The aftermath of the BP Texas city refinery explosion in 2005 that killed 15 workers

 


DEADLY BUSINESS NEWS

Britain: Recycling wall deaths directors convicted
Two directors of a multi-million pound Birmingham metal recycling firm have been convicted of criminal health and safety breaches after five men died when a 45-tonne wall fell on them in 2016. Wayne Hawkeswood and Graham Woodhouse, directors of Hawkeswood Metal Recycling and Shredmet, now known as ENSCO101, denied risking workers’ safety but a jury convicted them and their companies of all 12 criminal safety counts after a trial which lasted six weeks.
BBC News Online. Birmingham Mail.
Hazards news, 23 November 2022

Britain: Suspended sentence for fall death roofing boss
A Wakefield roofing company has been fined and its sole director given a suspended prison sentence after father-of-two Jonathan May, 39, was killed when he fell 12 metres through a skylight. Melvyn Davis, the director of Davis Industrial Roofing Limited, pleaded guilty to criminal safety breaches and was sentenced to eight weeks imprisonment suspended for 12 months and was ordered to do 15 days of rehabilitation activity; his company also pleaded guilty and was fined £20,000 plus £12,557 costs.
HSE news release. Construction Enquirer.
Hazards news, 23 November 2022

Britain: Don’t repeat deadly King’s Cross mistakes - RMT
Rail union RMT has marked the 35-year anniversary of the deadly King’s Cross Underground fire by calling for an end to job cuts on the Tube. RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said “in the wake of the disaster, a completely new safety critical culture was built in which the vital role that staff play was fully recognised, on the basis that such a thing should never happen again, but he warned: “In pressing on with their plans to cut more station staff jobs, London Underground’s managers are making an historic error and unpicking the work that dates back to 1987.”
RMT news release.
Hazards news, 23 November 2022

Britain: Highest ever levels of work-related ill health
The number of workers in Great Britain suffering work-related ill-health has increased again to a new all-time high. Latest Health and Safety Executive (HSE) figures put the total reporting work-related ill-health at 1.8 million in 2021/22, up from 1.7 million in 2020/21 – and is now almost 40 per cent higher than when the Tories came to power.
HSE news release and statistics, Health and safety statistics 2021/22, HSE, 23 November 2022.
Hazards news, 23 November 2022

Britain: Workplace stress soars to a new record high
A record number of stress, depression and anxiety cases now makes up around half of the total work-related ill-health in Great Britain, new official figures show. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) statistics on work-related ill health and workplace injuries reveal there were an estimated 914,000 cases of work-related stress, depression, or anxiety in 2021/22 - this is over 10 per cent up on the previous all-time high of 828,000 cases in 2019/20.
HSE news release and statistics, Health and safety statistics 2021/22, HSE, 23 November 2022. HSE Working Minds campaign
RESOURCES: TUC guide to responding to harmful work-related stress. Tackling workplace stress using the HSE Stress Management Standards, TUC and HSE guidance for health and safety representatives. TUC workbook on mental health in the workplace.
Hazards news, 23 November 2022

Britain: Bid to delay deletion of 4,000 EU laws
The UK government is to face attempts to delay the deletion of up to 4,000 EU laws from UK statute books and stop the scrapping of key workers’ rights, with opposition parties set to table dozens of amendments next week. The retained EU law (revocation and reform) bill has been described as “reckless” by legal experts, who say it is badly designed and gives unprecedented powers to ministers to personally decide which laws stay and which go.
The Guardian. BEIS retained EU law dashboard. Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill.
Hazards news, 23 November 2022

Britain: Workers’ rights ‘illusory’ in Qatar - TUC
The TUC has warned that Qatar’s World Cup legacy risks being left “in tatters” without wholesale changes to protect workers. The warning came as the union body published a new report detailing widespread labour abuses in Qatar, ahead of the kick off of the World Cup on 20 November.
TUC news release and report, “I have nothing" - Workers' rights and the Qatar 2022 World Cup,18 November 2022.  The Guardian.
Hazards news, 23 November 2022

Britain: P&O chief named ‘Worst Boss in the World’
P&O chief executive Peter Hebblethwaite has been named the world’s worst boss in a global poll after illegally firing almost 800 UK workers in a pre-recorded Zoom call. His award was announced at the World Congress of the global union confederation ITUC in Melbourne, Australia.
ITUC news release. ITF news release.
Hazards news, 23 November 2022

USA: Workers at Tesla gigafactory site to sue
Construction workers who toiled on one of Tesla’s sprawling so-called Gigafactories have filed a complaint and a case referral with the federal Department of Labor detailing exploitative work conditions they say they experienced while building the plant. Whistleblowers came forward to allege serious labour and employment violations during construction of the electric car manufacturer’s massive new facility in Austin, Texas, that left them vulnerable to injuries and wage theft.
The Guardian.
Hazards news, 18 November 2022

