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New union reps to raise safety in smaller firms


BRITAIN

New union reps to raise safety in smaller firms

The TUC has welcomed government support for a new breed of union safety rep. Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Andrew Smith told the Labour Party conference on 2 October 2003 that the government would provide funding for more "roving safety reps," who will promote health and safety in small and medium workplaces that do not necessarily have union members.

Brendan Barber, TUC general secretary, said: "Worker safety advisers, or roving safety reps, will help make workplaces safer and protect people's lives. Consulting and involving workers about their health and safety is the single most important thing that employers can do to improve the working environment. And in small firms, which often do not have union members or a union safety rep, roving safety reps backed by trade unions are the next best thing."

Bill Callaghan, chair of the Health and Safety Commission (HSC), said the new fund will build on the proven success of their worker safety advisor pilot (Risks 124) and will contribute significantly by providing advice and expertise to employers and workers on occupational health and safety in areas of need.

The WSA Challenge Fund will provide 3 million over three years.

Risks 126, 4 October 2003Speech by Secretary of State Andrew SmithTUC news release


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