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Corporate accountability and real corporate responsibility

Issue date

Workers' Memorial Day, 28 April 2003

corporate accountability and real corporate responsibility

A TUC briefing by Hilda Palmer

Section one : remember the dead: fight for the living

This year across the world trade unions are using Workers Memorial Day to call for real corporate social responsibility, and corporate accountability for workers' health and safety.

The problem

Employers in Britain are legally responsible for the health and safety of their workforce and for anyone else who may be affected including trainees, temporary and agency workers and members of the public. Because failing in this duty is not properly punished by the criminal justice system, employers are not properly deterred or encouraged to give health and safety the priority it deserves.

Of all the deaths and serious injuries at work, the vast majority - at least 70% - are preventable as they are due to management failures, according to the HSE. When employers fail to identify hazards, assess risks and develop safe systems of work and consequently put people at risk of death, debilitating illness or serious injury, then they should be properly held to account.

However, while the buzz phrase of 'corporate social responsibility' is used by companies trying to boost their image and their profits and fake their concern for us all, employers and governments have always been extremely reluctant to enact laws to make this adequately enforceable with suitable penalties.

Real corporate social responsibility involves employers in the private, public and voluntary sectors, going beyond marketing stunts and mere compliance with legislation, and becoming totally committed to their responsibilities for health and safety to all the stakeholders not just their shareholders. Workers, members of the public and the wider community have a stake in demanding that employers make health and safety inside the workplace and the effect on the wider environment their top priority and behave responsibly.

In order to achieve this, trade unions and the TUC want the government to get serious over holding businesses and undertakings truly accountable for the corporate killing, maiming and making people ill that devastate families and costs them and the whole country billions upon billions every year.

Why are corporate criminals different?

While the deterrent effect of imprisoning people for other crimes of violence forms a major plank of this governments' crime prevention policies, when it come to employers negligently killing people, the courts are more lenient. And while victims of other crimes have a say over the way their assailants are treated by the courts, victims of workplace crimes are denied this voice by being excluded from the Home Office Victims of Crime Charter.

Corporate killers getting away with it

In the UK last year official figures according to the HSE, which underestimate the true total but are horrific enough, are:

249 workers killed and 384 members of the public in incidents at workplaces;

4,000 dying from asbestos related disease and 6,000 from other occupational illnesses; and

over 10,000 killed by work each year or 29 every day or one every hour of every day.

Across the world, according to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), over 2 million people are killed by work each year.

Now the world-wide trade union movement says it is time to get real and is demanding that all employers be fully accountability for workers' health and safety as the theme for this year's Workers Memorial Day on 28 April (1). This is a day when trade unionists all over the world remember all those killed at or by work and fight for a better chance for the living to work in safe and healthy conditions.

Not just one more death at work - Simon Jones

Simon was killed at Shoreham docks on his first day of work. The Simon Jones

Memorial Campaign (2) fought hard via direct action and a judicial review for those responsible at Euromin to face manslaughter charges. On 19 March 2002 in the House of Commons, Simon Jones's MP Tony Baldry said that he thought the acquittal of Euromin's general manager on manslaughter charges 'made clear fundamental failures of the law when it comes to health and safety,' and went on 'when flagrant health and safety crimes are committed, the case for punitive punishment is unquestionable. There are far too many deaths at work and we need to ensure that actions are taken that make death at work a crime that does not pay.' Alan Whitehead, then Minister for health and safety, replied: 'the new offence of corporate killing which we propose seeks to capture conduct that falls far below what can be reasonable undertaking in the circumstances. We fully expect the new legislation to provide a clearer avenue for securing prosecutions against undertakings whose standards have fallen below what could reasonably be expected, and where failure to uphold the standard has in part been responsible for a death.' (3)

What about employers - the health and safety duty holders?

'Employers may fall into one of four categories - the criminal, the clueless, the compliant and the committed,' said John Monks, outgoing TUC general secretary (4):

the criminal can't be persuaded by economic, good health or moral reasons to behave responsibly on health, and only rigorous enforcement and severe penalties will have any effect;

the clueless don't know what to do or even that they should be doing something on health and safety and need both education and guidance, backed up by enforcement if they do not act responsibly;

the compliant - 'the 'Ronseal' employers, who do exactly what it says in the law, neither more nor less'; and

the committed - 'the stars, the market leaders, the benchmarks. They follow the spirit of the legislation rather than the letter of the law. Going beyond compliance, I believe, is where we find the truth behind good health is good business,' John Monks said.

