Hazards news, 7 November 2015
Britain: Protect yourself and your union rights
In early November, the Trade Union Bill will have its final vote in the House of Commons. The TUC says the proposals would fundamentally undermine UK workers' right to strike and attack key civil liberties, and would seriously hamper the life-saving trade union safety role.
Tweet your MP now and tell them to oppose the Trade Union Bill. If you (or your MP) aren't on Twitter, send them an email about the vote instead. Risks 727. 7 November 2015
Europe: Nothing doing on worker health
Workplace health initiatives including planned Europe-wide rules to reduce the toll of occupational cancer are to stay shelved, latest documentation from the European Commission has confirmed. The TUC berated the Commission’s decision only to “review” the occupational health and safety situation.
TUC Stronger Unions blog. No time for business as usual, Commission work programme 2016, October 2015. Risks 727. 7 November 2015
Britain: Nautilus backs call for UK maritime investigations
Maritime union Nautilus has called for UK authorities to take responsibility for investigations into suspected serious crimes at sea involving UK nationals. The union was speaking out in the wake of renewed calls for a police investigation into the disappearance of ship worker Rebecca Coriam.
Nautilus news release. Handy Shipping Guide. Liverpool Echo. BBC News Online. Daily Mail. Risks 727. 7 November 2015
Britain: UCATT calls for better industry safety tests
Construction union UCATT is calling for a clearer, better system for certifying construction skills to ensure safety on construction sites. The union call came after it was revealed rogue companies were rigging Construction Skills Certification Scheme card exams and providing cards for cash.
UCATT news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 727. 7 November 2015
Britain: Union calls for continued vigilance on site safety
A welcome drop in the number of workers killed on site should not lead to complacency, the construction union UCATT has said. The union said the industry was still far more dangerous than most other sectors, despite new Health and Safety Executive (HSE) figures revealing a 17 per cent drop in deaths in the UK construction industry in 2014/15, with the provisional annual fatalities total in the sector down to 35 from 42 in 2013/14.
UCATT news release. HSE statistical report and industry specific data, including construction breakdown. Risks 727. 7 November 2015
Britain: Unite calls for action on stress
Unite has called for its members to take action on stress. Making the action call on 4 November, National Stress Awareness Day, Unite national safety adviser Susan Murray said the union “is aware that many of our members are suffering as a result of bullying, job uncertainty, changes at work and the government cuts - all of which can have an adverse effect on mental health.”
Unite news release. Risks 727. 7 November 2015
Britain: Killer companies to face bigger fines
Major companies convicted of corporate manslaughter could from next year face fines of up to £20m under new sentencing guidelines. The guidelines, published by the Sentencing Council and due to come into force on 1 February 2016, suggest that judges in England and Wales should impose fines reflecting the size of the convicted organisation.
Sentencing Council news release and definitive guideline. The Guardian. Morning Star. Risks 727. 7 November 2015
Britain: Firms sentenced after construction death
Two linked companies have been fined after a worker was killed when concrete joists dislodged by remotely controlled demolition machines fell on him. Electrician John Walker, who worked for 777 Environmental Limited, met his death while working on a demolition site at Elephant and Castle, London.
HSE news release. Risks 727. 7 November 2015
Britain: Casual worker fatally injured falling through roof
A self-employed worker has been fined after a casual worker he employed to repair a shed roof fell, dying of his injuries several days later. Ayr Sheriff Court heard how on 26 August 2012, William Sproat, 63, had been employed by David William McVey to repair a storm damaged shed roof at Brunton Farm in New Crummnock.
HSE news release and working at height guide. Risks 727. 7 November 2015
Britain: Director fined over chemical tank death
A company run by a former Dundee Football Club director has been fined £50,000 after one of its workers was overcome by toxic fumes and died in a chemical tank. Diamond Wheels (Dundee) Ltd, owned and operated by Paul Marr, admitted a catalogue of criminal health and safety failings over the death of Steven Conway at its premises in the city.
HSE news release. STV News. The Courier. Risks 727. 7 November 2015
Britain: Pirelli fined after teen apprentice is maimed
International tyre manufacturer Pirelli Tyres Limited has been fined after a 17-year-old apprentice suffered serious injuries to his hands while using a metalwork lathe. Stafford Magistrates’ Court heard the apprentice was using emery cloth whilst wearing gloves to perfect the finish, but the cloth snagged pulling him into the lathe.
HSE news release and related guidance. Risks 727. 7 November 2015
Britain: Nightmares follow Hotel Chocolat finger loss
Chocolate manufacturer Hotel Chocolat has been prosecuted after a worker suffered serious hand and arm injuries when cleaning a machine tank. Piotr Podgorski, 35, was emptying a tank when a blue cloth he was holding became entangled in the rotating stirrer, and continued to wrap around his finger, twisting his arm and then tearing the finger off, stripping the tendon from his arm
HSE news release. Risks 727. 7 November 2015
Britain: Shell delay on dealing with offshore explosion risk
A deadline for Shell to address a risk of an offshore fire or explosion has been extended by the safety regulator. A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) improvement notice was issued in August 2015 after an undersea gas leak. The leak happened when a towline snagged on a pipe nearly 300ft below the Curlew floating production vessel in the North Sea, causing a valve to rupture and gas from the Fulmar Gas Line to leak out into the sea 130 miles south east of Aberdeen.
STV News. HSE enforcement database. Risks 727. 7 November 2015
Britain: Subway worker was locked in chiller overnight
A franchise of the sandwich chain Subway has been fined after a worker was trapped overnight in a chiller and tried to escape by writing 'help' in ketchup. Karlee Daubeney, 20, was working the late shift alone on 27 December when a cold store door which had been reported as faulty closed behind her and locked her inside.
Gloucester City Council news release. Western Daily Press. Bath Chronicle. BBC News Online. Risks 727. 7 November 2015
Britain: Waste firm fined £100,000 for crushing arm
A waste and recycling company has been prosecuted after a worker suffered serious fractures when his arm was dragged into the rollers of a moving conveyor belt. The 32-year-old F&R Cawley Limited employee, whose name has not been released, was working at the firm’s Luton site on 28 February 2014 when he was asked to clear a blockage on a material recycling facility machine (MRF).
HSE news release. Luton Today. Risks 727. 7 November 2015
France: Pesticides blamed for cancer ‘homicide’
The French wine industry’s attachment to routine pesticide use is coming under increased scrutiny over concerns about its health impacts. In June this year, the French criminal court launched the unprecedented inquiry into a lung cancer victim’s “involuntary homicide”, officially recognised as being linked to his profession in 2011.
The Guardian. Earlier coverage in The Telegraph. CBC News. Risks 727. 7 November 2015
Global: Call to end impunity for attacks on journalists
Global media union the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is urging governments worldwide to extend judicial cooperation in investigating and prosecuting the killing of journalists. The IFJ also called on financial institutions and aid donors to make respect for press freedom and media protection among key criteria for development aid to countries with high levels of violence in journalism.
IFJ news release and End impunity webpages. Risks 727. 7 November 2015
USA: Poultry industry abuses ‘widespread’
Poultry workers in the United States suffer extremely high rates of injury, earn poverty wages, and work in a climate of fear, Oxfam America has said. The group says its report, based on two years of research, is central to a new nationwide campaign to expose the human cost of the modern poultry industry.
Oxfam America news release. Lives on the Line: The Human Cost of Cheap Chicken, Oxfam America, October 2015: full report, executive summary, multimedia website and social media kit. The Pump Handle. Think Progress. Ecowatch. Risks 727. 7 November 2015
Hazards news, 31 October 2015
Britain: Trade Union Bill could worsen ‘worrying’ deaths figures
Concerns that government policies are behind an upturn in workplace injuries and diseases could be heightened if the Trade Union Bill becomes law, the TUC has warned. TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Unions play a crucial role in keeping people safe at work but these new reforms will make it much harder for unions to work with employers to identify potential hazards.”
TUC news release. HSE news release, statistical report and industry specific data.
Find out what you can do to help stop the Trade Union Bill. Protect the right to strike lobby, London, 2 November. Risks 726. 31 October 2015.
Britain: Strike busting with agency workers a threat to safety
Government plans to allow firms to use agency labour to replace striking workers will lead to “very serious safety concerns”, the TUC has said. TUC head of safety Hugh Robertson explained “take a group of people from an agency, put them into a workplace at a few days’ notice, and you have an accident waiting to happen,” adding in some instances, the effect could be “catastrophic”.
TUC Stronger Unions blog. Risks 726. 31 October 2015.
Britain: Union outrage as 7/7 memorial is obscured
Tube union RMT has demanded immediate action from Transport for London (TFL) after an automatic currency machine was placed directly in front of the memorial to victims of the 2005 7/7 bombings at Kings Cross station. The union says Tube staff are furious that the memory of those who died and were injured, and the personal risks that underground staff themselves took in the rescue operation, “is being tarnished in such a disgraceful and cynical fashion.”
RMT news release. Risks 726. 31 October 2015.
Britain: Firefighters fume over police plans
Firefighters’ union FBU has warned that government plans to hand control of Britain’s fire services to the police could undermine public trust and increase the risk from fires. The government wants to transfer control of fire services to police and crime commissioners (PCCs), removing control from fire authorities which are made up of councillors from local authorities.
Morning Star. Risks 726. 31 October 2015.
Britain: Death linked to fire station closure
The decision by London mayor Boris Johnson to close a fire station last year may have contributed to the death of an elderly man in a fire, the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has said. The fire broke out on 26 October at a property in Camden Road, London, but firefighters from Kentish Town fire station, the nearest to the scene, were unavailable as they were tackling another large fire.
