air Pollution: all in a days work TUCAN PowerPoint

For more information contact janet@gmhazards.org.uk

If you would like to take part in the air quality monitoring of your workplace, please contact hilda@gmhazards.org.uk

 

Thursday Talk report: Stopping the abuse of call/contact centre workers

Hazards Campaign Thursday Talk – Stopping the abuse of call/contact centre workers was held on 13th May, 2021.

The discussion was led by the brilliant Lesley-Anne Ure (Call Centre Collective), Professor Phil Taylor (University of Strathclyde) and Tracy Edwards (PCS) covering the fantastic work reaching out to and supporting call/contact centre workers.

To watch the event please go to https://youtu.be/zsH-YbtTtoQ or you can view it below:

Please follow Hazards Campaign
Twitter  @hazardscampaign, @Jnewsham, @hildapalmer @centregreater
Facebook We didn’t vote to die at work- Hazards Campaign, Greater Manchester Hazards Centre,  and Families Against Corporate Killers

Email Hazards Campaign mail@hazardscampaign.org.uk, janet@gmhazards.org.uk and hilda@gmhazards.org.uk

Resources

Controlling Risks in the Workplace Hazards Campaign

Venting: Coronavirus risks are mostly up in the air, Hazards magazine

Hands face space won’t cut it. Ventilation. Ventilation. Ventilation!  Hazards Campaign PowerPoint

Working with a computer at home, Hazards Campaign briefing

https://gmhazards.org.uk/index.php/2020/05/29/working-with-a-computer-at-home/

The COVID-19 Indoor Safety Guideline tool

Hazards Campaign Thursday Talk – Stopping the abuse of call centre workers

Cameron call image
Join us for the Hazards Campaign Thursday Talk – Stopping the abuse of Call/Contact Centre workers
Thursday 13th May – 6-7.30pm

As more work goes online, are you a call/contact centre worker? Call/contact Centre workers face strict and excessive surveillance by their managers, during the pandemic many have been exposed to Covid-19 infections because they have continued to work in unhealthy working environments like those PCS members striking at Swansea DVLA. Call centre workers face abuse by customers, at risk from acoustic shock and some have to listen to suicidal customers that they are not trained to deal with. How can workers challenge these unsafe and unhealthy working conditions?

Hazards Campaign Thursday Talk – Stopping the Abuse of Call/Contact Centre Workers Thursday 13th May, 6-7.30pm
Please register for your link to the event:
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/hazards-campaign-thursday-talk-stopping-the-abuse-of-call-centre-workers-tickets-153607348715

The discussion will be led by:
– Prof. Phil Taylor University of Strathclyde – Covid-19 and Call/Contact Centre Workers Survey
– Tracy Edwards – PCS National Health and Safety Officer
– Call Centre Collective Speaker tbc

UK: FACK Statement – International Workers’ Memorial Day 28 April 2021

Families Against Corporate Killers (FACK) Statement

International Workers’ Memorial Day 28 April 2021

  • It is fundamentally wrong that a wife should need to write heartbreakingly about her 6th year on the grief rollercoaster, missing her beautiful angel husband so much with every passing hour of her life.
  • It is fundamentally wrong that a mum should be marking the 18th year since her 17-year-old son was taken from her, the pain she feels, never healing, instead festering like an open wound.
  • It is fundamentally wrong that a daughter should wish her dad a happy 56th birthday, while lamenting that he will be forever 37.
  • And it is fundamentally wrong that a fiancée should go from choosing wedding cars to instead sitting in
    a funeral cortège.

We FACKers are therefore at a loss to understand why we are even having to seek to convince the International Labour Organisation that health and safety should be recognised as a fundamental right at work…!?

Because of course it should!

Read the full statement here

#iwmd21