John Monks added: 'Trade unions want their employers to be committed to health and safety.' Workers' Memorial Day this year focuses on wanting all employers to show their real corporate responsibility by recognising trade unions and establishing full consultation procedures with elected union safety reps. Employers who are not at least compliant with health and safety should face real accountability in the possibility of being committed to court and heavily fined or imprisoned for putting workers lives and health at risk. This will reward the best employers and make the criminal and clueless aware of the real risks of prosecution and penalty they will face if they continue. Unions want employers to operate effective partnerships with workers and unions across all aspects of workplace safety and occupational health.

What about trade unions?

Trade unions and the TUC welcomed Revitalising Health and Safety and entered into a range of new partnerships and initiatives in workplaces, with employers, with industrial sectors, to devise strategies to meet or exceed targets set in Revitalising.

Trade union organised workplaces are safer and healthier. It's a fact. In a workplace with a trade union safety rep and full consultation procedures, there are half as many accidents as in workplaces without. (5) Safety reps give employers a 'reality check' and as one construction consultant has said, almost provide a free audit. But many workplaces have no recognised trade union and even in organised workplaces the lack of real corporate accountability for employers' non-compliance with health and safety law, undermines their efforts.

What do unions want?

All employers to show real corporate social responsibility for health and safety by:

recognising trade unions for health and safety;

establishing full consultation procedures for all health and safety issues;

aiming for full compliance with all health and safety laws and commitment to work with employees and unions to go further to reduce all injuries and work-related illness and to rehabilitate sick or injured workers;

making directors responsible for health and safety; and

measuring their performance and publishing that information in the Annual Report.

The government should make corporate accountability real by:

enacting a new law of corporate killing;

supporting Lawrie Quinn MP's Health and Safety (Offences) Bill leading to higher fines and more innovative penalties for breaches of health and safety law;

giving Courts the option to imprison company directors and managers convicted of any health and safety offence;

acknowledging that trade union safety reps save lives and giving them the powers to do even better including support for Union Inspection Notices;

abolishing crown and parliamentary immunity;

substantially increasing the funding for the HSE and Local Authority to increase the number of health and safety inspectors; and

including victims of workplace crime in the Home Office Victims Charter.

Fighting for the living

In the run up to Workers' Memorial Day, the TUC, trade unions and workers will be carrying out activities in their own workplaces and areas, campaigning and lobbying their own MPs, Nick Brown, Minister for Health and Safety at the Department of Work and Pensions; David Blunkett, Home Secretary; and the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, for action on all of these demands.

Remembering the dead

A huge range of activities will be taking place all over the country on WMD and the days around it. For example the Clergy and Church Workers section of Amicus MSF Section (7) are building on their formal adoption of WMD last year with material for services to focus on the loss of life caused by work. Other activities will be listed on the TUC web site.

Section two : enacting a new law of corporate killing

The problem is that at the moment, individuals are held accountable but employers get away with murder.

As an ordinary motorist, killing someone by breaking the law, driving negligently, failing to maintain your car or falling asleep, will lay you open to a charge of manslaughter and if found guilty you could go to prison. Quite right too, as we all owe a duty of care to each other and when we fail we have committed a crime and need to pay the appropriate penalty.

If however, an employer kills a worker or members of the public as a result of negligence - at least 70% of deaths and serious injuries are due to management failures according to the HSE - it is extremely unlikely that the company will even face a manslaughter charge, let alone be convicted. The larger the company or undertaking, the less likely the charge will be laid. Think about the many rail disasters, Piper Alpha, the Herald of Free Enterprise, and Bhopal, where large corporations killed thousands of people but no director ever stood trial. Only manslaughter prosecutions against small firms have succeeded.

Under current law, the problem with prosecuting a company for manslaughter is that it is necessary to prosecute an individual who must be a senior manager or director who is considered to be 'a controlling mind' of the company. If this individual can be prosecuted then the company can also be prosecuted. In large companies this can be extremely difficult to prove. In smaller companies it is easier and there have been three successful corporate manslaughter prosecutions of small companies.