FBU news release. Risks 726. 31 October 2015.
Britain: Prison slip cost officer his job
A prison officer who suffered a career-ending fall at work has secured a six-figure compensation payment in a claim backed by his union, the Prison Officers Association (POA). The 48-year-old, whose name has not been released, was on guard dog patrol at a prison when he slipped on a stretch of path which had not been gritted, fracturing his right foot and has been told by doctors that he faces a 25 per cent risk amputation in future.
Thompsons Solicitors news release. Risks 726. 31 October 2015.
Britain: Construction skills scammers caught on camera
The skills scheme for certifying construction workers has been called into question after a string of test centres were caught rigging health and safety exams. Construction workers across the UK are required to hold a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card to prove skills and grasp of health and safety - but a joint BBC London/Newsnight investigation revealed widespread, organised cheating, allowing untrained builders on to dangerous sites.
BBC News Online and BBC London video clip. CITB statement. BSC statement. Construction Enquirer. Risks 726. 31 October 2015.
Britain: Deadly silica exposures are not being controlled
Companies are continuing to expose workers to excessive levels of silica dust, which can cause deadly cancers and lung diseases, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has admitted. HSE this week urged the stone industry to do more to protect workers’ health after an inspection initiative in the south of England found a failure to control the potentially lethal dust was commonplace, with many not knowing the exposure standard had been tightened nearly a decade ago.
HSE news release and stonemasonry webpages. Risks 726. 31 October 2015.
Britain: Fracking firm disputes known fracking risks
A major fracking firm has gone on the offensive, attacking claims by a campaign group that there are potentially serious occupational and environmental risks associated with the controversial process. Cuadrilla hit out after a leaflet from the campaign group Friends of the Earth (FoE) highlighted warnings, many made by official US government agencies, about the dangers posed by the toxic chemicals and crystalline silica used in large volumes in fracking operations.
Friends of the Earth blog report, supportive letter from academics and fracking webpages. The Times. BBC News Online. Risks 726. 31 October 2015.
Britain: Top judge confirms there is no compensation culture
The UK’s second most senior judge has dismissed the government-promoted notion that the country is suffering from “compensation culture”. Lord Dyson, Master of the Rolls and Head of the Civil Justice, said in a speech that “we should remind ourselves of what the law actually requires and do what we can to explode the false perception of compensation culture.”
Lord Dyson’s speech, 13 October 2015. Thompsons Solicitors news release. International Business Times. The Compensation Myth, TUC/APIL, April 2014. Risks 726. 31 October 2015.
Britain: Dying military veterans denied asbestos justice
British veterans who develop terminal cancer caused by asbestos exposure during their military service are being unfairly treated by the Ministry of Defence (MoD), campaigners and victims have claimed. Current laws mean that the MoD does not have to pay compensation for accidents or injuries suffered before 1987, which rules out those with mesothelioma caused by asbestos exposure decades ago.
Royal British Legion asbestos justice campaign. The Independent. Risks 726. 31 October 2015.
Britain: Agency worker dragged into machine and killed
A company that manufactures and supplies high-strength bar and cable systems has been fined £200,000 after a worker was pulled into an inadequately guarded machine and killed. Alan Gerrard, 47, suffered fatal crush injuries while working at McCalls Special Products Limited when his clothing got caught in the machine, used to apply adhesive tape to bars to stop corrosion. HSE news release and work equipment webpages. Risks 726. 31 October 2015.
Britain: Serco fined £200,000 for teen deckhand death
Serco Ltd has been fined £200,000 over the death of a teenage deckhand who fell from a River Thames ferry. Ben Woollacott, 19, died in 2011 after being dragged from the Woolwich Ferry while mooring ropes were being untied.
London Evening Standard. Gravesend Reporter. BBC News Online. Risks 726. 31 October 2015.
Britain: Balfour fined after worker is electrocuted
Two companies have been sentenced for criminal safety failings after a worker was electrocuted during work on a data centre in Middlesex. Balfour Beatty Engineering Services Ltd (BBES) was contracted to carry out multi-million pound infrastructure upgrade works at the data centre in Hounslow, while Norland Managed Services Ltd (NMS) was already contracted to provide mechanical and electrical maintenance and had effective control of the site.
HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 726. 31 October 2015.
Britain: Director fined for ignoring safety watchdog
The managing director of a Hertfordshire company specialising in recycling of wood waste has been prosecuted for criminal safety failings. Stevenage Magistrates’ Court heard how Janbor Limited was served with three Health and Safety Executive (HSE) improvement notices in October 2014 relating to work activity at its plant, but failed to comply with them.
HSE news release. Risks 726. 31 October 2015.
Bangladesh: Deadly shipbreaking yards claim more lives
The notoriously deadly shipbreaking yards operating in Bangladesh have claimed three more lives. The latest tragedy occurred on 20 October at the Chittagong yard of SR Corporation, one of the main shipbreaking companies in Bangladesh.
IndustriALL news release. The Hong Kong Convention. Risks 726. 31 October 2015.
Europe: Move to ban some chemical use in clothes
The European Commission is considering far more stringent controls on the use of substances in consumer goods that are carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic to reproduction (CMRs). The Commission, which on 22 October launched a consultation on the proposals, will look into a possible ban on 291 hazardous substances – including certain phthalates, flame retardants and pigments.
ENDS news report. ChemSec news report. The European Commission public consultation. UPI news report. Risks 726. 31 October 2015.
USA: Chemical industry ‘blowing smoke’ on self-regulation
Chemical industry claims that its ‘Responsible Care’ self-regulation programme is protecting the public are untrue, new research has indicated. ‘Blowing Smoke’, a report and interactive map released by the Center for Effective Government (CEG), warns that a “significant number of chemical manufacturing facilities are endangering workers and the environment, despite what the chemical industry tells policymakers, regulators, and the American public.”
Center for Effective Government news release and full report, Blowing Smoke: Chemical companies say “Trust us,” but environmental and workplace safety violations belie their rhetoric. Risks 726. 31 October 2015.
Hazards news, 24 October 2015
Britain: A worker is made ill by work stress every two minutes
Every two minutes, a worker somewhere in the UK is made ill through stress at work, the TUC has revealed. New TUC advice on managing stress at work highlights three key points: Stress is not a weakness or your fault; Don’t suffer in silence, but instead talk to someone like your union rep, a friend, your GP or a support service; and stress-related illnesses caused by work are preventable.
TUC news release and guide to coping with workplace stress. HSE stress statistics. ETUC news release. EU-OSHA healthy work/stress webpages. Risks 725. 24 October 2015.
Britain: Management ignored hospital asbestos for years
Unite is calling for answers and action after it was revealed more than 20 workers have been exposed to asbestos for years in a Manchester hospital. The union says the exposures came after Christie Hospital NHS Foundation Trust failed to deal with the cancer causing substance, putting staff, patients and visitors at risk.
Unite news release. BBC News Online. Morning Star. Risks 725. 24 October 2015.
Britain: Sorry Carillion slammed for blacklisting hypocrisy
Construction giant Carillion has been branded a hypocrite after demanding thousands of pounds in legal costs from a blacklisted worker only days after issuing an unreserved apology for blacklisting in the High Court. Blacklisted former UCATT safety rep Dave Smith commented: “Over the years, these people have sacked me, blacklisted me, fought me in the courts and bad mouthed me on their corporate website all because I tried to improve safety for my fellow workers,” adding: “I have no intention of paying a penny towards the legal costs of these money grabbing hypocrites.”
Blacklist blog. Carillion statement. Risks 725. 24 October 2015.
Britain: Pilots want clear no fly zones over conflicts
Pilots are calling for accurate information about where it is safe to fly to be shared by nation states and operators worldwide. The demand from the UK pilots’ union BALPA is in response to the full report into the shooting down of the passenger jet Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine in July 2014.
BALPA news release. BBC backgrounder. Risks 725. 24 October 2015.
Britain: Lab staff walk out over work pressures
Laboratory assistants at a Yorkshire hospital took strike action last week over “enormous” work pressures and rotas that are causing sickness rates to skyrocket. The action involved 18 members of the public service union UNISON who work at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield, which is run by Mid-Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust. UNISON Yorkshire and Humberside. Morning Star. Risks 725. 24 October 2015.
Britain: Unions voice concerns 15 years after Hatfield tragedy
Fifteen years on from the Hatfield disaster, rail unions have raised serious concerns about safety on the network. Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF, the train drivers’ union, said: “In a safety critical industry there is no room for a company, or chief executive, who wants his managers to take short cuts at the expense of fare-paying passengers, and those of us who work in the industry, and put safety, delivery, and public service first.”
ASLEF news release. RMT news release. TSSA news release. Union Solidarity International. Risks 725. 24 October 2015.
Britain: TUC backs MPs’ call for asbestos removal
The TUC is demanding immediate action after MPs accused the government of complacency on the risks of asbestos in buildings and called for an asbestos eradication law. ‘The asbestos crisis: why Britain needs a new law’ was published last week by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Occupational Safety and Health.
TUC Stronger Unions blog. The Mirror. Morning Star.
The asbestos crisis: why Britain needs a new law, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Occupational Safety and Health, October 2015. Risks 725. 24 October 2015.
Britain: Unions say end the deadly asbestos gamble
Unions have given their strong support to a report from MPs calling for the urgent removal of asbestos from Britain’s buildings. The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Occupational Safety and Health warned that at least 5,000 people die annually as a result of exposure to asbestos.
