Risks 611 - 29 June 2013

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Risks is the TUC's weekly online bulletin for safety reps and others, read each week by over 23,000 subscribers. To receive this bulletin every week, click here. Past issues are available. This edition contains Useful links TUC courses for safety reps Disclaimer and Privacy

Editor: Rory O'Neill of Hazards magazine. Comments to the TUC at [email protected]

Union News

The government's 'sinister spin' is out of control

There is a growing tendency for government ministers to put their own skewed and deregulatory infused 'spin' on official health and safety announcements, the TUC has revealed. TUC head of safety Hugh Robertson said recent Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) news releases, posted on the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website, 'have been completely misleading or even inaccurate by putting a deregulatory slant to the release.' Writing in TUC's Stronger Unions blog, he cites the 29 May DWP launch of the new National Enforcement Code for health and safety inspections, which said local authorities are now 'banned' from undertaking unnecessary inspections (Risks 607). The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, the professional body for local authority inspectors, wasn't impressed. It said this was 'both inflammatory and misleading'. It also criticised other parts of the news release that referred to tens of thousands of businesses being removed from health and safety inspections/ CIEH said that unless this is qualified it gives a completely wrong impression. Another DWP news release, again appearing on HSE's website, this week announced new guidance on work experience placements. Skills minister Matthew Hancock stated 'companies need do no more than they would do for one of their own employees.' This is completely misleading, says the TUC. 'Under the management regulations they have to do a specific risk assessment if they employ young people because of their lack of awareness of risk, inexperience and immaturity,' TUC's Hugh Robertson said. 'What these two examples show is the level of manipulation and spin that is now going into undermining health and safety. This is not coming from the HSE, whose press releases are generally factual and of practical use, but from the parent department, the DWP. This represents the politicisation of both the civil servants who produce them and introduces a new and sinister element to the debate on regulation.'

'Feeble' HSE fails children on farms

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is putting children's lives at risk by scrapping guidance covering their safety on farms, rural workers' union Unite has warned. The union was speaking out after the HSE board this week approved a proposal to withdraw the Approved Code of Practice (ACoP) on children in agriculture. ACoPs are 'evidential'; if there is evidence an employer has failed to match the standards laid out in an ACoP, a court is more likely to find them at fault. Unite argues that the decline in child deaths in agriculture since the introduction of the ACoP in 1988 is due in part to the code's existence and the added legal weight it gives to safety campaigns. Tractor driver Steve Leniec, the chair of Unite's national committee for rural and agricultural workers, said: 'We believe the ACoP should not only have been retained but updated and broadcast effectively to an industry that is in the grip of deregulation fever, worsening conditions for workers and their families.' He added: 'The scrapping of the ACoP and the legal underpinning it brings to the critical messages about children's safety on farms is a signal to the industry from a cynical government. The HSE claims it will step up its communication with the industry. This is a feeble response, especially given relentless cuts in its funding.' Agriculture is one of the most dangerous industries in the UK. According to HSE's own figures there were 29 child fatalities between 1998 and 2011. During the ten year period from 2001 to 2011 there was an average of 15 serious injuries to children each year.

Protecting vulnerable workers is not 'red tape'

Government plans to strip the Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA) of powers to regulate the forestry sector, land agents and cleaning contractors operating in the food processing industry will put thousands of vulnerable workers at risk, the TUC has warned. Under the proposals, which could be introduced later this year, agencies in these sectors would no longer have to get a GLA licence before they start operating or be subject to inspections by the GLA. The GLA will also no longer be able to protect the rights of apprentices supplied through an apprentice training agency, people employed through the government's work programme, or volunteers. Ministers also say they want 'lighter regulation' when it comes to initial inspections by the GLA, which the TUC says could lead to further abuses in sectors already covered by the GLA and permit rogue operators to return. Referring to a tragedy that claimed the lives of 23 Chinese migrant cocklers in 2004 and led to the creation of GLA, TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: 'We all remember the horrible events of Morecambe Bay and it defies logic for the government to scale back the remit of the Gangmasters Licensing Authority. The GLA licence is not red tape. It provides vital safeguards for people working in high risk industries, it ensures that people are paid the minimum wage and makes sure apprentices are not exploited. It also increases consumer confidence that workers who help prepare their food are not being mistreated.' TUC says instead of reducing the scope of the GLA, its remit should be extended to other high risk sectors including construction, hospitality and social care.