Businesses and the public sector and voluntary organisations owe a statutory and common law duty of care to all workers and others affected, to protect them. The lack of an appropriate penalty on employers for their crimes of violence fails to deter them from continuing to put the lives of workers and members of the public at risk and fails to give them an incentive to put health and safety at the top of their corporate agenda.

Any individual including a director or worker can be prosecuted for manslaughter if they kill someone through gross negligence and it can be proved that:

they owed the dead person a duty of care;

that they breached this duty in a gross manner; and

that this breach was a significant cause of death.

Since 1998 when a joint protocol for investigating work-related deaths was agreed between the Police, the HSE and the Crown Prosecution Service, there has been an increase in the number of cases of individual directors and business owners facing manslaughter charges: from four in the 50 years prior to 1998 to 11 completed and five on-going in the last four years. But they all concern small businesses not large corporations.

Sustained pressure and campaigning by trade unions, the TUC, Centre for Corporate Accountability, Hazards Campaign and groups such as the Construction Safety Campaign, Simon Jones Memorial Campaign and Disaster Action, forced the Labour party to accept the need for a change in the law. In 1996 the Law Commission proposed a new offence of 'Corporate Killing' to make it possible to prosecute a company or other employing organisation to be prosecuted without the need to prosecute an individual director. The Labour government promised to enact a bill and the Home Office consulted on it in May 2000. Since then, the Government has been reviewing the regulatory impact of such a law.

Unions want: a new law of corporate killing

Under the proposed new law of corporate killing, an organisation would have committed the offence of corporate killing if it could be shown that:

there was management failure - ie the way in which it's activities are managed or organised fails to ensure the health and safety of persons employed in or affected by those activities;

that the management failure fell far below what could be expected; and

that the management failure was a cause of the death.

This will make it easier to prosecute companies and other organisations employing people for homicide offences and means large companies with poor safety systems will no longer escape prosecution simply because it is difficult to find a director who can be prosecuted. Disadvantages include the fact that the only sentence available would be a cash fine rather than imprisonment and it may make investigation of individual directors less likely as it would be easier to prosecute the company (7).

Construction industry starkly shows the need for new law

Construction kills about a third of those killed by work each year. In 2000/2001, 106 deaths were recorded, the worst for a decade. Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott convened a Safety Summit for the industry in February 2001. Trade unions including Amicus, UCATT, GMB, TGWU and UNISON participated with employers and made a range of practical proposals for improvement to safety.

The industry promised to clean up its act but despite evidence that it is the low level of trade union organisation and absence of safety reps on site that is one of the key factors allowing employers to get away with poor safety in construction, the Construction Confederation refused to take part in the subsequent voluntary Workers Safety Advisers project run by HSE with the TUC.

Just how seriously construction employers fail to take health and safety was proved in the HSE construction site blitz one year on from that Safety Summit. In spring and summer 2002: 1,113 sites were visited by HSE inspectors who imposed 460 Prohibition Notices (PNs) and 97 Improvement Notices. 'Sadly the blitz indicates there is a common pattern across construction sites in GB of relaxed attitudes to health, safety and welfare. Three quarters of the PNs dealt with working at height risks which cause nearly half of all construction fatalities,' said Pam Waldron, HSE's Head of Operations (Construction) for Scotland and Northern Ireland (8).

Further information on the need for new law on corporate killing see the CCA/DA/TUC booklet (9).

Section three : legislate for punitive and deterrent safety penalties

The problem: fines for health and safety offences are still derisory, penalties are not innovative.

Some examples of fines:

MacFarlane Packaging - fined £3,000 for offences relating to death of forklift truck driver.

Contractor Christopher Nicholson fined £7,500 following death of labourer, by crushing.

Billington Structures fined £200,000 after worker's life 'wasted'; company previously fined £10,000 for crushing a worker to death (13)

That fines for breaches of health and safety regulations are too low to act as significant deterrent has been acknowledged by the Lord Chancellor and High Court judges in Court of Appeal cases such as the 1998 Howe case. In this case judges criticised average fines of £17,768 as too low and sought to ensure stiffer sentences and fines by setting out criteria to help courts impose appropriate fines for health and safety offences. These have been refined by four subsequent cases and incorporated into sentencing guidelines, which the Magistrates Association sent out to all magistrates in 2001. Magistrates Courts can only impose a maximum fine of £20,000 fine but this can be unlimited for certain offences in the Crown court, so magistrates have to decide if they have sufficient sentencing power for serious health and safety breaches or whether they should refer to a higher court.