Unite news release. GMB news release. UCATT news release. NUT/JUAC news release. Risks 725. 24 October 2015.
Britain: European regulation really is good for you
The June 2015 report of an evaluation of Europe’s workplace safety directives which the European Commission had hoped to keep under wraps until at least next year has been published online, seemingly by mistake. TUC head of safety Hugh Robertson said the full report only became available for public scrutiny after the Irish employers’ organisation IBEC put the document on its website in what the TUC has called “an apparent mistake”.
TUC Stronger Unions blog and health and safety manifesto. IBEC posting of the EU review document. Risks 725. 24 October 2015.
Britain: IoD urged to sack its chair for fatal mine blast role
The UK Institute of Directors (IoD) is being urged to dismiss its high profile chair because of her “indefensible” role at the company responsible for America’s worst coalmine disaster in 40 years. The CtW Investment Group, a pension fund formed by unions affiliated to the US Change to Win union federation, wants Lady Barbara Judge to go because of her role at Massey Energy where she sat on committees overseeing safety and corporate governance.
CtW Investment Group letter to IoD. The Guardian. The Pump Handle blog. West Virginia Gazette and Blankenship trial webpages. Risks 725. 24 October 2015.
Britain: Two jailed after farm ladder electrocution
Two men have been sentenced to four years in prison following the death of Jason Morgan who was electrocuted when his ladder touched an overhead power cable. After the tragedy at Great Brynn Barton Farm in 2011, Roger Matthews, Norman Treseder, Philip Tucker and Matthews Plant Hire Ltd went on trial at Truro Crown Court.
Devon and Cornwall Police news release. Construction Enquirer. North Devon Journal. Risks 725. 24 October 2015.
Britain: Firm fined £200,000 after death in an industrial blender
A pellet manufacturing company has been fined after an employee was killed when he was pulled into an industrial blender. Father-of-one George Major, 51, was clearing material from the blender at Rettenmaier UK Manufacturing Limited, a pellet manufacturer based in Mansfield, when it unexpectedly started up.
HSE news release. Nottingham Post. Risks 725. 24 October 2015.
Britain: Recycling giant Sita fined £200,000 for criminal breach
A national recycling firm has been fined after an employee was struck and seriously injured by a 7.5 tonne telehandler. Preston Crown Court heard Sita UK Limited failed to provide adequate segregation between pedestrians and moving vehicles at a waste transfer station in Darwen, Lancashire.
HSE news release. Risks 725. 24 October 2015.
Global: ILO green light for road transport action plan
A key meeting of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has agreed a far-reaching resolution intended to tackle the low pay rates in road transport that can lead to dangerous driving. The resolution of a tripartite transport health and safety meeting at ILO calls on the ILO, a UN agency, to research good practice in the area and makes explicit mention of the highly successful union ‘safe rates’ campaign in Australia.
ITF news release. TWU news release and Safe Rates campaign.
ILO Resolution Concerning Best Practices in Road Transport Safety. Risks 725. 24 October 2015.
Global: G7 presses ahead with new ‘vision zero’ fund
The world’s major industrialised nations are pressing ahead with plans for a new fund to improve workplace safety. In June 2015, the G7 group of nations, which includes the UK, formulated a plan for the ‘Vision Zero Fund’ in cooperation with the International Labour Organisation (ILO), spurred by the Rana Plaza garment factory collapse in 2013 in which more than 1,200 workers died.
G7 news release. TUC Stronger Unions blog. ITUC news release. ILO news release. EC news release. Risks 725. 24 October 2015.
Global: H&M ‘spinning the facts’ on garment worker safety
H&M has been accused of ‘spinning the facts’ in its response to a report critical of its approach to safety at its supplier factories in Bangladesh. The Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) said the retail giant’s comments on its report, 'Evaluation of H&M Compliance with Safety Action Plans for Strategic Suppliers in Bangladesh 2015', are “replete with false and misleading statements, demonstrating that the company remains unwilling to address the issue in a serious and forthright manner.”
CCC news release and report, Evaluation of H&M Compliance with Safety Action Plans for Strategic Suppliers in Bangladesh 2015. Risks 725. 24 October 2015.
Japan: Fukushima worker to get radiation cancer payout
The authorities in Japan have acknowledged that a worker involved in clean-up work at the Fukushima nuclear plant may have developed cancer as a result. Officials say the man will be entitled to compensation for work-related leukaemia, in the first cancer case linked to the Fukushima plant meltdown.
ABC News. CNN News. BBC News Online. The Guardian. Risks 725. 24 October 2015.
Hazards news, 17 October 2015
Britain: Real resources are needed to tackle labour abuses
A proposed new labour standards tsar must be given the resources to effectively coordinate regulators and combat exploitative employers, the TUC has said. The union body was speaking out after the government opened a consultation on proposals to tackle the exploitation of workers, including a new position of Director of Labour Market Enforcement.
TUC news release. Labour market exploitation: improving enforcement, government consultation, ends 9 November 2015. Financial Times. Risks 724. 17 October 2015
Britain: Under wraps official report says EU laws are working
The Conservative government’s repeat refrain that European health and safety laws are a costly burden has been comprehensively discredited. But TUC head of safety Hugh Robertson said the final report, running to over 400 pages plus some lengthy appendices, is being “kept under wraps”, with the EC having no intention of publishing until at least next year.
TUC Stronger Unions blog. EC ACSH opinion, September 2015 and opinions webpage. Risks 724. 17 October 2015.
Britain: Blacklist campaigners hail major court breakthrough
Trade unions have welcomed a ‘massive breakthrough’ in the long-running legal case over blacklisting of safety and trade union activists in the construction industry. It follows an admission by some of Britain's biggest construction firms that they defamed workers and infringed their rights and an accompanying apology. UCATT news release. GMB news release. Unite news release. BBC News Online. The Guardian. Construction Enquirer. Morning Star. Risks 724. 17 October 2015.
Britain: Sellafield victory in safety dispute
Construction workers involved in the nuclear decommissioning and renewal project at Sellafield have hailed a ‘groundbreaking’ victory at the end of a major dispute over health and safety and productivity. The deal secured by their union, Unite, sees Sellafield Ltd and the 14-strong group of on-site sub-contractor companies drop their refusal to a union demand for a senior shop steward to deal with health and safety, workplace welfare and training issues and also sees the formation of a health and safety committee spanning all contractors on the site.
Unite news release. Risks 724. 17 October 2015.
Britain: Mental health problems widespread in shopworkers
Nearly one in four shopworkers has taken time off work because of worry, anxiety or depression, a survey by Usdaw has found. The retail union also discovered over half of those affected said that they didn’t feel able to be honest about the reason for their absence.
Usdaw news release. Risks 724. 17 October 2015.
Britain: Sports Direct in the dock over treatment of workers
Sports Direct’s treatment of workers and poor corporate governance have been exposed this week at the start of criminal proceedings against the company’s chief executive, David Forsey. A protest was organised by the union Unite outside Chesterfield magistrates’ court to mark the start of proceedings.
Unite news release. Sign up to the online petition to Sports Direct chief executive David Forsey: Sports Direct: Stop your shameful work practices. Unite Sports Direct campaign. Risks 724. 17 October 2015.
Britain: Hackney traffic wardens strike for sick pay
Traffic wardens in Hackney, east London, have been driven to industrial action in a bid to get a fairer sick pay policy. The five day walk out was by 30 employees of APCOA Parking, the private firm that has the contract from Hackney council to run the service.
Unite news release. Risks 724. 17 October 2015.
Britain: PCS calls on ministers to tackle civil service bullying
PCS has called on ministers to tackle bullying in the civil service. The union was speaking out after the Independent revealed the Baxendale review commissioned by the government and “slipped out on the Cabinet Office website in the run-up to the election” had warned that the senior civil service is like a 'snake pit' with a 'macho culture'.
PCS news release. The Independent. Baxendale report. Risks 724. 17 October 2015.
Britain: Faulty machine caused permanent nerve damage
A Unite member is to receive £5,750 in compensation after his hand was damaged in a faulty machine. The production operative, whose name has not been released, was employed by Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council in south Wales making double glazed windows and doors.
Thompsons Solicitors news release. Risks 724. 17 October 2015.
Britain: Road crash cost worker his job
A production fitter who was forced to retire after being injured in a road traffic accident has received an undisclosed payout in a union-backed claim. Kenneth Welham, 67, suffered serious fractures to his lower right leg when he was hit by a motorcycle as he stood on a central reservation.
Thompsons Solicitors news release. Risks 724. 17 October 2015.
Britain: Scaffolding firm guilty of corporate manslaughter
A Merseyside scaffolding firm that admitted a charge of corporate manslaughter has been fined £300,000. Adrian Smith, 44, had returned to work at Kings Scaffolding in Netherley on light duties after having had a heart attack just two days before he died on a cut-price roofing job in September 2012.
Merseyside Police news release. Liverpool Echo. BBC News Online. Risks 724. 17 October 2015.
Britain: Working while sick is on the increase
New research has found long hours and a focus on operational demands over employee wellbeing is fuelling an increase in in the numbers working while sick. Nearly a third of employers reported an increase in people coming to work while they are ill, according to the annual CIPD/Simplyhealth Absence Management Survey.
CIPD news release. Morning Star. Risks 724. 17 October 2015.
Britain: Most Sheffield schools contain asbestos
Campaigners and politicians have called for drastic action amid revelations eight out of ten schools in Sheffield contain asbestos. Figures obtained by the local newspaper, the Star, revealed 86 per cent of primaries and 35 per cent of the city’s secondary schools contain the potentially deadly dust.