USA: ‘Oppressive child labour’ violations at processing plants
The US Department of Labor has asked a federal court to issue a nationwide temporary restraining order and injunction against Packers Sanitation Services Inc. Ltd (PSSI) – one of the nation’s leading providers of food safety sanitation – to stop the company from illegally employing dozens of minor-aged workers while the department continues its investigation of the company’s labour practices. The complaint was prompted by an investigation by the department’s Wage and Hour Division that discovered that PSSI had employed at least 31 children – from 13 to 17 years of age – in hazardous occupations.
US Department of Labor news release.
Hazards news, 18 November 2022

Britain: Dyson faces legal case over abusive working conditions
A group of 24 people have issued legal claims in the High Court in London against several Dyson companies alleging that they experienced forced labour and abusive working conditions when working in two factories producing Dyson products in Malaysia. They also allege that workers suffered dangerous conditions with minimal protection against industrial accidents, unsanitary and cramped living accommodation, onerous production targets and were denied toilet breaks, meaning they were forced to work upwards of 12 hours at a time without relieving themselves.
Leigh Day news release.
Hazards news, 18 November 2022

Britain: Firm fined £2m after worker died from burns
A chipboard company has been convicted and fined more than £2m over health and safety failings which led to a worker dying from serious burns in Stirlingshire. George Laird sustained fatal injuries at Norboard Europe Ltd's factory in Cowie in 2016 and died later in hospital.
COPFS news release. BBC News Online.
Hazards news, 18 November 2022

Britain: Driver killed in trailer fall
A transport company has been fined £400,000 after one of its drivers suffered fatal injuries after being knocked off his trailer. On 16 November 2020, Robert Gifkins, who worked for Arnold Laver & Company Ltd, was delivering timber to a company in Whaddon near Salisbury when he was struck by the trailer’s crane and fell from the vehicle to the ground and subsequently died of his injuries on 17 December 2020.
HSE news release.
Hazards news, 18 November 2022

Britain: Sunak must reverse reporting exemptions - IOSH
Safety professionals’ body IOSH has called on the prime minister to reverse a decision made by his predecessor Liz Truss to exempt about 40,000 businesses from reporting requirements and regulations. In a letter to Rishi Sunak, IOSH chief executive Vanessa Harwood-Whitcher said there is “an opportunity to make an early, bold step in the right direction” by scrapping the move.
IOSH news release.
Hazards news, 18 November 2022

Britain: Worker crushed to death at Hinkley Point C
Construction work was suspended at the Hinkley Point C site after a site supervisor died following an accident on the giant nuclear job on the morning of Sunday 13 November. The victim was working for main contractor Bylor – a joint venture of Bouygues and Laing O’Rourke.
Construction Enquirer. BBC News Online.
Hazards news, 18 November 2022

Britain: Government policies behind Grenfell disaster - FBU
The lawyer for firefighters’ union FBU’s has told the Grenfell Inquiry that “the disaster was a direct consequence of a generation of government policies which combined to create a death trap for the residents of Grenfell Tower.” The comments came in the closing submissions for Phase 2 of the inquiry, which covers the run-up to the night of the fire.
FBU news release. The Guardian. Construction Enquirer.
Hazards news, 18 November 2022

Britain: Small fine after worker crushed to death
A construction firm has been fined £10,000 after the death of a worker at St Enoch shopping centre in Glasgow. Derek McLean, 43, was crushed after attempting to move a 3.5 tonne Brokk demolition machine up a set of stairs by remote control in August 2019.
BBC News Online.
Hazards news, 10 November 2022

Britain: Two firms fined after driver fatally crushed
Two companies have been fined after a heavy goods vehicle (HGV) driver suffered fatal chest injuries while unstrapping a load on a trailer. Andrew Bayley-Machin, 41, was fatally crushed when he was hit by a pack of steel gates that fell approximately three metres from a load on a flatbed trailer.
HSE news release.
Hazards news, 10 November 2022

Britain: More safety rules could subject to ‘sunsetting’
Government researchers have found another 1,400 laws that will be wiped off the statute books next year by Brexit legislation tabled by Jacob Rees-Mogg in September, according to a Financial Times report. Three more health and safety regulations have been added to the original list, which has now increased to 58 rules, all of which will be ‘sunset’ next year unless the government takes explicit action to retain them.
BEIS retained EU law dashboard. Financial Times. The Guardian.
Hazards news, 10 November 2022

Britain: Ryanair workers demand end to ‘repeat tragedies’
Workers from Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport demonstrated on 8 November in honour of their colleague, Cinzia Ceravolo, who was killed crossing the city’s treacherous Hale Road in August this year after leaving work. The Unite members, who were joined by members of the GMB who work at the airport, are angry that despite repeated tragedies, no action has been taken to make the junction safe.
Unite news release and open letter to the mayor.
Hazards news, 10 November 2022