Fines have risen but are still a small fraction of company profits and it is clear they are totally inadequate in making directors in boardrooms sit up and take notice. For example Colthrop Board Mill Ltd had its £350,000 fines reduced to £200,000 by the Court of Appeal for a breach of safety which seriously injured a worker despite the fact that the company had paid its shareholders £9.5 million in dividends just months before. (14).

Health and safety fines between 2000/01 and 2001/02

the average fine per case is £12,194 up 39%;

£32,700 for a work-related death, up about 66% from two years ago;

the average fine per offence rose by 33%;

taking out the exceptional fines of £100,000 and over, the average adjusted fine rose by 14%;

total fines in British courts rose by over £2 million to £10 million;

the average fine for breach of general duties under HSWA in 2001/02 was £12,270 compared to £3,275 for breaches in Regulations;

the average fine per offence in higher courts rose from £18,189 in 2000/01 to £24,460 in 2001/02 but in the lower court fines remained about the same;

average fines for construction are up 62%, for manufacturing up 47%, for mining and quarrying up 20% but for the service sector and agriculture fines remain about the same;

however in the LA enforced sector, where the majority of workers work, the average fine has fallen by 15% to £3,903.

Source: Health and safety offences and penalties 2001/02 (15)

Unions want higher fines and more innovative penalties

Higher and proportionate fines

The criteria set by the Howe judgement that fines should be substantial and in some circumstances even high enough to put a company out of business should be properly implemented. Fines should be linked to the seriousness of the offence and also to the turnover, profits and size of a company or undertaking so they have the impact to deter. The courts have the power to impose fines up to 10% of turnover for competition offences such as the case where Littlewoods and Argos were fined £22 million for toy price fixing with Hasbro.

Action Point 7 of Revitalising Health and Safety pledged to introduce legislation to allow courts to impose higher fines but no Safety Bill has been brought forward by the government, forcing Lawrie Quinn MP to introduce a private members bill on 7th January 2003, for more details see the TUC briefing (16).

More innovative penalties

Naming and shaming (Action Point 8 from Revitalising Health and Safety) has been achieved. The HSE instigated a name and shame web-site where companies and individuals convicted of health and safety offences are listed. 900 companies have been named, 1,064 cases prosecuted by HSE with 84% conviction rate and total fines of £10 million. The HSE hope this is helpful to contracting organisations looking a tender bids, insurers setting employers' liability premiums, to investors looking at ethical criteria and potential job applicants. (17).

Other innovative penalty ideas have been proposed by the Centre for Corporate Accountability and Disaster Action (18), for example...

A fixed penalty point system similar to that under the Road Traffic Offenders Act

Where a company is convicted of a safety offence, directors could be given a number of penalty points according to the seriousness of the offence. Directors individually convicted could also be given penalty points. Any director accumulating more than a specified number of penalty points would then be disqualified for directorship.

Disqualification for directors convicted of serious health and safety offences

Linked to the penalty point system, but also allowing directors to be disqualified for certain very serious health and safety offences that they are convicted of individually or of which their company is convicted. Under the Company Director's Disqualification Act 1986, only eight directors have ever been disqualified. Directors should face disqualification for varying periods of time for health and safety offences and banning for life for offences that kill or maim through gross negligence.

Compulsory health and safety training for directors of companies convicted of offences

This could be linked to the penalty points system or the Probation orders.

Equity fines

Cash fines against companies may be passed on to workers through redundancy or wage or condition cuts, or to customers through increased prices and so punish those with no power over corporate health and safety decision making. Equity fines are one way to overcome this. A U.S. academic, John Coffee, suggested that convicted companies be required to issue a particular number of shares - equivalent to an expected market value to the cash fine necessary- which would be placed in the state's crime victim compensation fund to be sued when required. The advantages of equity fines include allowing the courts to seize a share in the company's future earnings as well as ownership of plant, equipment and property investments; placing the costs exclusively on the shareholders; carries no threat to the company's solvency, or employment of workers; much higher penalties could be imposed and it will encourage shareholders to take account the risk of illegal health and safety behaviour.