Sheffield Star. Risks 724. 17 October 2015.
Britain: ‘No excuse’ for unguarded piling machine
A specialist piling contractor has been fined after it was found to be operating a powerful rig without a safety guard around the rotating auger. Sevenoaks Magistrates’ Court heard how Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspector Melvyn Stancliffe visited the site in Maidstone, Kent, in December 2014 and witnessed the piling rig in operation without a safety guard.
HSE news release and machinery safety webpages. Construction Enquirer. Risks 724. 17 October 2015.
Britain: Steel frame company fined for safety crime
A company that erects steel frames has been fined for its criminal safety failings while cladding a steel framed building. Swindon Magistrates’ Court heard how a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) site inspection on 15 May 2015 found that Industrial Steel Frames Limited was not taking suitable measures to prevent falls from height, putting its workers at risk of serious injury.
HSE news release and working at height webpages. Construction Enquirer. Risks 724. 17 October 2015.
Australia: Three workers killed every week this year
Latest official figures show there have been 126 workplace fatalities in Australia already this year. Michael Borowick, national secretary of the union federation ACTU, said: “Worker safety is just another in a string of issues where the government is prioritising its big business backers, rather that supporting the rights of everyday Australians.”
ACTU news release. Risks 724. 17 October 2015.
USA: Cargo ship goes down with 33 crew
Search and rescue teams officially gave up hope on 7 October, after a failed five-day effort to locate 33 cargo ship workers lost at sea in the waters near the Bahamas. The sailors and other shipboard workers are presumed dead in the wreck of the US-flagged commercial vessel El Faro, which disappeared on 1 October in the high winds and heavy seas of Hurricane Joaquin.
AFL-CIO statement. SIU news release. In These Times. Risks 724. 17 October 2015.
USA: Bad jobs cut your life short
New research from the US is indicating your life expectancy is closely linked to the job you do. Research published in the journal Health Affairs examined the effect of workplace exposures on racial and educational disparities in life expectancy and found that between 10 and 38 per cent of the difference in life expectancy across demographic groups could be explained by different job conditions.
Joel Goh, Jeffrey Pfeffer and Stefanos Zenios. Exposure to harmful workplace practices could account for inequality in life spans across different demographic groups, Health Affairs, volume 34, number 10, pages 1761-1768, October 2015. Pump Handle blog. Risks 724. 17 October 2015.
Hazards news, 10 October 2015
Britain: Ambulance count exposes Sports Direct work practices
Ambulances were called out to the warehouse headquarters of one of Europe's largest sports retailers 80 times in two years, an investigation found. Unite, which has launched a campaign for decent work at Sports Direct, says poor conditions are not limited to the company’s warehouses.
Sign up to the online petition to Sports Direct chief executive David Forsey: Sports Direct: Stop your shameful work practices. Unite Sports Direct campaign.
Investigating Sports Direct, BBC Inside Out, 5 October 2015. BBC News Online. Risks 723. 10 October 2015
Britain: Maintenance and inspections cuts hurt rail travel
Rail union RMT has said speed restrictions placed on some train services have exposed the impact of cuts to maintenance and inspections on the railways and the dangers of running services on untested tracks. The union was speaking out after Arriva Trains Wales was forced to impose blanket speed restrictions on sections of the network that had not been tested within agreed safety schedules
RMT news release. Risks 723. 10 October 2015
Britain: Over half of teachers could quit within two years
More than half of teachers are considering leaving the profession in the next two years, a union poll has revealed. The joint NUT and YouGov survey found 53 per cent of teachers are looking to quit, mainly due to low morale and high workloads made worse by cuts in pay and the number of teachers and support staff.
NUT news release. DfE news release. Morning Star. Risks 723. 10 October 2015
Britain: Usdaw concern over carrier bag charge ‘flashpoint’
The introduction of a 5p carrier bag charge in England must not lead to customer frustration once again being directed at shopworkers, their union has said. Usdaw general secretary John Hannett said “a new law, like carrier bag charging, can be a flashpoint for verbal abuse, threats or even violence.
Usdaw news release. Defra news release. Morning Star. Risks 723. 10 October 2015
Britain: Hospital work left engineer under the doc
A Unite member from Bradford who suffered an acute back injury at work has secured more than £6,000 in compensation. The maintenance engineer at Bradford Royal Infirmary, whose name has not been released, worked from a plant room, which he could only access by climbing a set of ladders and entering through a small hatch.
Thompsons Solicitors news release. Risks 723. 10 October 2015
Britain: Blacklisted to be heard at undercover cops inquiry
Blacklisted workers have been granted ‘core participant’ status in the government-ordered Pitchford public inquiry into undercover policing. The confirmation came in a letter to Imran Khan & Partners solicitors, who had applied to the Pitchford inquiry on behalf of the Blacklist Support Group.
Pitchford Inquiry webpage. Union Solidarity International. Morning Star. Risks 723. 10 October 2015
Britain: Better to act together than be resilient alone
‘Workplace resilience’, an increasingly popular intervention in workplaces intended to help us withstand the pressures of work, was criticised two years ago by the TUC for treating the distressed worker and not the dysfunctional workplace as the problem. Now the approach is coming in for flak in Australia, with Andrew Thackrah and Susie Byers, nothing “individually-focused programmes can't overcome the structural realties and power imbalances that characterise the employment relationship.”
The Age. SafetyAtWork blog.
Hugh Robertson, TUC: Tough luck, Hazards, number 123, July-September 2013. Risks 723. 10 October 2015
Britain: Long hours and repetitive work led to constant pain
A factory worker suffering with chronic back pain as a result of repetitive work over long shifts has called for employers to improve their assessments and safety measures. Anthony McCarthy, 26, who has received an out-of-court payout, first began to suffer with muscle pain in his mid- to lower- back in early 2012, with the intensity and severity of the pain increasing throughout his 11-hour shifts at HVR International Limited.
Irwin Mitchell news release. Shields Gazette. Risks 723. 10 October 2015
Britain: Man arrested after latest deadly workplace blast
A man has been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter after a deadly workplace blast. The blast on the afternoon of Saturday 3 October at an industrial site in Hoddeston, Hertfordshire, left two workers dead and another injured, and was the third workplace explosion in less than three months to lead to multiple deaths.
The Mirror. Hertfordshire Mercury. Daily Mail. The Guardian. ITV News. Risks 723. 10 October 2015
Britain: Soup giant done again for maiming a worker
Baxters Food Group Limited, one of the UK’s most well-known food manufacturers, has appeared before Elgin Sheriff Court for the second time in five months after another worker was injured while working at its Fochabers plant. The court heard that on 30 January 2014, short term contract worker Jodie Cormack climbed onto the conveyor belt to clear potatoes into the auger in-feed, but slipped from the belt into the collecting hopper.
HSE news release. Risks 723. 10 October 2015
Britain: Global firms sentenced after worker killed
Two global companies have received six figure fines after a worker was killed and another seriously injured during construction of an offshore wind farm. During the loading of wind turbine components at Pakeston Quay, Harwich, a part of the blade transport arrangement weighing over 2 tonnes fell off, crushing and fatally injuring one worker and seriously injuring another; both workers were employed by Siemens Windpower A/S (SWP) but were working for Fluor Ltd, the principal contractor.
HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 723. 10 October 2015
Britain: Restaurant owner had no employer liability insurance
A restaurant owner has been fined for failing to provide Employers’ Liability Compulsory Insurance (ELCI). Hasret Sasmaz, trading as Starburger, was fined £1,500 and ordered to pay full costs of £1,779 at Maidstone Magistrates’ Court after pleading guilty to three offences under the Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969.
HSE news release and Employers’ liability insurance webpages. Risks 723. 10 October 2015
Global: Eliminating occupational cancer in Europe and globally
A new working paper from the European trade union research body ETUI presents arguments for a stronger policy to eradicate occupational cancer in Europe and globally. The working paper present a new estimation the burden of occupational cancer, noting the condition is responsible for 666,000 deaths worldwide, 102,500 of these in the EU alone and with the UK figure is put at 13,330 occupational cancer deaths a year, over 66 per cent higher than the Health and Safety Executive’s estimate.
ETUI publication alert. Jukka Takala, Eliminating occupational cancer in Europe and globally, ETUI, 2015. OSHwiki. Risks 723. 10 October 2015
Global: HP and Dell suspend use of interns in China factories
An investigation by Danish human rights group Danwatch has found that thousands of Chinese students are being compelled by their schools to work on the assembly lines of some of the world’s biggest electronics manufacturers, making servers destined for European universities. The Danwatch probe into conditions on the assembly lines of Wistron Corporation in Zhongshan, China, which manufactures servers for HP, Dell and Lenovo, found students working against their will for often between 10 to 12 hours a day for up to five months.
Good Electronics news release. Servants of Servers, Danwatch/Good Electronics, 2015. Responses from electronics companies. The Guardian. Risks 723. 10 October 2015
Global: UN network backs chemical risk reduction
A United Nations (UN) convened network has agreed on a plan that could prevent the annual deaths of more than one million people exposed to toxic chemicals. More than 800 participants, including government ministers, industry, union and civil society leaders, hammered out a strategy to reduce risks from chemicals at the International Conference on Chemicals Management, a weeklong UN Environment Programme event that ended on 2 October.
IPEN news release and video, The true costs of the chemical industry's products. PAN news release. VOA News. Fourth Session of the International Conference on Chemicals Management: Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) report.
