date: 17 March 2008
embargo: for immediate release
Welcoming the publication of Dame Carol Black's report today (Monday) on work, health and well-being, TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said:
'There is currently insufficient support for people who are off work because they are ill or injured and the TUC agrees with Dame Carol that more needs to be done to encourage those on long term benefits back into the labour market. This is best done by doing more to prevent workplace accidents and illnesses, and by giving ill or injured workers early access to rehabilitation.
'In the UK millions of ill or injured workers are being dumped on benefits when they have treatable medical conditions, but often no access to treatment. Ministers need to come up with practical solutions based on prevention, early access to rehabilitation, and universal occupational health coverage. The Government must also look at how it can transform work into a more rewarding and less harmful experience, especially for the 2.2 million people who are currently suffering from an illness that was caused or made worse by their work.
'The TUC also recognises the need for 'good work' as emphasised in the report. But this will only happen if the Government clamps down hard on employers who exploit their staff through bad conditions, long hours, or stressful workloads. That means more resources for the Health and Safety Executive, local authorities and other enforcement agencies, and stronger legal protection for agency, temporary and other vulnerable workers.'
The TUC is pleased to see Dame Carol's report recognising the importance of union safety representatives in delivering on occupational health issues in the workplace.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
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Issued: 17 March, 2008