Probation or remedial orders

Probation allows for rehabilitation of offenders, whether corporate bodies or individual directors. Imposed for period of time, probation orders could specify the remedial action that must be taken by the employing body or the individual director which could include individual retraining, restructuring the whole health and safety procedures of the company or employing new safety officers. As the main aim of penalties for health and safety offences is to force employers to comply with the law and protect people, probation orders or remedial orders may be effective and may possibly be more effective than massive fines for public service employers.

Adverse publicity orders

The stigma of public prosecution only sticks to the offending corporate body or director if the public are aware of it. In the 19th century magistrates could order the publication of the names of those adulterating bread and current laws allow the press to be alerted to companies breaking consumer protection law. In New Zealand and Australia publicity sanctions are common in food and drug laws and against tax evaders. In the United States companies can be required to publish notices about their illegal acts and the remedial action they have been forced to take. This will gain wider publicity than the HSE's naming and shaming website listing all enforcement action taken against employers.

Community service

Where the convicted company cannot pay the high fine the court wishes to impose and equity fines are not feasible, or to replace part of a cash fine, a Corporate Community Service Order could be effective. The order would require the company to engage in a socially constructive project related to the offence committed to repair or undo the harm caused. This could be coupled with an adverse publicity order.

Section four : give courts wider powers to imprison

The problem: imprisonment, the ultimate sanction, is not available for enough health and safety offences.

As seen above, fines for health and safety offences though rising are still far too low to have significant impact on directors and employers. Until company directors face imprisonment for failing to comply with a larger range of health and safety breaches, the message will not get through to some employers. There have been only five prison sentences given to individuals since the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 was enacted. In other legislation, such as on food safety and environmental safety, imprisonment is possible for all the sections of the Acts.

Unions want: more powers to imprison

The government should implement Revitalising health and safety Action Point 7 to introduce legislation to allow courts to impose higher fines and also to give 'courts the power to imprison for most health and safety offences.' As no action has been taken by the government to date, Lawrie Quinn made this the subject of a private members bill, introduced on 7 January 2003.

Section five : directors' duties

The problem: health and safety is under-enforced.

Directors are not legally responsible for health and safety, this leaves employers with the impression that health and safety is not a senior management responsibility.

Under sustained campaigning, the enforcement authorities have improved their record, but not sufficiently to act as a real deterrent as the health and safety statistics show. A joint report by the Centre for Corporate Accountability and UNISON Safety last? The under-enforcement of health and safety law says that despite an increase in the investigation of reported incidents, there were still no investigations in 2000/01 of:

3% of workplace deaths;

80% of major injuries;

95% of over 3 day injuries; and

55% of reported occupational diseases.

The report says that in 1998/99 there was no prosecution:

in 67% of deaths of workers;

of 89% of major injuries; and

of 99% of reported occupational diseases (19).

Unions want: strict enforcement and directors to be legally responsible for health and safety

In addition to tough fines and the possibility of prison sentences for most health and safety offences, the enforcement agencies must be seen to be tough and to pursue negligent directors, as other offenders would be treated.

Directors must be made legally responsible for health and safety in their undertakings. Action point 11 of Revitalising Health and Safety pledged that the law would be changed to make these responsibilities statutory. So far, a voluntary code of conduct has been introduced.

Section six : provide more funding for enforcers

The problem: funds for enforcement are being cut and the number of enforcement officers and action will decrease.

The HSE budget this year is £260 million, next year it will be £262 million, in 2004/05 it will be £262 million and in 2005/06 it will fall back to £260 million. Because of inflation and the extra functions the HSE is expected to perform, this amounts to a real terms cut of about 10%.

Local Authorities enforce health and safety in the private service sector - offices, care homes, shops - where the majority of people work, but have been cutting back for several years. Local Authorities have lost a third of their inspectors in the last 5 years (1,500 full time equivalents in 1996/97 to 1,070 in 2000/01) and reduced the number of visits to premises by almost a quarter in the last five years.

The numbers of official HSE workplace inspections have dropped 41% in the last five years according to Safety Last. On average a registered workplace will receive an inspection once in 20 years.

Unions want: doubling of enforcement funds

We want sufficient funding for both the HSE and Local Authority (LA) inspectors to do all the parts of their job effectively. This will require a huge injection of funding to recruit and train more inspectors in both services, to employ more lawyers, more administrative staff, family liaison officers and forensic accountants to ensure an efficient and effective service. The HSE Inspectors' own trade union, Prospect, is asking for an immediate increase in the HSE budget of £35 million.