Supporting SAICM implementation through fighting toxic work: Unions for a sustainable management of chemicals, Sustainlabour/ITUC, September 2015. Related video. ICCM4. Risks 723. 10 October 2015
New Zealand: Union holds firm to account for work death
A New Zealand logging company is facing a hefty legal bill after a union body took a private prosecution when enforcement agencies refused to bring charges after a workplace death. M and A Cross Limited was fined NZ$25,000 (£12,000) at Rotorua District Court and ordered to pay reparation of NZ$105,000 (£45,000) to the family of 45-year-old forestry worker Charles Finlay.
Radio NZ. New Zealand Herald. Risks 723. 10 October 2015
Hazards news, 3 October 2015
Britain: TUC provides graphic proof of the safety rep effect
A defence of the life-saving role of safety reps is an increasingly visible theme in the TUC’s campaign against the government’s rights-robbing Trade Union Bill. Announcing new infographics spelling out why the government should be addressing the damage to health caused by a neglect of safety rather than attacking employment and trade union rights, TUC head of safety Hugh Robertson notes: “One of the things that completely shows how the Bill is based on ideology rather than any desire to change things for the better is the focus the government is putting on the number of strikes we have.”
TUC safety poster to print off and use and related Twitter and Facebook versions for use online.
TUC Stronger Unions blog, The Union Effect report and Trade Union Bill briefing.
We’re here to stay! Unions challenge wrong-headed government attack that could cost lives, Frances O’Grady, Hazards online report, September 2015.
National rally and march on the Conservative conference, 4 October 2015. Risks 722. 3 October 2015
Britain: Aviation regulator falls down on safety
The UK’s aviation regulator no longer has safety as its paramount concern and should be split up, the union Prospect has said. In a letter to transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin the union, which represents more than 5,000 aviation specialists, calls for the Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) regulatory functions to be hived off to a separate regulator after the union’s ‘extensive’ research raised serious problems caused by its dual role monitoring the economic and safety performance of the industry.
Prospect news release and report, Towards a sustainable aviation industry for the UK. Morning Star. Risks 722. 3 October 2015
Britain: Smoke-free prisons a union victory
A government announcement that smoking will be banned in all prisons in Wales and four in south-west England from next year has been hailed as a ‘victory for health and safety’ by the prison officers’ union POA. The phased roll-out, which will eventually see all jails in England and Wales go smoke-free, will from next month see smoking barred inside buildings at all open prisons in England and Wales.
POA news release. MoJ news release. BBC News Online. Risks 722. 3 October 2015
Britain: Diesel fumes are putting workers at risk
Diesel exhaust fumes on Britain’s streets are putting workers at risk of serious and potentially deadly health conditions, the union GMB has warned. The union says excessive levels present a health risk to members working on the roadside, noting “street cleaners, refuse workers, parking enforcement staff, utility workers, police community support workers and others are particularly exposed to such pollutants.”
GMB news release. Risks 722. 3 October 2015
Europe: Shocking new estimate of the asbestos death toll
Over 47,000 people in the European Union are dying of asbestos related conditions each year with the UK topping the fatalities list, a new report has concluded. ‘Eliminating occupational cancer in Europe’, published by the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI), puts deaths caused by exposure to asbestos at three times previous estimates.
IBAS news release. Eliminating occupational cancer in Europe, ETUI, 29 September 2015. ETUI asbestos webpages. Risks 722. 3 October 2015
Global: Metalworking fluids linked to irreversible lung disease
Occupational exposure to a fluid commonly used in metal machining operations may be related to a rare, irreversible and disabling lung disease, according to research presented this week at the European Respiratory Society’s (ERS) international congress in Amsterdam. Although metalworking fluid is known to be associated with the lung diseases asthma and hypersensitivity pneumonitis -an allergic type of pneumonia – the study authors say their research appears to be the first to establish that exposure to metalworking fluid is associated with lymphocytic bronchiolitis.
ELF news release. Risks 722. 3 October 2015
Britain: Lorry driver got farmers’ lung
A former HGV driver who developed the occupational disease ‘farmers’ lung’ hopes his case will lead to better protection for other workers. Ian Gear, a 53-year-old from Stafford, was diagnosed with the condition, also known as extrinsic allergic alveolitis, in September 2012 after working as an animal feed delivery driver for Ed Weetman Limited.
Irwin Mitchell news release. Risks 722. 3 October 2015
Britain: Zoo director in court after tiger kills keeper
A zoo director has been bailed after a court hearing related to the death of a keeper fatally mauled by a Sumatran tiger. Sarah McClay, 24, was pounced on in the keeper's corridor of the tiger house at South Lakes Wild Animal Park in Dalton-in-Furness, Cumbria, on 24 May 2013.
The Herald. Risks 722. 3 October 2015
Britain: Company execs escape jail after site death
Two company executives have received suspended jail sentences after a bricklayer was crushed to death under a falling wall. Trevor Hyatt, 50, and project manager Alfred Barker, 59, both received six month prison sentences suspended for two years following the death of Gareth Jones, 28, who died in St Albans while working for Linley Developments.
Herts Constabulary news release. Welwyn Hatfield Times. BBC News Online. Risks 722. 3 October 2015
Britain: Steel firm fined following worker’s death
Steel supply company CMC UK Ltd has been fined following the death of an employee who was crushed by a two tonne steel beam at a warehouse in Cardiff. Mark Walker, a 37-year-old father of one from Newport, suffered fatal injuries as he was trying to move a steel beam onto a conveyor on 24 June 2012.
HSE news release. Risks 722. 3 October 2015
Britain: Hydrogen blast blew a hole in factory roof
A chemical firm has been fined after a hydrogen explosion blew a vessel lid through a factory roof, injuring a worker. Catalloy Ltd was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following the incident at its plant in Widnes on 25 November 2011.
HSE news release and hazardous installations webpages. Risks 722. 3 October 2015
Britain: Four figure fines after devastating fall injuries
Roofing firm Practical Cladding Solutions Limited and senior manager Anthony Hibbard have been fined for criminal safety failings after an employee suffered life changing injuries when he fell through a fragile roof. The firm was fined £9,000, after pleading guilty to three criminal breaches of the Work at Height Regulations and Hibbard fined £3,000, after pleading guilty to the same criminal offences.
HSE news release. Risks 722. 3 October 2015
Britain: Teen agency worker lost a finger in machine
A Hampshire metal manufacturing company has been fined for criminal safety offences after a teenage agency worker suffered an injury to his hand which led to the amputation of a finger. Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court heard how on 6 October 2014, an 18-year-old agency worker at Independent Ductwork Limited of Basingstoke was operating a three-roll machine when his gloved fingers were drawn into the rollers.
HSE news release and machinery safety webpages. Risks 722. 3 October 2015
Global: Consolidated list of banned pesticidesPesticide Action Network (PAN), comprising over 600 non-governmental organisations, institutions and individuals in over 90 countries, has released ‘The Consolidated List of Banned Pesticides’. The newly compiled list shows whether these pesticides are regarded as highly hazardous pesticides (HHPs) by the Food and Agriculture Organisation and the World Health Organisation, with the ban list including 316 pesticide active ingredients.
The Consolidated List of Banned Pesticides, PAN, 2015. Risks 722. 3 October 2015
Britain: TUC guidance for supporting staff with cancer
To coincide with Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which runs through October, the TUC has issued a second edition of its guidance for union representatives, employees, line managers and employers for how best to support colleagues with cancer at work. TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “There is enormous scope for union reps to ensure employers support their staff effectively, and everyone should be in a trade union to get their voice heard and their interests represented at work.”
Publication alert and full report: Cancer in the workplace: A workbook for union representatives. TUC guidance on occupational cancer prevention: Occupational Cancer - A Workplace Guide. Risks 722. 3 October 2015
Global: New union tools to fight toxic work
Occupational exposures to chemical hazards – and how to identify them and avoid them – is the topic of new resources launched this week at a major international conference. The fourth session of the International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM4), which started in Geneva on 28 September, considered next steps towards a previously agreed 2020 goal of ensuring all chemicals are produced and used in ways that minimise significant adverse impacts on human health and the environment.
Supporting SAICM implementation through fighting toxic work: Unions for a sustainable management of chemicals, Sustainlabour/ITUC, September 2015. Related video. ICCM4.
Related video resource: The true costs of the chemical industry's products, IPEN, September 2015. Risks 722. 3 October 2015
Malaysia: Union calls for leave for haze affected workers
Employers in Malaysia should allow smog-affected workers to stay away from work until air quality in the country improves, the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) has said. The union call came after acrid smoke billowing from agricultural fires in Indonesia caused a spike in air pollution in Malaysia's capital Kuala Lumpur.
MTUC news report. Borneo Post. ABC News. Risks 722. 3 October 2015
USA: New pesticides rules to protect farmworkers
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released updated rules intended to keep farmworkers from being poisoned by pesticides. Under the changes, employers will now have to train workers on the risks of pesticides every year, rather than every five years, workers have to stay farther away from contaminated fields, farmers will have to keep more records on exactly when and where they use specific pesticides, and no children under the age of 18 will be allowed to handle the chemicals.
EPA news release and related radio broadcast. NPR report. Farmworker Justice news release. Risks 722. 3 October 2015
Hazards news, 26 September 2015
Britain: Your best defence at work is to be organised
With the government intent on introducing more anti-trade union laws and continuing its attack on workers’ rights and essential safety protections, your best defence at work is to be organised and active, according to Mick Holder of the train drivers’ union ASLEF. In a pep talk for safety reps in the new issue of Hazards magazine, he spells out how union health and safety reps can ‘turn it on’, using their rights and organising power to protect and improve workplace health and safety.