Unions love the 'We love red tape' campaign

A 'We love red tape' campaign extolling the virtues of stringent workplace safety regulation and enforcement has won the backing of unions and campaigners in the UK and beyond. The facebook initiative by the workers' health and safety journal Hazards notes workplace red tape is not a burden on business but does offer essential, life-saving protection for workers. It calls for a radical reappraisal of the Health and Safety Executive's role, with enforcement and worker involvement to become the safety watchdog's watch words. UK unions including Unite and UNISON have promoted the new 'We love red tape' facebook campaign. Picking up a key message from the campaign, Unite's latest health and safety newsletter notes: 'We'd like you to 'like' We love red tape. It's the only alternative to more bloody bandages.' Calling for the re-examination of HSE's role ahead of the planned departure of current HSE chief executive Geoffrey Podger this summer, the campaign says HSE should investigate all major injuries and serious occupational diseases 'with a presumption that enforcement action will follow.' It also calls for HSE to set up a 'Bright Ideas' unit to encourage innovative, preventive, precautionary approaches, noting: 'Innovation is good - it means new products, new markets and new and better jobs.' HSE's 'near extinct' medical wing EMAS should be 'resurrected' and properly funded, with a new emphasis on troubleshooting health problems in the workplace, it says, adding HSE should also harness the skills and energy of the 150,000 trade union safety reps who 'are on the ground and ready to go.' The campaign has also been well-received by unions and workplace safety campaigns outside the UK. The US-based National Council for Occupational Safety and Health noted: 'We agree. Red tape isn't so bad if it protects against bloody bandages. In fact, it's the only way to prevent more workers from being hurt on the job.'

Cost-cutting rail contractors could cost lives

Profit-hungry contractors are putting passengers' lives at risk by flooding the railways with untrained casual staff, rail workers have warned. Rail contractors are sending casual workers to carry out 'critical' tasks like track maintenance for Network Rail in order to cut costs, delegates at RMT's 24 June conference heard. RMT general secretary Bob Crow said engineering work was being carried out by agency staff ordered in by text message each day. This could have 'lethal implications', he said, pledging to ramp up pressure on politicians to stop the practice before 'we have a tragedy on our hands.' Edinburgh track inspector Alex Hogg described how 'vanloads of young, inexperienced men turn up on weekends to do one or two shifts.' York delegate Billy Rawcliffe said he has been forced to work for an agency since being sacked by Network Rail. He said agency workers weren't provided with even the most basic facilities - he and colleagues were forced to change into workwear by the side of the road. 'I'm living proof it can happen to anyone but it's given me more resolve to fight casualisation,' he said. The Morning Star reports over 200 agencies have been set up to provide this cheap labour and their staff now outnumber workers directly employed by Network Rail.

Unite goes to Spain to expose 'blacklister'

Unite members travelled to Barcelona and Madrid this week to protest at construction firm Ferrovial's involvement in blacklisting and victimisation of trade unionists working on Crossrail. The company is part of the BFK (BAM, Ferrovial and Kier) consortium running the biggest construction project in Europe. Unite believes that shop steward Frank Morris and nearly 30 other workers with the same subcontractor were singled out 'just because Mr Morris was an active trade unionist who raised legitimate health and safety concerns.' Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: 'BFK needs to understand that it can't hide behind the technicalities of the law - this is a question of ethics. It is not acceptable to put people out of work because one man tried to protect his fellow workers.' He added: 'Already one shareholder - Federal Finance - has pulled its shareholding out of Ferrovial after hearing Unite's evidence and I would not be surprised if more were to follow. We will not tolerate outrageous anti-union discrimination which has ruined and endangered the lives of our members for many years. Unite has now launched an international campaign, which will ensure that Ferrovial's shareholders and clients are pressed to make moral and ethical decisions about their future relations with the company.'