Turkey: Arrests over deadly coal mine blast
Eight suspects have been remanded in custody for “causing the deaths of multiple persons by gross negligence” in an investigation into the 14 October 2022 mine explosion in the Amasra, Turkey. Forty-one mine workers were killed and more than 20 others were injured in the firedamp explosion in the mine operated by the Turkish Hard Coal Enterprise Institution (TTK).
Bianet.
Hazards news, 3 November 2022

Britain: HSE blasts offshore firm over asbestos risk
The UK’s safety regulator has reprimanded Apache over its handling of incidents in which offshore workers were potentially exposed to asbestos on its Forties Charlie platform. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) issued the North Sea operator with two improvement notices after it discovered a six-week delay to the firm’s incident reporting, and a lack of key safety paperwork.
Energy Voice.
Hazards news, 3 November 2022

Britain: Director gets community order after fire risk failings
A building firm has been fined £600,000 and its director has been ordered to complete 100 hours of unpaid work and fined £4,200 following serious and repeated failings in managing the risk of fire during work at a construction site. S&S Quality Building Contractors Limited was fined £600,000 plus costs of £36,894 and company director Shlomo Pines pleaded guilty to a criminal safety offence and received a community order to complete 100 hours of unpaid work and was fined £4,200.
HSE news release.
Hazards news, 3 November 2022

Korea: Boycott of food giant spreads after worker’s death
A boycott of companies affiliated with SPC Group, Korea’s leading food company, has been gaining momentum after a 23-year-old worker died on the floor of a bread factory affiliated with SPC. The tragedy on 15 October 2022 came as part of a growing public sentiment that large companies have crossed a line in trivialising workers’ safety.
Hankyoreh.
Hazards news, 28 October 2022

Britain: Worker scalded to death at industrial cleaning company
A catering equipment cleaning company has been fined £200,000 plus costs of £14,597.17 after a worker died as a result of falling into a tank of hot water. On 8 January 2018, Stephen Wohler was standing on the lid of a covered tank at Pan Glo (UK) Ltd, in Skelmersdale, Lancashire when he fell through the lid into hot water heated to 76 degrees Celsius, with the 58-year-old dying a week later in hospital.
HSE news release. Lancashire Evening Post.
Hazards news, 28 October 2022

Britain: Nestlé fined £800,000 after worker seriously injured
Confectionery to cleaning products multinational Nestlé has been fined after a Newcastle worker was left seriously injured when his arm got caught in an unguarded Rolo machine at the company's Fawdon factory. The 25-year-old maintenance technician was underneath the ‘Rolo Racetrack’ machine assessing an issue on 20 November 2020, when his sleeve got caught in a roller and trapped his left arm, causing multiple fractures and soft tissue damage.
HSE news release. Newcastle Chronicle.
Hazards news, 28 October 2022

Britain: Ambulance strike ballot over ‘unsafe’ services
More than 15,000 ambulance workers across 11 trusts in England and Wales are voting on strike action. Workers are angry over the government’s imposed 4 per cent pay award as well as unsafe staffing levels across the ambulance service.
GMB news release.
Hazards news, 28 October 2022

Britain: Woolwich Ferry use of agency staff ‘unsafe’
Unite has written to London Assembly members to raise concerns about the poorly trained agency workers being used to run a limited service during the Woolwich Ferry strike. The union has called on GLA members to give an assurance that the agency staffing arrangements, along with the condition of the boats, “give no cause for concern as far as safety is concerned.”
Unite news release.
Hazards news, 28 October 2022

Britain: Train drivers shouldn’t be dying for a toilet
A train driver was killed after getting out of his cab to urinate at the track side because there were no toilets on board, drivers’ union ASLEF has said. The union is waiting for the Department for Transport’s Rail Accident Investigation Branch to produce its report into the tragedy - but it is calling on all rail operators to remedy the lack of facilities for train crew where no toilet is provided on board.
Morning Star.
Hazards news, 28 October 2022

Turkey: IndustriALL mourns after mine ‘homicide’
Mining unions have expressed outrage and sadness after a 14 October explosion in a coal mine in Amasra, Turkey, killed 41 miners. Kemal Özkan, IndustriALL assistant general secretary, said: “This is a homicide, not an accident”.
IndustriALL news release. The Guardian. BBC News Online. Bne Intellinews.
Hazards news, 21 October 2022

Britain: Uninsured furniture retailer gets small fine
A furniture retail boss who did not have the insurance that would cover his legal liabilities if a worker suffered an injury or disease as a result of his negligence has escaped with a small fine. Exclusive Oriental Classics Ltd and its director Kian Hoo Tay appeared at Luton Magistrates Court for failing to have Employers’ Liability (Compulsory) Insurance (ELCI) and both were fined £1,650 plus £1,750 costs.
HSE news release.
Hazards news, 21 October 2022

Britain: Security guard seriously injured at abattoir
Meat production company Dunbia (UK) has been fined £440,000 after a security guard at an abattoir was seriously injured by a vehicle passing through the site gate. The 63-year-old worker, who was employed by an independent security company, sustained serious leg and head injuries requiring surgery when she was hit by a vehicle towing a trailer. She was holding the gate open at the time.
HSE news release.
Hazards news, 21 October 2022