Turn it on!, Hazards magazine, number 131, 2015. TUC health and safety organisation webpages. Risks 721. 26 September 2015
Britain: A creative guide to organising for safety
Dave Smith’s long history as a workplace safety activist, union safety rep and trade union health and safety tutor has meant he’s heard many union reps relate inspiring examples of the most creative ways to get a workplace safety message across. And now he’s writing them down, in a regular ‘Organising 101’ column in Hazards magazine. Organising 101: Dave Smith's guide to organising. Risks 721. 26 September 2015
Britain: Unite warns that ‘welding fumes can kill’
New guidance from Unite is warning that ‘welding fumes can kill’. The union says it is concerned about the long term health risks of being exposed to the fumes generated during welding operations.
Unite welding leaflet and posters. Risks 721. 26 September 2015
Britain: Fit for work could mean bullied back to work
UNISON has warned that government changes to the role of the fit for work service could increase bullying of sick staff. The public service union says prior to the change only GPs could refer to the Fit for Work Service, but now employers can refer employees “who have been off sick from work, or are likely to be off sick from work, for 4 weeks or more”.
UNISON news report. Fit for Work guidance for employees, DWP, updated 8 September 2015. Risks 721. 26 September 2015
Britain: We are teachers, not boxers
Teaching union NASUWT has expressed concern about the increase in violence towards teachers. NASUWT president Graham Dawson said: “The only people who go to work expecting to be hit are professional boxers.”
NASUWT news release. Risks 721. 26 September 2015
Britain: Shopworkers get recognised at TUC awards
Usdaw reps Brenda Shaw and Janise Corfield have been honoured at the national TUC awards. Janise Corfield received the 2015 TUC health and safety rep award for her extensive campaigning to improve safety for staff in her workplace, an out-of-town large supermarket
Usdaw news release. TUC news release. Risks 721. 26 September 2015
Britain: Nearly half of teachers in Wales ‘think of quitting’
Nearly half of teachers surveyed in Wales said they are thinking of leaving the job in the next two years. The union NUT Cymru asked 450 teachers about their intentions for the future.
BBC News Online. Risks 721. 26 September 2015
Britain: Fit for work ruling ‘caused suicide’
A man with severe depression hanged himself as a direct cause of being deemed “fit for work” by a medically unqualified government assessor, a coroner has ruled. The Disability News Service (DNS) unearthed the coroner’s report on the suicide of Michael O’Sullivan, 60, saying that it appeared to be the first case in which a coroner explicitly linked Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) sanctions to a death.
Disability News Service report. The Independent. Morning Star. Risks 721. 26 September 2015
Britain: Scaffold horrors captured by passer-by
A scaffolder has been given a suspended jail sentence after repeatedly ignoring official warnings about seriously unsafe work above a busy London street. Greg Pearson, trading as ‘Pearsons Scaffolding’, was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after a member of the public raised concerns about scaffolding work being carried out on Tavistock Street in central London.
HSE news release, work at heights webpages and Safer Sites facebook page. Construction Enquirer. Risks 721. 26 September 2015
Britain: Abattoir worker’s hand maimed by pig saw
An abattoir worker suffered severe hand injuries in an incident with an industrial saw that led to a major Scottish food processing firm being prosecuted. Recent recruit Steven Murray was working at the AP Jess plant on the outskirts of Brechin when his left hand came into contact with an unprotected band saw on the production line used for killing all of the Tulip bacon company’s Scottish pigs.
HSE news release and machinery safety webpages. The Courier. Risks 721. 26 September 2015
Britain: Maintenance firm firmed after joiner’s electric shock
Berneslai Homes Ltd has been fined following an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into safety standards on a council maintenance contract. Barnsley Magistrates Court heard that HSE was following up an incident involving a Berneslai Homes Ltd joiner who received an electric shock while replacing a wooden garden fence around a domestic property in Barnsley on 26 November 2013.
HSE news release. Risks 721. 26 September 2015
Britain: Tackling HIV discrimination at work
There are more than 100,000 people living with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) in the UK, mostly of working age, of whom a quarter are unaware of their status. Most of those who live with HIV in the UK have normal life expectancy and lead fulfilling working lives. ‘Tackling HIV discrimination at work’, a new TUC guide, provides basic facts to help trade unionists deal with issues that might arise.
TUC publication alert and guide, Tackling HIV discrimination at work. Risks 721. 26 September 2015
Bangladesh: Shipbreaking deaths lead to action call
The deaths of four workers in a single incident in a Bangladesh shipbreaking yard underline the importance of the global campaign for ratification of the Hong Kong Convention, aimed at making perilous shipbreaking jobs safer, the global union IndustriALL has said. The union body was speaking out in the wake of the 5 September fatalities in the Shital yard in Chittagong.
IndustriALL news release. The Hong Kong Convention. Risks 721. 26 September 2015
Global: Unions dismiss KiK’s comments on fire payouts
Global unions and labour rights campaigners have criticised German retail multinational KiK for stalling on a commitment to properly compensate victims of a deadly garment factory fire in Pakistan. Global unions IndustriALL and UNI and the Clean Clothes Campaign have expressed dismay at the company’s “attempts to obfuscate issues related to compensation for the victims of the Ali Enterprises factory fire in Pakistan.”
Joint statement from IndustriALL, UNI and the Clean Clothes Campaign and earlier IndustriALL news release. Risks 721. 26 September 2015
USA: Common solvent is killing people
Methylene chloride, a powerful solvent whose use is heavily restricted in Europe, remains widely used and poorly regulated in the US – and is continuing to kill as a result. “People have died, it poses this cancer threat… and everybody knows it’s a bad chemical, and yet nobody does anything,” said Katy Wolf, who recommends safer alternatives to toxic chemicals as director of the non-profit Institute for Research and Technical Assistance (IRTA) in California.
CPI feature. IRTA reports on solvent alternatives. Risks 721. 26 September 2015
USA: Chemicals killed him; but they only tested for drugs
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspector who investigated the suspected chemical asphyxiation death of truck driver David Simpson at an XTO Energy Inc. site deemed the safety practices at the facility ‘UNACCEPTABLE’ in his report. But OSHA dropped the case after the Oklahoma medical examiner listed Simpson's cause of death as “unknown,” with Byron Curtis, toxicologist with the medical examiner's office, admitting: “We just did what we usually do for on-the-job, which is an alcohol and drugs of abuse screen.”
E&E News. Risks 721. 26 September 2015
Hazards news, 19 September 2015
Britain: How to stop the job safely
One very important right is missing from the health and safety law poster required in every workplace in the country. TUC’s Hugh Robertson says that crucial right is “the right to stop work.”
TUC Strong er Unions blog and Trade Union Bill backgrounder. Risks 720. 19 September 2015
Britain: Real threats from the Trade Union Bill
A vicious attack on the rights of workers is set to create “state-sponsored victimisation” of trade unionists, the construction union UCATT has said. And TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady, speaking after the Trade Union Bill was voted through its second reading in the House of Commons this week, said “the campaign against this bill is far from over.”
UCATT news release. TUC news release. Morning Star. BBC News Online.
We’re here to stay! Unions challenge wrong-headed government attack that could cost lives, Frances O’Grady, Hazards online report, 4 September 2015. Risks 720. 19 September 2015
Britain: Stretched ASOS workers forced to pee in water stations
Breakneck work rates required at the Barnsley distribution depot of the online retailer ASOS are so hard to achieve that employees are sometimes forced to urinate in nearby water stations rather than make the trip to the loo, their union has said. GMB said pressure to maintain ‘pick rates’ meant some staff did not have the time to make the 15 minute return walk to the toilets.
GMB news release. Risks 720. 19 September 2015
Britain: Stress could force senior doctors out of the NHS
The NHS is facing an exodus of senior hospital doctors as new figures show that more than 80 per cent may retire early because work-related stress is causing them sleepless nights, marital breakups and illness such as ulcers, anxiety and even strokes. A union survey of NHS consultants has found that huge numbers are becoming burned out and having their lives damaged as a result of the escalating pressures at the service’s frontline, including rising demand, long hours and the need to meet targets.
HCSA news release. The Guardian. Risks 720. 19 September 2015
Britain: Scottish lecturers get new stress busting tool
A Scottish union has launched a new toolkit to help university lecturers combat work-related stress. The University Lecturers’ Association (ULA), part of the union EIS, is distributing the kit to members and university human resources departments.
EIS news release. Risks 720. 19 September 2015
Britain: CWU welcomes prosecution protocol for dog attacks
New arrangements for investigating and prosecuting Dangerous Dogs Act offences have been welcomed by the postal and telecoms union CWU. The new approach, agreed by the union and Royal Mail with police chiefs, follows CWU's high profile ‘Bite-Back’ campaign.
CWU news release and campaign, Dangerous Dogs - Bite Back. Risks 720. 19 September 2015
Britain: Council urged to come clean on schools asbestos
Unions should be told how an east London council is dealing with the asbestos found in half its schools, GMB has said. The union called for “a more proactive approach” from Barking and Dagenham council after a freedom of information request from a local paper discovered 31 of 61 schools in the borough contained asbestos.
GMB news release. Barking and Dagenham Post. Risks 720. 19 September 2015
Britain: Travelling for work 'is work', European court rules
The TUC has welcomed a ruling by the European Court of Justice on working time and a worker’s travel between their home and a client. The ruling affects workers with no ‘fixed or habitual’ place of work, and requires a worker’s travel time between home and their first and last customer appointments in a working day to be considered in relation to the 48 hour maximum working week introduced under the Working Time Directive.