A campaign run by the CCA, TUC, Hazards Campaign and unions last year called for a doubling of resources for the HSE over three years so that by 2005 the HSC had £390 million to spend on enforcement (24). The same campaign also called for an increase in the funding for the LA sector with the proviso that:

central government ensures LAs are able to provide a quality service by ensuring they work to performance indictors based not only on the number of inspections but also the quality of enforcement activity;

these indicators should be underpinned by minimum standards for the number of inspections and interventions; and

that it can ring fence a certain amount of money that must be spent on health and safety as it does on food safety. (24)

Section seven : abolish crown and parliamentary immunity

The problem: archaic double standards in health and safety enforcement

John Wynne was killed when a furnace fell on him at the Royal Mint in Llantrisant, South Wales in June 2001. The HSE said there is a clear-cut case against the Royal Mint, which accepted responsibility, but they cannot seek a prosecution as the Mint has Crown Immunity (25).

Royal and parliamentary privilege causes inconsistency and double standards for which there is no justification in the 21st century. Some premises are controlled by 'the Crown' such as the NHS, Ministry of Defence factories and dockyards, Royal Mint, prisons and civil service depts. As the courts act on behalf of the Crown, they cannot prosecute the Crown but since 1974 injured parties can sue the Crown in civil courts for damages.

The Health and Safety at Work Act and subsequent regulations do apply to Crown and Parliamentary premises, but Local Authority EHOs and HSE inspectors cannot prosecute these premises in the criminal courts for breaking health and safety law. Since 1978 enforcement officers have been able to issue special non-statutory 'Crown Enforcement Notices' in place of the statutory Improvement or Prohibition Notices applicable in all other workplaces and the appropriate trade unions are able to attend when these notices are served. But non-compliance with these 'Crown notices' cannot lead to prosecutions as the statutory notices can. A Crown censure can be recorded in circumstances where but for Crown Immunity the HSE or LA would have prosecuted.

In 1986 Crown Immunity was removed from food hygiene laws in NHS kitchens after 19 deaths at Wakefield hospital and no longer applies at all in the NHS. The Food Safety Act 1990 allows statutory improvement and prohibition notices against Crown Bodies and in lieu of prosecution, the power to seek a High Court (or in Scotland, Court of Session) declaration on non-compliance. There is no logic to which bodies are Crown bodies and which are not.

Unions want: abolition of outdated immunity from prosecution

The government to remove outdated immunity to allow Crown bodies to be prosecuted for both health and safety and manslaughter offences. Parliament should give up its immunity which places it above the law, unlike the Scottish parliament and the Welsh Assembly.

Section eight : include victims of workplace crime in the victims charter

The problem: victims of workplace crime are disregarded and silenced in the criminal justice system.

The Home Office publishes a Victims Charter, essentially a bill of rights for victims of crime. This Charter excluded workers made ill or injured and passengers injured in rail crashes. The Charter excluded victims of crimes not prosecuted by the Crown Prosecution Service, thus excluding thousands of workers and members of the public whose injuries are caused by criminal failings but are investigated by the HSE or local authorities. They will not be able to present a victim statement to the court unlike the victims of other crimes, nor will they get help from the Victim Support organisation. The TUC and victims organisations submitted that these people should be included, as breaches of health and safety offences are criminal acts. The Home Office claims it has not ruled workplace victims out forever, just excluded them for now. It's yet another example of workplace crimes not being seen as real crime. (26)

Under the terms of the Charter, victims of non-workplace violent crime are acknowledged, consulted and given a voice in the criminal justice system. Their views on sentencing of criminals and on prevention and deterrence are sought and listened to. This is not true of those maimed by work, those dying of asbestos related diseases or cancers, or the families of those killed by workplace negligence.

If your house is burgled or your car broken into and the radio stolen, once you report it to the police, you can expect a letter or phone call offering emotional and practical support from the local Victims Support organisation. When someone you love is killed at work or seriously injured or diagnosed as dying from an occupational illness, this facility is not available and often there is no official help, no support. A woman and her children just told that her husband, their father, is never coming home again, is in need of more support than someone who's car radio has been stolen. This is not fair or just.

Unions want: workplace victims to be acknowledged as victims of crime

The government to acknowledge that people who are the victims of workplace crime are just as much victims of crime, as the burgled, mugged or assaulted and deserve more support and help from the Home Office supported Victims Support system. Their views on the crimes committed against them should be sought and used to help prevent further deaths, injuries and illnesses and they must be included in the Victims Charter.