Britain: Petrol blunder saw worker engulfed in flames
A Kent groundwork contractor has been fined £10,000 plus costs of £7,333.42 after a worker sustained serious burns as a result of petrol thrown on a bonfire. The 26-year-old groundworker employed by Kent County Surfacing Ltd was instructed to light the bonfire, but was engulfed in flames as the petrol vapour ignited resulting in serious life-changing burns.
HSE news release. Construction Enquirer.
Hazards news, 21 October 2022

Britain: Bernard Matthews fined after separate injuries
Bernard Matthew’s Food Ltd has been fined following two separate incidents where employees were seriously injured, leaving one paralysed. The turkey giant pleaded guilty to a criminal safety offence and was fined £400,000 and ordered to pay costs of £15,000.
HSE news release.
Hazards news, 21 October 2022

Britain: HSE not up to its post-Brexit work on chemicals
Key government regulators including the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) do not have the necessary staff and skills to protect workers and the public from chemical and other risks, MPs have said. The Commons public accounts committee said government plans to cut budgets at HSE “would mean it was not resourced to take on its new functions and maintain existing ones.”
House of Commons Public Accounts Committee news release, report and Inquiry: Regulation after EU exit. Morning Star.
Hazards news, 21 October 2022

Britain: Government risks voter backlash over rights bonfire
The Conservative government will face a “significant” voter backlash, including losing all ‘red wall seats’ and those of several of the Tory party’s ‘big beasts’, if it follows through on plans to rip up key workplace protections which originated from EU law, the TUC has said. The warning came as the union body published data from its new MRP poll which revealed ‘whopping’ nationwide and cross-party support for protecting EU-derived workers’ rights.
TUC news release.
Hazards news, 21 October 2022

Britain: HSE must get more funds and more staff – unions 
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) must be provided with the appropriate funding to do its job, with increased staffing and better pay, unions have said. A motion passed unanimously at TUC’s Congress explained how government cuts have “substantially weakened” the HSE, adding: “It is struggling to effectively regulate as it should across many sectors, from construction and factories to major hazard installations.”
PCS news release.
Hazards news, 21 October 2022

Global: UK firms driving human rights abuses abroad
UK companies operating overseas are afforded far greater legal protections than the citizens of the countries they operate in, a new report has fund. The Transform Trade charity said none of UK’s 99 current bilateral investment treaties (BITs) contain provisions in relation to human rights.
People Centred Trade - Why we need to transform trade now, Transform Trade, September 2022. The Guardian. Risks 1063.
Hazards news, 14 October 2022

Britain: Firm fined after factory’s chlorine gas leak
A chemicals company has been fined after releasing a cloud of toxic chlorine gas that spread through its factory, yard and the surrounding area resulting in staff needing hospital treatment and significant damage to the factory. On 12 June 2019, Wiltshire company GEA Farm Technologies (UK) Ltd mistakenly put an Intermediate Bulk Container (IBC) containing approximately 700 kg of concentrated sulphuric acid into a mixing vessel which already contained 1,600 litres of sodium hypochlorite solution, the chemicals reacted releasing a large cloud of toxic chlorine gas, which CCTV footage showed as it permeated the factory and surrounding area.
HSE news release. Risks 1063.
Hazards news, 14 October 2022

Britain: Conservatives killing off compensation and prevention
The number of workplace injury and disease settlements have dropped by 50 per cent since the Conservatives came to power – despite a dramatic risk in work-related ill-health, new research has found. Following Freedom of Information Act requests in 2012 and 2022, the figures obtained by the workers’ safety journal Hazards show that there were 87,655 claims registered with the Compensation Recovery Unit (CRU) in 2011/12, but this had fallen to 44,435 in 2021/22 – a 50 per cent drop.
Thompsons Solicitors news release. Worth less: Conservatives are burying compensation and prevention, Hazards, number 159, 2022. Personnel Today. Risks 1063.
Hazards news, 14 October 2022

Britain: RMT slams regulator’s cost-cutting priorities
The government’s rail safety and efficiency regulator is giving a higher priority to slashing costs and jobs than the safety and employment conditions of railway staff, the rail union RMT has said. The union was responding to a 6 October Office of Rail and Road (ORR) ‘annual efficiency’ report on Network Rail which found it had made £1.9 billion in efficiency savings in the last three years, largely as a result of ‘workforce reform initiatives’, with a target of billions more in cuts by 2024.
RMT news release. ORR news release. Risks 1063.
Hazards news, 14 October 2022

Britain: Airport workers call for action on death road
Liverpool council must act without delay to address the hazardous conditions on road near to the city’s airport, Unite has said. The call follows the recent death of Unite member, Cinzia Ceravolo in August as she was trying to cross Hale Road on her journey home from work at Liverpool John Lennon Airport.  
Unite news release, film and open letter to Liverpool mayor Joanne Anderson. Risks 1062.
Hazards news, 6 October 2022