TUC news release. TUC Touchstone blog. UNISON news release. CWU news release. ETUC news release. IoD news release. CBI news release. BCC news release. BBC News Online. Personnel Today. European Court of Justice judgment. Risks 720. 19 September 2015
Britain: Car worker killed, firm fined the price of a car
The family of a man killed while working for Jaguar Land Rover have said the £30,000 fine on the firm is a “disgrace”. Liverpool Crown Court heard Graham Begley, 49, from Halewood, was found trapped between two 24 tonne dies on 26 September 2011 at the firm’s factory in Halewood.
HSE news release. Liverpool Echo. Risks 720. 19 September 2015
Britain: Polythene giant trapped worker in machine
A Widnes polythene manufacturer has been fined for serious criminal safety breaches after a night shift employee was badly injured when he became trapped in a machine. British Polythene Ltd was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following the incident at BPI Widnes Films on 21 January 2014.
HSE news release and safe maintenance webpages. Risks 720. 19 September 2015
Britain: HSE finally acts after firm’s offending decade
A Cheltenham firm that left workers at risk of potentially deadly diseases and injuries over a period of a decade despite repeat warnings from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has finally found itself facing justice. Welsted Joinery Ltd was fined for failing to use a local exhaust ventilation (LEV) system to extracting asthma- and cancer-linked wood dust and for failing to have lifting equipment on its rider-operated trucks thoroughly examined.
HSE news release. Risks 720. 19 September 2015
India: Truck crash kills 18 workers
At least 18 workers have been killed after the truck they were travelling in overturned in India's southern state of Andhra Pradesh. The truck carrying cement and other construction materials was taking the workers to a construction site southeast of the capital, Hyderabad.
BBC News Online. Risks 720. 19 September 2015
Pakistan: Workers killed making clothes for big name brands
Four workers died and sixteen were injured when the roof of a garment factory collapsed on 5 September in Lahore, Pakistan. The factory was operating in a poorly constructed building and producing garments for Primark, Topman, Burton, New Look and River Island.
IndustriALL news release and related news release. Risks 720. 19 September 2015
India: Tea report exposes failures by Rainforest Alliance
Child labour, exposure to highly toxic chemicals and diseases related to extreme poverty and dismal, insanitary housing have been discovered at tea plantations in India despite the tea producers boasting certification by the corporate responsibility auditor the Rainforest Alliance. A BBC investigation found the firms supplying some of Britain's biggest tea brands, including PG Tips, Tetleys and Twinings, were Rainforest certified despite major violations of national law and Rainforest's own standard.
BBC News Online. IUF news release and related release. Rainforest Alliance statement. Risks 720. 19 September 2015
Hazards news, 12 September 2015
Britain: TUC warns of the re-emergence of ‘Burnout Britain’
The number of people working excessive hours has risen by 15 per cent since 2010, according to a new TUC analysis. Regularly working more than 48 hours per week is linked to a significantly increased risk of developing stress, mental illness, heart disease and strokes and diabetes.
TUC news release. Morning Star. Risks 719. 12 September 2015
Britain: Trade Union Bill a ‘major attack on civil liberties’
Leading human rights groups have warned that the government’s Trade Union Bill is “a major attack on civil liberties in the UK”. In a joint statement Liberty, Amnesty International and the British Institute of Human Rights said the bill “would hamper people’s basic rights to protest and shift even more power from the employee to the employer.”
TUC news release and responses to the government consultation on the Trade Union Bill. BBC News Online.
Can you send an email to your MP? Make sure all supportive MPs attend the forthcoming vote on the Trade Union Bill, and that government MPs realise their constituents are concerned. Risks 719. 12 September 2015
Britain: Liverpool agrees breakthrough construction charter
Construction firms that want to build in Liverpool will have to agree a six-point charter to ensure that workers have guaranteed health and safety rights and decent employment conditions. The charter, which has been drawn up by the unions Unite, UCATT and the GMB, is designed to stamp out ‘notorious’ industry practices, such as bogus self-employment schemes, blacklisting and health and safety breaches on any construction site within the city limits.
Unite news release. GMB news release. UCATT news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 719. 12 September 2015
Britain: Bus driver fired after breaking his neck
A bus driver was fired after his neck was broken as he made his way to work. Describing the decision by Metroline to dismiss Manelson Chivela as “sickening”, his union GMB is now demanding his reinstatement. “Clearly, Metroline no longer allow their employees to recover from serious injuries, they simply dismiss them, and try to recruit replacements,” GMB’s Richard Owen said, adding that the union is demanding his reinstatement with no interruption of his employment rights.
GMB news release. Risks 719. 12 September 2015
Britain: Unions welcome death knell for tribunal fees in Scotland
Unions have welcomed the Scottish government announcement that it intends to abolish fees for employment tribunals in Scotland. The announcement came as public service union UNISON vowed to go to the UK Supreme Court in its ongoing fight against the UK government's decision to introduce employment tribunal fees across the UK.
UNISON Scotland news release. Prospect news release.
A Stronger Scotland: The Government's Programme for Scotland 2015-16, Scottish government, September 2015. Risks 719. 12 September 2015
Global: Survey identifies issues facing women seafarers
Seafarers’ union Nautilus is to seek better tailored guidance and action to address health problems faced by women seafarers. The union’s commitment follows the publication of the findings of a large scale international survey of the health concerns of women working at sea that found the problems encountered mirror those of their male counterparts, with back and joint pain, and stress being the most commonly reported health concerns.
Nautilus news release. Nautilus Telegraph. Risks 719. 12 September 2015
Britain: New Merseyrail trains must have guards
Plans for a new generation of Merseyrail trains will be welcomed by all, the union RMT has said – but it adds these trains must have guards on board to maintain safety and security. The union said both passengers and rail workers will be horrified at the prospect of Merseyrail trains without guards, saying networks without staffing descend into an “anti-social abyss”.
RMT news release. Risks 719. 12 September 2015
Britain: Firefighter badly injured in pig rescue
A firefighter from Louth, Lincolnshire has received £108,000 in compensation after suffering a serious shoulder injury at work. The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) member, whose name has not been released, was part of a team responding to a call where a lorry that was transporting pigs had turned over.
FBU news release. Thompsons Solicitors news release and new industrial diseases website. Risks 719. 12 September 2015
Britain: Low pay is a workplace ‘well-being’ issue
In an increasing number of workplaces, workforce ‘well-being’ has become a favourite management preoccupation – often as a more palatable alternative to dealing with health and safety concerns, according to the TUC. But a new official report suggests employers may be ignoring the key driver of poor well-being – low pay.
TUC Touchstone blog. Relationship between Wealth, Income and Personal Well-being, July 2011 to June 2012, ONS, September 2015. Low blow: Low paid work comes with high work risks, Hazards, October-December 2014. Risks 719. 12 September 2015
Global: New warning on deadly work stress
Job insecurity, long working hours and other common workplace stressors can all damage a person's health, raise the odds of them having an illness diagnosed by a doctor and even leading to an early death. A Harvard Business School and Stanford University study found that high job demands increased the odds of having an illness diagnosed by a doctor by 35 per cent, long work hours increased the chances of early death by almost 20 per cent and worry that you might soon lose your job increased the odds of having poor health by about 50 per cent.
Joel Goh, Jeffrey Pfeffer and Stefanos A Zenios, Workplace stressors and health outcomes: Health policy for the workplace, Behavioural Science and Policy, volume 1, number 1, September 2015. Daily Mail. CNN News. Boston.com. Risks 719. 12 September 2015
Britain: Law project wins 95 per cent of 'fit for work' appeals
Almost all of the 200 “fit for work“ test appeals undertaken by a student volunteer project have been won, providing more evidence of the unreliability of the government’s controversial work capability assessment (WCA). The programme was created by Avon and Bristol Law centre, two years ago using a handpicked team of law students to fill the gap created by legal aid cuts in 2013.
The Guardian. The Mirror. Lawyer 2B. Risks 719. 12 September 2015
Britain: Study looks at the impact of work on health
A major ongoing research project is turning its attention to the effects of work on health. TUC head of safety Hugh Robertson described the new evaluation by the UK Biobank study as a ‘fantastic opportunity’ to learn more about how certain workplace hazards are resulting in illness or death.
UK Biobank news release and website. TUC health and safety facebook page. Risks 719. 12 September 2015
Britain: Scotland urged to plug asbestos loophole
Scotland’s groundbreaking asbestos compensation laws need an immediate tweak to stop the most seriously affected individuals losing out, occupational health researchers have said. The University of Stirling team said Scotland leads the way in protecting the rights of people affected by asbestos, but found people who suffer from pleural plaques, an asbestos-related chest condition, are being forced to second-guess their chances of subsequently developing a potentially fatal condition such as lung cancer or mesothelioma.
Stirling University news release. Irwin Mitchell Solicitors news release. Glasgow Evening Times. Hawick News. Risks 719. 12 September 2015
Britain: Labourer aged 16 died in site fall
A north London company has been fined £325,000 following the death of a 16-year-old labourer. Enfield firm Rooftop Rooms Ltd was fined £325,000, ordered to pay the Crown costs of £12,187.78 and health and safety costs of £7,334.84 after teenager Alfie Perrin fell from a scaffold on 14 November 2012.
Metropolitan Police news release. Construction Enquirer. Ilford Recorder. Wanstead Guardian. Enfield Today. Risks 719. 12 September 2015
Britain: Fall into recycling machine proved fatal
A waste recycling firm has been sentenced after admitting criminal safety failings related to a worker’s death. Bradford Crown Court heard that on 17 August 2012, Simon Brook, an employee of Gwynn Davies-McTiffin Ltd, was found lying seriously injured at the bottom of a horizontal baling machine and died two days later.
