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‘Reclaim enforcement as social good’, urges charity

Katie Coyne10/01/2019 - 13:21

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Hazards Campaign manifesto
Hazards Campaign manifesto

Red tape is better than bloody bandages: this was the claim of the Hazards Campaign charity as it presented its manifesto to improve health and safety at work.

The charity argues that health and safety has been demonised as ‘pointless red tape’ and a ‘burden on business’. It pointed out that the three factors that make work safer and healthier are strong laws, strict enforcement and strong, active trade unions.

Unionised workplaces with elected safety reps are up to twice as safe as non-union workplaces, it added. It also claimed that reduced trade unionisation has led to increases in work fatalities.

The manifesto calls for:

  • an end to deregulation and restoration of enforcement as a social good;
  • development of a health and safety system based on prevention, precaution and participation;
  • ensuring good health and safety in low-paid and precarious work.

Janet Newsham co-ordinator of Greater Manchester Hazards Centre and Acting chair of Hazards Campaign said: ‘Work contributes to a huge amount of public ill-health, to health inequality, lower life expectancy and fewer years of healthy life.

‘But all of this is preventable with the right framework of strong laws, strict enforcement and support for active worker and union participation and will have massive payback for workers, employers and whole economy.’

She added: ‘After Grenfell no-one can be in any doubt as to the deadly dangers of deregulation and it must be halted and reversed.’

The charity manifesto is also calling for restoration of good regulation and enforcement, and a revamping of the independence, funding and action of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and local authority enforcement agencies, empowering trade unions and safety reps.

It is calling for the HSE to collect statistics on all work-related deaths, injuries and illnesses across all sectors and publicise this alongside the cost to individuals, employers, society and the economy.

It argues that the government must ‘reclaim regulation as a social good by collecting, collating and publicising the evidence for the benefits of good regulation and enforcement for all.’

The campaign is calling for the government, political parties and trade unions to adopt the manifesto.

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