Britain: RMT warning of rail disaster repeat risk
Twenty-three years after 31 lives were lost in the Ladbroke Grove rail disaster, rail union RMT has warned that government policy is in danger of dragging the railways closer towards ‘the same cocktail of conditions that lead to tragedy’ on 5 October 1999. RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “The proliferation of private agencies and contractors, often employing casual staff on zero hours contracts is rapidly dragging us back to the edge.”
RMT news release. Risks 1062.
Hazards news, 6 October 2022

Britain: Rail workers fight for a safe, sustainable network
Ongoing rail strikes involving the unions RMT, ASLEF, TSSA and Unite are critical to the fight for a safe and sustainable rail system, the global transport unions’ federation ITF has said. The demands of ITF’s global ITF campaign for Safe and Sustainable Rail include “safety - ensuring railways are properly staffed and that staff have decent pay and conditions, as well as proper training on occupational health and safety.”
ITF news release. Risks 1062.
Hazards news, 6 October 2022

USA: Amazon sues regulator after safety action
Amazon, the world’s biggest retailer, is suing a workplace safety regulator in Washington state, after it was penalised for a series of safety violations. In its 3 October 2022 court filings, Amazon argued the measures required by the regulator to mitigate risks would be ‘tremendously disruptive’ and require a ‘costly study’.
Seattle Times. Lincoln Star Journal. Confined Space. Risks 1062.
Hazards news, 6 October 2022

Britain: Concerns grow over ‘sunsetting’ of EU rules
Alarm at government plans to ‘sunset’ all retained EU laws is spreading. The laws, which include many key employment protections and 55 workplace safety and chemical regulations, are being targeted as part of a government drive to remove “burdensome EU regulation”. The Brexit Freedoms Bill proposes to end the special status retained EU law has on the UK statute books by 2023.
CIEH news report. BEIS retained EU law dashboard. Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill. Risks 1062.
Hazards news, 6 October 2022

Britain: Rees-Mogg seeking to bypass HSE fracking scrutiny
Ministers are actively examining ways to evade legal scrutiny of new oil and gas projects, including fracking. The Guardian reports that senior staff working on energy projects in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) have been instructed to look into ideas raised by Jacob Rees-Mogg, the business secretary, including a move to “streamline” requirements from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), with the email noting this “would speed matters up further”.
The Guardian. Risks 1062.
Hazards news, 6 October 2022

Global: BBC ‘endangering’ World Service Vietnamese staff
Journalists at the BBC World Service have said plans to move its Vietnamese service from London to Thailand pose a danger to press freedom and to its journalists. Several reporters at the World Service raised concerns that the Vietnamese state had a history of abducting journalists from Thailand.
The Guardian. Risks 1062.
Hazards news, 6 October 2022

Britain: Catalyst firm fined after motor blasts through roof
A chemical manufacturing company has been fined after an explosion led to a reactor bursting open and ejecting a motor through a roof. CatAlloy Limited pleaded guilty to two criminal safety offences and was fined £120,000 and ordered to pay costs of £50,000
HSE news release. Risks 1061.
Hazards news, 29 September 2022

Britain: Tories bringing on the ‘death of decency’ at work
Decent work is the hallmark of a modern, progressive economy but the Conservative government doesn’t want it, won’t police it and thinks workers should not have the power to defend it, a new report has charged. The analysis in the workers’ safety journal Hazards presents evidence suggesting “new prime minister Liz Truss is planning for a low paid, lawless and disposable worker UK plc.”
Death of decency: Conservatives promise a deadly bonfire of rights, Hazards, number 159, September 2022. Risks 1061.
Hazards news, 29 September 2022

Britain: Tory assault on workplace rights begins
The UK government’s push to removed EU-derived employment and safety rights is underway. On 22 September, the government published its Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill in the House of Commons – a total of 55 health and safety laws are on the government’s scrutiny list, including the ‘big six’ workplace safety laws introduced in response to EU directives.
Thompsons Solicitors news release and update. BEIS news story and retained EU law dashboard. Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill. Risks 1061.
Hazards news, 29 September 2022

Britain: Seasonal worker visas could increase slavery risk
More people will be at risk of modern slavery on British farms if a cap on seasonal worker visas is lifted, labour rights experts have warned. Liz Truss has signalled that she intends to lift the cap on foreign workers in seasonal agriculture as part of a review of visas to tackle labour shortages.
FLEX news release. The Guardian. Risks 1061.
Hazards news, 29 September 2022

Britain: Attacking employment rights is bad for safety
The Tory government’s plans for union ballots outlined by the chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng on 23 September will undermine safety and working conditions, UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea has warned. She said: “By threatening every employment right won through the membership of the EU, ministers are showing a blatant disregard for the health, safety and well-being of working people.”
UNISON news release. Kwasi Kwarteng speech. Risks 1061.
Hazards news, 29 September 2022