HSE news release. Dewsbury Reporter. Morning Star. Risks 719. 12 September 2015
Europe: European Health and Safety Week, 19-25 October
European Health and Safety Week will take place in the third week of October, running from Monday 19 October to Sunday 25 October. The theme is workplace stress for the second year running, with Wednesday 21 October the TUC National Inspection Day when all safety representatives are encouraged to inspect their workplace.
TUC European Health and Safety Week webpage and resources Risks 719. 12 September 2015
Canada: Study shows unions keep site workers safer
Unionised construction workers are significantly less likely than their non-unionised counterparts to be seriously injured on the job, a new Canadian study has shown. The report found that workers with unionised firms reported 23 per cent fewer injuries that required time off than those at non-union shops, and unionised workers, 17 per cent less likely to experience muscle, tendon, and nerve injuries that affect mobility, and were almost 30 per cent less likely to suffer critical injuries — defined as those that place workers’ lives in jeopardy.
IWH news release. OCS union safety effect infographic. FIU news release.
Benjamin C Amick, Sheilah Hogg-Johnson, Desiree Latour-Villamil and Ron Saunders. Protecting construction worker health and safety in Ontario Canada: Identifying a union safety effect, Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, published online ahead of print, September 2015. doi 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000562 [full paper]. Risks 719. 12 September 2015
Europe: EC refuses access to glyphosate assessment
The European Commission has refused to make available the risk assessment report on glyphosate prepared for the European Food Safety Authority. Global food and farming union federation IUF said: “The Commission's ongoing refusal to make available its risk assessment data violates a 2013 ruling by the European Court of Justice requiring public disclosure.”
IUF news report. Risks 719. 12 September 2015
Global: Lawyers bid to hide scientist’s asbestos links
In a document filed on 4 September, lawyers for Union Pacific Railroad Company made a court bid to suppress evidence that an expert witness in an asbestos compensation case was a regular recipient of money from a global asbestos lobbying group. Robert Nolan is a key scientific witness for the company in a US court case concerning the death of a worker from asbestos-related lung disease.
RightOnCanada.ca. Risks 719. 12 September 2015
South Africa: Miners march for pay and safety
South African miners marched to the Chamber of Mines in Johannesburg on 5 September in protest at poor working conditions. Thousands of National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) members marched through the city to deliver a list of demands to the goldmine owners’ federation.
NUM video and news release. Morning Star. Risks 719. 12 September 2015
Hazards news, 5 September 2015
Britain: TUC slams ‘vindictive’ and dangerous Bill
The government’s ‘vindictive’ Trade Union Bill could put your life at risk, TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady has warned. In a special feature in Hazards magazine she says David Cameron’s plan would rob union safety reps of the time and rights they need to perform their role
We’re here to stay! Unions challenge wrong-headed government attack that could cost lives, Frances O’Grady, Hazards online report, 4 September 2015. Risks 718. 5 September 2015
Britain: Have you taken strike action to protect your rights?
The TUC says government’s Trade Union Bill “threatens the right to strike – and that’ll make it harder to raise safety concerns, oppose job cuts or service closures, or win better conditions.” The union body adds: “That’s where you come in. If you have been involved in a recent dispute that has resulted in strike action, please tell us your story.”
Tell TUC what you did and why. Risks 718. 5 September 2015
Britain: Rural safety threat as fire cover is axed
The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) in North Yorkshire has stepped up its campaign against cuts to the local fire and rescue service. It says an area in excess of 3,000 square miles could be left with the number of fire engines pared back to about half the pre-cuts level, and with hundreds fewer firefighters.
FBU news release and www.no2firecuts.com campaign website. Risks 718. 5 September 2015
Britain: UNISON to continue tribunal fees fight
UNISON has vowed to go to country’s top court after the Court of Appeal rejected its appeal against the government’s introduction of ‘punitive’ employment tribunal fees. The Court of Appeal did describe the fees evidence as ‘troubling’ and expressed a “strong suspicion that so large a decline [in claims] is unlikely to be accounted for entirely by cases of ‘won’t pay’ and [that] it must also reflect at least some cases of ‘can’t pay’.”
UNISON news release. Court of Appeal judgment, 26 August 2015. Risks 718. 5 September 2015
Britain: Long hours warning must be heeded at sea
Research linking long working hours to higher rates of heart disease and strokes should spur a reduction in the notoriously long hours worked at sea, seafarers’ union Nautilus has said. Allan Graveson, Nautilus senior national secretary, said: “Unlike asbestos, ignored for decades, employers now need to take responsibility,” adding: “A 91/98 hour working week is unacceptable.”
Nautilus news release. Project Horizon. Risks 718. 5 September 2015
Britain: Work capability assessments not ‘fit for purpose’
The Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) Work Capability Assessments are not fit for purpose and should be scrapped in their current form, Unite has said. The union was speaking after the release of figures showing more than 4,000 people died within six weeks of being found ‘fit for work’.
Unite news release. Risks 718. 5 September 2015
Britain: Healthy workplaces ‘a must do’ says NHS chief
The NHS “must put its own house in order” and create healthy workplaces for its 1.3 million staff, NHS England's chief executive has announced. Simon Stevens was outlining his £5m solution for cutting the NHS bill for staff sickness, which currently stands at £2.4bn a year.
NHS England news release. BBC News Online. The Mirror. Risks 718. 5 September 2015
Britain: Dundee firm admits failings in chemical tank death
A Dundee company has admitted criminal health and safety failings after a worker died while cleaning out a chemical tank with a highly dangerous chemical cocktail. Steven Conway died while working at Diamond Wheels (Dundee) Ltd, while using a product containing methylene chloride, methanol and hydrofluoric acid.
STV News. BBC News Online. Risks 718. 5 September 2015
Britain: Coatings firm in court for legionella failings
An international firm that refurbishes turbine blades has been fined for failing to manage the risk to the public and employees from exposure to potentially deadly legionella bacteria. Chromalloy UK Limited, which has sites in Eastwood in Nottinghamshire and Somercotes in Derbyshire, failed to properly manage the risk of bacteria growing in their cooling towers for over a year, from May 2011.
HSE news release and legionella management guide. Risks 718. 5 September 2015
Britain: Steel coating firm ignored Legionella risk
A steel coating company has been fined for failing to manage the risks from legionella bacteria at two cooling towers over a period of five years. Newport Crown Court heard how in February 2014, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) visited Coilcolor limited in Newport, Gwent and found it had since 2009 been operating two cooling towers on site without taking necessary measures to control proliferation of the bacteria.
HSE news release and Legionnaires’ disease webpage. Risks 718. 5 September 2015
Britain: Teen worker disfigured by unguarded machine
A Glasgow manufacturer of foam plastics and rubber materials has been fined after admitting criminal safety failing that left a teenage worker permanently disfigured. Glasgow Sheriff Court was told that on 28 January 2013 a 19-year-old employee of Paulamar Company Ltd was seriously injured while feeding foam sheets into an adhesive backing machine that had no safety guardings.
HSE news release. Risks 718. 5 September 2015
Britain: Worker pollaxed by boards falling from crane
A worker on a Balfour Beatty site in Dorset was knocked out and seriously injured after being struck by falling boards being lifted by a crane. The half a tonne load of sound bloc boards was being lifted from the fourth floor at the rear of a block of flats under construction in Poole to the second lift loading bay at the front of the building.
HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 718. 5 September 2015
Britain: Contractor didn’t provide safety cover
A contractor has been fined after admitting unsafe work at height practices and insurance breaches. James Young, trading as Watertight Home Improvements, pleaded guilty at Chester Magistrates’ Court after an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
HSE news release. Risks 718. 5 September 2015
Australia: Unions call for offshore safety action
There must be urgent reforms to regulatory oversight of Australia’s offshore oil and gas industry to improve safety, unions have said. In a new report, ‘Offshore OHS – Protecting our oil and gas workers’, national union federation ACTU outlines nine recommendations for occupational health and safety law reform.
ACTU news release and report, OHS Offshore - Protecting our Oil and Gas Workers, Risks 718. 5 September 2015
Global: Asbestos industry lobbyists still at work
Top public relations firms are continuing to ply their trade for the global asbestos industry, helping maintain the deadly fibre’s marketshare. The latest evidence, obtained by Canadian human rights organisation RightOnCanada.ca, comes from Malaysia.
RightOnCanada.ca. Risks 718. 5 September 2015
Global: Samsung pressed on cancers foundation
A broad group of civil society organisations from Asia, Europe, Africa, North America and South America is urging Korean electronics giant Samsung to deliver justice to those harmed by chemical exposures in its factories. The letter to Kwon oh hyun, CEO of Samsung Electronics, says Samsung should abide by the recent recommendations of a high profile mediation committee and fund an independent non-profit foundation and resolve all outstanding issues arising from the cluster of occupational diseases such as leukaemia and lymphoma among
IndustriALL news release. Support and endorse the open letter. Good Electronics news release. Korea IT Times. Risks 718. 5 September 2015
Ireland: Fearful rail staff dare not report 'near misses'
Under pressure workers at Irish Rail are failing to report “near misses” or incidents on the country's railways for fear of being blamed by senior management, a damning safety audit has found. The draft report, commissioned by the Railway Safety Commission (RSC), also warns of “poor morale” among workers due to recently imposed pay cuts.
Irish Independent. Risks 718. 5 September 2015