Union seeks compensation for fall victim

A union is to seek compensation for a worker paralysed in a workplace fall. GMB announced it was planning legal action on behalf of Phillip Gates after his supervisor was fined last week for criminal safety breaches. Paul Burke, 56, from Brighouse, West Yorkshire, a supervisor for BLS Asbestos Ltd, had ignored Phillip's pleas for safety equipment (Risks 610). The GMB member was 23 when he fell 40ft through a warehouse roof sky light onto a concrete floor. Despite raising concerns that other contractors working on the site were using safety harnesses and nets, Phillip was not given any protective equipment or safety training before being sent to remove roof panels at the Rettig UK Ltd site. Lawyers brought in by the union have obtained a 'substantial' interim payment and a claim for full compensation is ongoing. Billy Coates, GMB Northern regional secretary, said: 'The government is undermining the importance of workplace health and safety, making it easier for employers to cut corners and harder for injured workers to hold employers to account.' He added: 'GMB is committed to making sure that health and safety legislation sticks and that our members and their families are supported throughout the process. More so than ever before, the role of unions is vital in defending the rights and safety of the UK's working population, something the government is intent on sweeping under the carpet.'

UNISON wants more safety reps and campaigning

The importance of health and safety reps is greater than ever given the government's continued assault on the health and safety regulatory system, UNISON delegates have agreed. A motion on health and safety passed at the union conference last week noted that the coalition's cuts to the Health and Safety Executive and local authority budgets has resulted in a reduction in workplace inspections. According to UNISON, it has also seen the dumbing down of HSE advice, guidance and approved codes of practice (ACoPs). Cuts to public services and 'the almost perpetual organisational change' had led to increased stress levels and other detrimental effects on the health and safety of the workforce, it added. Putting the motion, Chris Stevens from UNISON's Glasgow City branch said that there were many more work-related deaths than government figures suggested. He urged UNISON to train many more health and safety reps, who could lead the fight for better conditions by carrying out workplace inspections themselves. Passing the motion, delegates called on the UNISON national executive to: Work with UNISON's Learning and Organising Services to improve training for safety reps; encourage branches to participate in the union's Safety in Numbers campaign; provide bargaining advice to assist safety reps to get the time off to which they are legally entitled; and 'work with the TUC, the Hazards campaign and other trade unions in the UK and Europe to combat the government's reckless attacks on health and safety.'

Mad dash for seats is bad for workers

Forcing workers into a Ryanair style dash for a seat in the office lowers morale and hits workers' health, according to the union UNISON. It says as utility companies and councils strive to make cuts, many call centre operations allocate desks on a first come first served basis. This 'dehumanises workers', the union says, adding rules forcing workers to clear their space each evening and hot desk every morning make them the human equivalent of 'battery hens'. The union is warning that money saved from cutting office space may be counterproductive as hot desking can lead to higher sickness rates and lower morale. It also ignores issues like proper ergonomic set up of workstations tailored to the individual, or infection spread caused by constantly sharing telephone equipment, keyboards and desk space. Dave Prentis, general secretary of UNISON, said: 'A Ryanair style dash for seats every morning is the worst possible way to start the day. UNISON is calling on employers to think twice about introducing hot desking, especially in areas like call centres. The target driven culture, coupled with the constant demands of customers, can be dehumanising enough, without the loss of your personal space.' He added: 'We all need to bring a bit of individuality and our own personality to any job and packing up your working day into a locker or crate can be very depressing and morale sapping.' UNISON has produced a call centre charter to improve the working environment for workers and is urging companies and councils to sign up.

Vibration risk red light came too late

A union member from Gateshead has been awarded 'substantial' compensation for vibration white finger (VWF) in a GMB-backed court case against his employer. The joiner, whose name has not been released, began experiencing the typical symptoms of VWF - including numbness and tingling in his fingers and hands - whilst at work. 'I was using various hammer drills and vibrating hand tools regularly at work. As I was driving home at the end of the day I started to notice my hands were feeling a bit numb,' he said. Despite reporting the symptoms to the unidentified employer during the annual vibration surveillance process for a number of years, his concerns were not taken seriously until he was finally advised to visit his doctor. Faced with a GMB-backed compensation claim, the firm argued that his condition was not caused by work. The case went to trial where the judge found that the employer was liable. 'My employers introduced a Traffic Light System a number of years earlier which gave guidance on how long we should spend using particular bits of vibrating kit. The problem was that by that time, I'd already spent years working with the drills, often under pressure to get work completed quickly so that targets could be met,' he said. 'I am pleased the judge at trial ruled in my favour and awarded me compensation but I'd rather have my health back.' Commenting on the introduction of the vibration 'Traffic Light System', GMB regional secretary Billy Coates said: 'It's a case of too little, too late for our member.' He added: 'His concerns should have been taken more seriously during the annual vibration surveillance activity. I hope that this case will make employers pay more attention to occupational health issues instead of chasing targets at the expense of workers' health.'