Britain: Climate and safety complacency a threat to firefighting
A “horrible complacency” about the impact of the climate emergency on the fire service has left it under-funded and ill-prepared, the general secretary of the firefighters’ union FBU has warned. Matt Wrack said: “It has become a case of what else can we do when they ignore us on staffing levels, ignore us on PPE equipment and then they ignore us on pay as well,” he said.
FBU news release. The Guardian. Risks 1061.
Hazards news, 29 September 2022

Turkey: Children sickened in plastics recycling jobs
Children as young as nine are working in plastic waste recycling centres in Turkey, putting them at risk of serious and lifelong health conditions, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW).  In a new report, HRW accuses the Turkish government of exacerbating the health and environmental impact on the workers by failing to enforce laws that require strict licensing and regular inspections of recycling centres.
HRW news release and report, “It’s As If They’re Poisoning Us”. The Health Impacts of Plastic Recycling in Turkey, 21 September 2022. The Guardian. Risks 1060.
Hazards news, 23 September 2022

USA: Three farm deaths, but regulators are powerless
The deaths of three people killed after being trapped in a grain silo in Pennsylvania will not be investigated because they died on a family farm. Andrew Beiler, 47, and his two sons - a 19-year-old and a 14-year-old whose names were not released - died of asphyxiation from “silo gas” - one son was overcome by fumes, and his father and sibling attempted a rescue, but all three were asphyxiated.
Confined Space blog. Risks 1060.
Hazards news, 23 September 2022

Britain: Firefighters warn 100-hour weeks are ‘gamble with safety’
Firefighters are taking second jobs and working up to 100 hours a week to make ends meet, leading to growing concerns that an increasingly exhausted workforce is resulting in a “gamble with public safety”. Wages in the fire service are often about £30,000 but can be as low as £23,000.
FBU news release. The Observer. More on the hazards of low pay. Risks 1060.
Hazards news, 23 September 2022

Britain: Firm fined £200,000 after machine cleaning injury
Mexichem Specialty Compounds Limited, a company specialising in the manufacture of stabilisers and additives used in plastic products. has been fined £200,000 plus £7,846.78 costs after an employee suffered serious hand injuries while cleaning machinery. The employee was attempting to clean a rotary valve, standing with one foot on the machinery framework and the other on a ladder, when he slipped, resulting in a severed fingertip and lacerations to his hand.
HSE news release. Risks 1060.
Hazards news, 23 September 2022

Britain: Bosses failed to control risks from vibration
Two partners in a construction firm have been fined for failing to adequately control the risk to its employees from exposure to vibration, with one developing hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS). Andrew Hatto and Paul Kiff, trading as Roywood Contractors, pleaded guilty to two criminal breaches of the Control of Vibration Regulations 2005 and were each fined £1,150 and ordered to pay costs of £3,500 each.
HSE news release. Risks 1060.
Hazards news, 23 September 2022

Europe: Unions back ban on forced labour goods
A new EU ban on good produced through forced labour is crucial to tackling the rise in the number of victims of modern slavery, Europe-wide trade union body ETUC has said. The European Commission has proposed a prohibition on products found to have been made using forced labour from sale in the EU, whether they are made in the EU or in third countries.
ETUC news release. Risks 1060.
Hazards news, 23 September 2022

Britain: Cornwall to cut vital fire service control operation
The firefighters’ union FBU has said Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service should be ‘utterly ashamed’ at plans to scrap its entire control operation on money-saving grounds. The provision by firefighter control staff, who handle calls from the public, provide safety guidance and deploy resources during incidents, is set to end in April 2023.
FBU news release. Risks 1060.
Hazards news, 23 September 2022

Britain: Legal challenge against ‘strike-breaking’ law
Eleven trade unions, coordinated by the TUC have begun legal proceedings to protect the right to strike. The unions – ASLEF, BFAWU, FDA, GMB, NEU, NUJ, POA, PCS, RMT, Unite and Usdaw – have taken the case against the government’s new regulations which allow agency workers to fill in for striking workers and break strikes.
TUC news release and submission to ILO committee of experts, September 2022. Thompsons Solicitors news release. BFAWU news release. NASUWT news release. UNISON news release. Usdaw news release. The Guardian and related story. Risks 1060.
Hazards news, 23 September 2022

Britain: TUC warning on dangerously lax labour laws
The TUC has warned the government that another P&O style scandal is on the cards, unless ministers deliver stronger protections for workers. The warning came on 17 September, the six-month anniversary of the P&O scandal, which saw 800 seafarers illegally sacked without notice and consultation.
Nautilus news release. Morning Star. LabourList. More on the hazards of insecure work. Risks 1060.
Hazards news, 23 September 2022

Britain: Furlough had ‘damaging’ impact on UK pilots
Flight safety and the performance of pilots could have been adversely affected by the Covid-19 furlough, research supported by the UK pilots’ union BALPA has found. The study carried out by Dr Simon Bennett, director of Leicester University’s Civil Safety and Security Unit, with the assistance of the BALPA, found that many felt their performance on return to work post-furlough was not satisfactory, and that morale across the industry had been impacted by inadequate government and employer actions.
BALPA news release, full study and summary. Risks 1060.
Hazards news, 23 September 2022