Section nine : references and notes

1. Background to Workers Memorial Day

Workers Memorial Day (WDM) is now an international day of remembrance of workers killed in incidents at work, or by diseases caused by work. It is recognised by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), and in the UK by the Hazards Campaign, the TUC, the Scottish TUC, the Health and Safety Commission and Executive (HSC/E) and trade unions. WMD is commemorated in nearly 100 countries world-wide and officially adopted by Canada, Spain, Portugal, Thailand, Taiwan, Dominican Republic and Peru. In 2002 the ILO announced that 28 April should be an official day in the UN system.

Every death due to work devastates a family creating heartbreak and hardship often made worse by totally inadequate penalties and the knowledge that it should have been prevented. WMD highlights that sorrow and loss and channels the anger into action for prevention in all workplaces by Remembering the Dead but also Fighting for the Living. Trade Union Safety Reps save lives and WMD supports trade unions and workers in workplace action. Workers Memorial Day is part of a campaign for social justice and changes in the system which puts profits before people. Workplace activities and events will be taking place all over the country organised and promoted by trade unions and also religious services.

Essentially the major point of WMD is campaigning to prevent death, injury and illness caused by work. In other years the theme has been young workers, women, asbestos still kills and last year Improving public health through stronger occupational health and safety.

WMD originated in Canada where public service workers launched a Day of Mourning in 1985 and the Canadian Government passed an Act respecting a day of mourning for persons killed or injured in the workplace in 1991.

In the USA it has been recognised since 1989. The date 28th April was chosen, as it is the date of the first workers compensation act. Since 1989 trade unions in the USA, the UK, Asia, Europe and Africa have organised events on 28 April. In 1990 Tommy Harte, a Hazards Campaigner from Birmingham, brought the idea to the UK. Sadly Tommy died in 1995. Since then it has been taken up by trade unions, adopted by the Scottish TUC in 1993, followed by the TUC in 1999 and the Health and Safety Commission and Executive in 2000.

For more information, for WMD posters and purple forget-me-knot ribbons, contact Greater Manchester Hazards Centre Tel 0161 953 4037 e-mail

2. Simon Jones Memorial Campaign - ww w

3. House of Commons debate on Workplace Fatalities 19 March 2002, Hansard

4. HSE NI Annual Lecture by John Monks, General Secretary of TUC, University of Ulster November 2002 -

5. Unions, safety committees and workplace injuries by Barry Reilly, Peirella Paci and Peter Hall in British Journal of Industrial Relations 33.2 June 1995

6. Amicus/MSF Section: Clergy and Church Workers Workers' Memorial Day 2003 material from Amicus Centre, 33-37 Moreland Street, London EC1V 8HA Tel 020 7505 3000

7.CCA Corporate Crime Update Summer 2002 No 2: Special Issue on Corporate Manslaughter,

8. HSE press Release on Construction Blitz

9. CCA/DA/TUC Why we need a new corporate killing law: the answers to work-related deaths March 2003 also on

10. HSE statistics

11. ILO statistics

12. HSE statistics

13. Hazards Magazine Crime news -

14. Health and safety Bulletin No 315 page 20

15. Health and Safety offences and penalties

16. TUC briefing on Lawrie Quinn MP's Health and Safety (Offences) Bill on

17. HSE naming and shaming -; see also CCA corporate crime updates and Hazards magazine crime news

18. The Case for Corporate Responsibility Corporate Violence and the Criminal Justice System Disaster Action by David Bergman, Centre for Corporate Accountability

19. Safety Last? The under-enforcement of health and safety law November 2002 by UNISON and the CCA and

20. The union effect Hazards 78 pages 4-5

21. Safety behaviour in the construction sector by Nick McDonald, Department of Psychology, Trinity College, Dublin and Victor Hrymak, School of Food Science and Environmental Health, DIT

22. Risks 16 -

23. Worker participation in health and safety: A review of Australian provision for worker health and safety representation by Sarah Page, HSE July 2002

24. A campaign for safety, law enforcement and corporate accountability by the TUC and CCA supported by the Hazards campaign and trade unions.

25. Hazards magazine 80 page 6

26. Hazards magazine 79 page 7

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