London seeks to lead Britain in the challenge to secure better health and safety at work

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date: 19 November2004

embargo: Immediate use

Attention: Industrial and health correspondents

A world class city must have world class workplaces, that means aspiring to and achieving world class standards of health and safety at work - not for some, but for all. And the roadmap for turning that dream into a reality includes there being a health and safety rep in every workplace in London and a positive and meaningful partnership between that rep, the employer, unions and the Health and Safety Executive.

Those are the key messages from an event (today) organised by HSE London and the Southern and Eastern Region TUC for more than 200 London based health and safety reps.

The event brought together health and safety representatives and experts in the H&S regulatory system, to discuss how best to achieve a standard of health and safety at work across London that makes it a fit place to work in the twenty-first century.

Inspector HSE

Bill Callaghan , Chair of the Health and Safety Commission said:

'Prevention built on partnering and prioritisation is vital to meet the changing health and safety needs of 21st century. The evidence is clear. Safety reps and employee involvement and consultation prevent accidents and ill health. We want London to be a world-class city for health and safety. I want this event to spur effective partnerships between HSE, Local Authorities, trade unions and employers, to produce positive change that the rest of the country will want to follow.'

Mick Connolly, Regional Secretary of the Southern and Eastern Region TUC said:

"This event is designed to promote the concept of partnership for improving workplace health and safety across the London region. That means partnership between employers and their workers, between trade union safety reps and inspectors in the field and between the HSE, Local Authorities, the TUC and our affiliated unions. Our vision for London is that every workplace should have a workforce safety representative in order for London to achieve its place as a world leader in workplace health and safety. This event marks the beginning of a new era of trade union partnership with the HSE in London and one step closer to our shared vision of world class health and safety for a world class city".

NOTES TO EDITORS:

1. The Southern and Eastern Regional TUC is the TUC region responsible for London, the South East and the East of England.

2. HSE and local authorities (LAs) are responsible for the enforcement of health and safety in Great Britain under the general direction of the Health and Safety Commission (HSC). HSE and LAs work in partnership to secure HSC’s objectives. HSE is responsible for regulating factories, construction sites, hospitals, mines, railways, etc. LAs are responsible for regulating hotels, offices, shops, etc. Further details of what HSE and LA inspectors do are contained in leaflet The Health and Safety Executive Working with Employers, HSE 38 available free from HSE books and the HSE website at http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/hse38.pdf.

3. HSC published its Strategy for workplace health and safety in Great Britain to 2010 and beyond on 23 February 2004. The strategy aims to promote a vision of health and safety as a cornerstone of a civilised society and to achieve a record of workplace health and safety that leads the world.

4. Safety representatives can be appointed by trade unions recognised in the workplace. Safety representatives’ rights and functions include a legal right to:

  • Represent employees in discussions with the employer on health, safety or welfare issues and in discussions with HSE or other enforcing authorities
  • Investigate hazards and dangerous occurrences
  • Investigate complaints
  • Carry out inspections of the workplace and inspect relevant documents
  • Attend safety committees
  • Be paid for time spent on carrying out their functions and to undergo training

Further information is available at www.hse.gov.uk/workers/safetyreps.htm and at the TUC website www.tuc.org.uk/h_and_s/tuc-8031-f0.cfm

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Contacts:

Media enquiries :

Matt Dykes

Tel: 020 7467 1386

Mob: 07970 618 105

Email: mdykes@tuc.org.uk

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