Global: Shocking new modern slavery figures
A new estimate that 49.6 million people are in modern slavery on any given day has exposed the need for immediate international action to end this scandal, the global union confederation ITUC has said. ‘Global Estimates of Modern Slavery: Forced Labour and Forced Marriage’, from the International Labour Organisation (ILO), Walk Free and the IOM, calculates that the number has risen by ten million in five years.
ITUC news release. ILO news release. Global Estimates of Modern Slavery: Forced Labour and Forced Marriage, ILO/Walk Free/IOM, September 2022. Risks 1059.
Hazards news, 15 September 2022

Pakistan: Garment workers need safe factories
Workers in Pakistan’s garment sector are still working in dangerous conditions, IndustriALL, the global textiles and garment unions’ federation, has warned.  It was speaking out ahead of the 11 September 10th anniversary of the fire at Ali Enterprises, in which more than 250 garment workers were killed and over 50 were injured.
IndustriALL news release. Risks 1059.
Hazards news, 15 September 2022

Britain: Suspended sentences for managers after site crush death
Two site managers have been handed suspended jail sentences and two construction firms have been fined over the death of 18-year-old Josh Disdel on a housing site. He was clearing a blocked sewer when he was crushed by a van.
HSE news release. BBC News Online. Risks 1059.
Hazards news, 15 September 2022

Britain: Suspended sentence for roofing contractor after fall death
A roofing contractor has been fined after an employee fell from a roof ladder and died at the scene. Richard Anthony Thornton pleaded guilty to breaches of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and the Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969 and was sentenced to six months in prison, suspended for two years, and ordered to pay costs of £3,600.
HSE news release. Risks 1059.
Hazards news, 15 September 2022

Britain: Stark TUC warning to Liz Truss on workers’ rights
The TUC has urged the new prime minister “not to touch our hard-won workers’ rights”. It has been reported that Liz Truss will review all rights which derive from EU law, including safety rules, holiday pay, safe limits on working time and equal pay – with a view to watering down or getting rid of those rights.
Unite news release. Usdaw news release. Prospect news release. Financial Times. Morning Star and related story. The Guardian. Risks 1059.
Hazards news, 15 September 2022

Global: Toxic war ship rejected by Turkey
The Turkish government has blocked the Brazilian aircraft carrier São Paulo from accessing the country, in response to complaints by unions and environmental organisations about illegal export of toxic waste on the vessel, which was en route to a shipbreaker in the country. Turkey's Environment Ministry said the 26 August veto came after the Brazilian government refused to carry out a new analysis to assess risks posed by asbestos and other dangerous substances on the ship.
Basel Action Network news release. MSN News.
Hazards news, 7 September 2022

Britain: Sturgeon urged to cancel Amazon contracts
Scottish leader Nicola Sturgeon has been urged to cancel contracts with multinational corporation Amazon because of its treatment of workers. Labour MSP Katy Clark wrote to the first minister over Amazon’s refusal to meet unions and negotiate an agreement with workers.
Morning Star.
Hazards news, 7 September 2022

Britain: Repeat offender escapes with small fine
A property development company has escaped with a small fine after failing to assess adequately the risks involved in a refurbishment project, despite having been subject to previous enforcement action. Daneets Developments Limited pleaded guilty to a criminal safety offence and was fined £8,000 at Blackpool Magistrates Court and ordered to pay costs of £2,744.
HSE news release.
Hazards news, 7 September 2022

Britain: New Tory deregulation drive would be dangerous
Ditching the UK’s green and social regulations in the bonfire of red tape that both Tory leadership candidates promised would risk irreparable damage to the natural environment, to people’s health and workers’ rights, a group of 40 organisations has warned. The letter, which predated the selection of Liz Truss as the new Tory leader, was coordinated by Unchecked and warned that health and safety in the workplace could also be threatened if current regulations are abandoned.
Unchecked letter to Tory leadership candidates. The Guardian.
Hazards news, 7 September 2022

Britain: Campaigners join forces to end exploitation in UK fishing
A groundbreaking collaboration between unions and a labour-based human rights group plans to identify and combat human rights violations on commercial fishing vessels in the UK. The partnership between the global union federation ITF and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ (CIW) Fair Food Program (FFP) — a US-based group concerned with the monitoring and enforcing of workplace protections in food industry supply chains — follows an explosive report released by the University of Nottingham earlier this year that exposed the ‘horrific’ racial, physical and sexual abuse migrant workers face while working in the UK fishing industry.
ITF news release. CIW Fair Food Programme.
Hazards news, 7 September 2022