Safety slip up led to punctured lung

A 64-year-old factory worker was left with broken ribs and a punctured lung after his employer failed to comply with workplace health and safety regulations. Terrence Featherstone, from Ilkeston in Derbyshire, was working as a production operative for Stanton Bonna Concrete Ltd at the time of the incident. The GMB member had used the onsite shower facilities at the Stanton by Dale base of the concrete piping and manhole manufacturer after his shift and was walking to the changing area. The smooth concrete floor between the shower and changing area was wet and had not been made slip-resistant. Mr Featherstone fell backwards onto nearby concrete steps, suffering multiple cracked ribs and a punctured lung. He was awarded £10,000 in damages for his injuries. He said: 'It seems like such a small thing to have taken care of, just some non-slip mats but my employers completely overlooked them and I paid the price with a punctured lung and cracked ribs.' He added: 'There's a lot of focus on making sure people have the right protective gear in the workplace and while this is obviously very important, employers need to make sure they don't let the small things slide too.' Andy Worth from the GMB said: 'The government is taking steps to undermine these types of claims and make it more difficult for injured employees to take action against negligent employers. We're committed to making sure that health and safety legislation sticks and that our members are supported throughout the process.'

Other news

Bereaved families are furious at ministers

The families of people killed at work have said they are 'furious' at the government's 'dangerous' and 'inaccurate' slant on the laws protecting young people on work experience. In a scathing rebuke to ministers, Families Against Corporate Killers (FACK) said their open letter to employers had set out to 'mislead' them into believing there were no special duties to protect young people at work. A 21 June Department of Work and Pensions news release, posted on the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website and which included quotes from insurers and employers' lobbyists but no workers' advocates, said: 'The latest stage of government's commitment to debunking health and safety myths, and slashing burdensome rules, has seen ministers today outline plans to make it as easy as possible for employers to take on work experience students.' It added: 'Employers have been hampered in the past by thinking they have to do special risk assessments for young people, and even having to repeat the same assessment for every young person they give a chance of work experience, even though the circumstances were exactly the same.' Minister for employment Mark Hoban said: 'Too often in the past, the crazy cornucopia of confusing rules discouraged employers from taking young people on. That's why we have been working across government to make sure the rules are clear and easy to understand.' A FACK spokesperson commented: 'We have no problems with making laws easier to understand to keep children safe. But this DWP statement is an ideological, fact-free, business-friendly, inaccurate, misleading and dangerous statement from the government. It is inaccurate on the law on health and safety for children on work experience placements, and by encouraging employer complacency may further endanger children.' She said in 2011/12, four under-19s were killed in work-related incidents and 671 suffered a major injury. FACK said indications young people should be treated just like any other worker were 'just plain wrong... Suggesting that employers do nothing because they have already done a risk assessment before, is not a legally correct option.'

Young worker killed by unsafe tractor

A leading cheese company has been fined after a farm worker was killed when the tractor she was driving overturned. Kim Webb, 26, was thrown from the vehicle, which had no seatbelt or roll bar protection, as she drove to check on cattle at the dairy farm in June 2009. The tractor overturned twice on a sloping field before righting itself. It continued moving in circles until it came to rest against a fence. It is thought that Ms Webb was thrown off and crushed as the tractor overturned. The driverless tractor was seen by passing members of the public, who found Ms Webb and alerted the emergency services. She was declared dead on arrival at hospital. Her employer, Somerset based JA&E Montgomery Ltd, was fined £80,000 and ordered to pay costs of £40,000 after pleading guilty to a criminal safety offence. The court heard that despite Kim Webb's supervisor having no formal training qualifications on how to use the tractor, the company still allowed the training to take place unmonitored. The company also permitted the use of the tractor on the road and in the yard without a roll bar, in the knowledge that it was in breach of the relevant regulations, and without a seatbelt. It failed to monitor the use of the tractor and to appreciate it was being used on a sloping field. Kim Webb's father, Terry Webb, said: 'Inexperienced farm workers, especially young people, must be given proper training and supervision when handling potentially dangerous machinery and not just left to get on with the job. They must also be provided with all the right safety equipment to protect them. My daughter paid for this lack of care with her life.' The company was also prosecuted in 2000 for management failures that led to a non-fatal tractor related incident.

Network Rail safety failures want a £10m bonus

Network Rail bosses who have missed punctuality and safety targets for two years have drawn up a new long term bonus plan which could earn them multi-million pound payouts over the next three years, rail union TSSA has revealed. The scheme, to be approved at the taxpayer funded firm's July AGM, will pay out up to 100 per cent of annual salaries on top of an annual bonus of up to 60 per cent up to 2015. The biggest winner would be chief executive Sir David Higgins who could see his basic salary of £577,000 leap to over £1.5 million a year if he meets all targets. Calling on the firm's 40 public members to reject the new scheme at the 18 July Network Rail AGM in Cardiff, TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes said: 'It almost defies belief that these managers are planning to turn themselves into millionaires at our expense when they have failed to meet their own punctuality and safety targets over the past two years.' He added: 'These people should be concentrating a running a safe and punctual railway. They shouldn't be sitting around a board room in London playing their own version of Who Wants To Be a Millionaire.' The five executives could earn annual and long terms bonuses of up to £9.8 million by 2015 before taking into account salary increases over the next three years. TSSA says three of them are also to share £900,000 in retention bonuses next year.

Granddad dies in skylight plunge

A man working alongside his brother died after plunging six metres through a fragile skylight. A court heard the tragedy occurred because safety measures were neglected both by his employer and a major drinks wholesaler. Robert Rogers, 61, was working for Richard Parker, trading as Ovenden Engineering, which had been contracted by Allied Domecq Spirits and Wine Ltd to fix a leak in the roof and clean the gutters of their bonded warehouse in Dover, Kent. Canterbury Crown Court was told that Mr Rogers was on the roof with his brother, Trevor, also an employee of Richard Parker, when he fell through one of the 80 skylights and hit the concrete floor below. He suffered multiple injuries and died later in hospital. Mr Rogers, known as Bob, left his wife Jennifer, two sons and nine grandchildren. The incident, on 16 November 2010, was investigated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which prosecuted Richard Parker and Allied Domecq Spirits and Wine Ltd, trading as CG Hibbert Ltd. Both firms pleaded guilty to a criminal safety offence. In a statement to the court, Mr Rogers' wife of nearly 40 years, Jennifer, said: 'I miss him terribly. I miss talking things over with him. Bob used to help our sons a lot with DIY and we all miss him not being here to help, he was very knowledgeable. My life is empty now without my lifelong companion by my side. He was my soulmate - we did everything together.' Latest HSE statistics show that 40 workers were killed and more than 3,400 were seriously injured in falls from height in 2011/12.

Health board done for asbestos failings

A Scottish health board has been fined for safety failings that left workers and contractors at risk from deadly asbestos fibres. Glasgow Sheriff Court heard that Greater Glasgow Health Board, known as Greater Glasgow & Clyde NHS, had failed to properly manage the risks of asbestos in a basement plant room of the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Glasgow. A survey in February 2009 had identified the presence of asbestos containing materials (ACMs) in the plant room. In January 2011 a survey of the plant room was carried out prior to the installation of a new MRI scanner at the hospital. This found that some of the ACMs were in a poor condition and now posed a high risk. It recommended removal and environmental cleaning of the area. Air and swab samples for asbestos fibres came back positive, the plant room was then sealed off and the matter reported to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). An investigation by the HSE found that the health board had taken no action since the 2009 survey to monitor the ACMs within the plant room. No labelling of the ACMs had taken place - something recommended after the 2009 survey - and nothing had been done over the following two years to maintain the materials in good condition. The court also heard that employees of the health board and outside contractors regularly had to access the plant room and could have been exposed to the harmful asbestos fibres when carrying out maintenance work. Greater Glasgow Health Board was fined £6,000 after pleading guilty to a criminal breach of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006.

International News

Australia: Asbestos eradication law takes effect

Groundbreaking measures to protect Australians from asbestos have become law. Minister for employment and workplace relations Bill Shorten last week welcomed the passing of the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency Bill 2013 by the Australian parliament. A new Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency will begin operations from 1 July and will implement the National Strategic Plan for Asbestos Awareness and Management. 'There will now be a national agency dedicated to working with jurisdictions and stakeholders to create a nationally consistent approach to the eradication, handling and awareness of asbestos,' Mr Shorten said. 'Australia is the first nation to progress towards the ultimate elimination of asbestos-related diseases.' He said Australia was the most prolific user of asbestos containing material in the world. The national plan, which is seen as a victory for trade union campaigning on the asbestos issue, aims to prevent exposure to asbestos fibres in order to eliminate asbestos related disease in Australia. It will achieve this by: increasing public awareness of the dangers posed by working with or being exposed to asbestos; implementing a prioritised removal programme across Australia; developing nationally consistent better practice in asbestos handling and management; coordinating national research to minimise the risk of exposure to asbestos for the Australian community; and playing a leadership role in a global campaign for a worldwide asbestos ban.

Germany: Fears about lasting until retirement age

Only 42 per cent of workers in Germany believe they will be up to working in their current job until retirement age. The findings of union federation DGB's 'Decent work' index are based on survey responses from 4,895 employees from across the country. The majority of those working in the care and hospitality sectors and temporary agency workers felt their working conditions impacted negatively on their health, with increasing stress at work a key concern. DGB president Michael Sommer urged the German government to accept a retirement age of 67 is unrealistic. The union body says there should instead be urgent improvements in working conditions and health protection at the workplace so employees can perform their job until the age of 65.

Global: World Bank told to end deregulation push

An independent review panel has told the World Bank it should stop using its 'flagship' Doing Business report to encourage governments to adopt deregulatory policies. The panel, headed by South Africa's planning minister Trevor Manuel, has told the World Bank it should ditch permanently its 'Employing Workers Indicator', which had been used to encourage countries to reduce dramatically protective labour regulations. It also said the overall 'Ease of Doing Business Indicator' and country rankings should go. These have encouraged a race to the bottom, with regulations abandoned by governments without an adequate evaluation of their benefits and costs. The review cited Georgia as a country that saw a 'substantial' improvement in its Doing Business ranking in 2007 partly as a result of scrapping worker protections. 'They went to the point of abolishing their health and safety agency,' said Peter Bakvis, Washington DC director of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), one of the advisers to Manuel's panel. ITUC general secretary Sharan Burrow welcomed the review's findings and urged the World Bank to implement its recommendations. She said for 10 years the Doing Business report had given governments cover to put the interest of private companies ahead of working people and their families. 'The industrial tragedy in Bangladesh two months ago, where more than 1,100 workers lost their lives because of lax regulation, shows the dangers of promoting a deregulatory agenda in the area of workers' protection,' she said. 'The World Bank is a development institution and should encourage countries to adopt and enforce adequate regulations, not act as a lobby for the most retrograde business interests.'

Events and Courses

Cancer prevention: The Toxic Tour, London, 29 June

Campaigners for occupational and environmental cancer prevention are staging 'A toxic tour' in London on Saturday 29 June. The event, which involves a walk that will take place in green spaces, shops, and will skirt parliament and visit the Emmeline Pankhurst Statue in Westminster, lasts about two hours. The invitation says: 'Take an historic tour through the dark and murky back streets of breast cancer politics. Learn about why rates of the disease have risen by 90 per cent over the last 40 years yet little is being done to prevent it. Gain a new perspective on why certain occupations carry with them an increased risk of breast cancer, up to five times the average rate. Hear about why breast cancer is a 21st century disease, an epidemic of our time and how it is related to not just our lifestyle - which accounts for less than 30-50 per cent of the cases - but is connected to a cocktail of toxic chemicals that begins through exposure in the womb and persists forever after pre- and post-birth in our living and working environments.' The event, which is organised by the union-backed Alliance for Cancer Prevention and Tipping Point Film Fund, is intended to increase public awareness of the links between breast cancer, the workplace and the wider environment.

Hazards Conference, 19-21 July, Stoke-on-Trent

The 24th National Hazards Conference will take place from 19-21 July at the University of Keele, Stoke-on-Trent - and the registration deadline is almost upon us. The Hazards Campaign says it annual gathering comes as 'the effect of the government's deadly attack on health and safety are now being felt in the workplaces.' Urging union safety reps and activists to attend the conference, it says it is now crucial to fight back as the government erodes the employment and safety protections 'won by collective action over generations.' Applications to attend the conference must be submitted by 5 July.

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