Britain: TUC calls on Liz Truss to ‘come clean’
The TUC has called on Liz Truss to “come clean” over her plans for workers’ rights. The union body was commenting on 3 September press reports that Liz Truss, who was confirmed the new Tory leader and next prime minister on 5 September, is looking to begin a review of EU-derived worker protections, which include many safety laws.
Unite news release. Usdaw news release. The Times. The Guardian and related article. Morning Star.
Hazards news, 7 September 2022

Canada: Migrant workers treated like slaves
Jamaican migrant farm workers in Canada have sent an open letter to Jamaica's Ministry of Labour requesting more support in the face of what they call “systematic slavery”. The workers, members of Migrant Workers Alliance for Change (MWAC), wrote they are “treated like mules” and punished for not being quick enough and they are exposed to dangerous pesticides without adequate protection, and their bosses are verbally abusive.
CBC News.
Hazards news, 23 August 2022

Cuba: Sixteen firefighters killed in fuel depot blaze
Sixteen firefighters have died while battling a blaze in what has been described by officials as the worst fire in Cuba’s history. The fire broke out at the Matanzas fuel depot on 5 August after lightning struck a fuel tank at the depot on Cuba's northern coast.
BBC News Online.
Hazards news, 23 August 2022

Ghana: Children accuse big brands cocoa supplier
A group of 60 Ghanaian children has taken the first steps in legal action against cocoa producer Olam, which supplies big name brands including Cadbury (Mondelez), Nestle, Ferrero and Starbucks, claiming the company is negligent as a result of the unlawful, exploitative and dangerous conditions in which they work.  In their letter, the group aged 5- to 17-years-old, which is the first step in legal proceedings, the children claim that Olam has breached international and Ghanaian laws in relation to hazardous work.
Leigh Day Solicitors news release.
Hazards news, 23 August 2022

New Zealand: Firefighters take action to defend safety
The New Zealand firefighters’ union NZPFU has given notice of additional national one-hour strikes in a safety dispute with the national fire service FENZ. The union said the service is relying on exhausted crews who are working extraordinary levels of overtime to keep trucks on the run only to have those trucks fail at critical times.
NZPFU news release and related news release. RNZ News.
Hazards news, 23 August 2022

Britain: Shipping firm fined over port worker’s death
Shipping firm Portico Shipping has been fined £200,000 plus £15,000 costs after a port worker was crushed to death between containers. Mieczyslaw ‘Mitch’ Siwak, 34, died at Flathouse Quay, Portsmouth, on 25 August 2017, while working the night shift, when he was caught between two 40ft (12m) containers as one was being moved on a specialist forklift truck.
HSE news release. BBC News Online.
Hazards news, 23 August 2022

Britain: Waste management company fined after 7m fatal fall
A waste management company has been fined £190,000 and ordered to pay costs of £14,816 after a contractor died when he fell seven metres while carrying out maintenance work. Philip Glasson, 48, was part of a team under the control and direction of Wiltshire-based Hills Waste Solutions Limited.
HSE news release.
Hazards news, 23 August 2022

Britain: Fine after worker trapped by hydraulic ram
A manufacturer of articulated vehicle trailers has been fined £400,000 plus £3,472.40 costs after a worker became trapped under a hydraulic ram. The man, who was working at Fruehauf Ltd in Grantham, which is now in administration, suffered a fractured back in the incident on 14 January 2020.
HSE news release.
Hazards news, 23 August 2022

Firms like P&O must face serious consequences
The government must strengthen laws so firms like P&O face serious consequences when they illegally fire workers, the TUC has said. Commenting on the announcement by The Insolvency Service that it will not commence criminal proceedings with P&O Ferries, TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Our laws should protect working people from companies that brazenly flout the rules and treat staff like disposable labour.”
The Insolvency Service news release. TUC news release. RMT news release.
Hazards news, 23 August 2022

USA: Industries fight heat safeguards for workers
Extreme heat is making work more dangerous in the US but beyond the West Coast, legal measures to protect workers are being opposed by industry groups. While places like California and Washington have adopted workplace rules to address heat exposure,   many other states’ attempts to mandate these protections have been blocked or weakened following opposition from industry groups representing agriculture, construction and other business interests, according to public records and those involved in efforts to craft new rules.
Washington Post. Risks 1056.
Hazards news, 16 August 2022

USA: UPS drivers push for safety as temperatures soar
Drivers with the US Postal Service (UPS) are wilting under the pressure of making hundreds of stops a day in sweltering conditions, as the company makes record profits. Now the workers, represented by the Teamsters union, are pushing for air conditioning in vehicles and better protections on the job.
The Guardian. Risks 1056.
Hazards news, 16 August 2022

Britain: Bus giant must learn lessons after worker crushed
The bus company Stagecoach must learn the lessons of a serious workplace injury and ‘engage constructively’ with the union to make its workplaces safe for all, the union RMT has said. The union call came after Stagecoach Devon was fined £380,000 plus £18,000 costs after pleading guilty to the criminal safety failings that saw driver David Heathfield crushed between a reversing bus and a stationary vehicle at the company’s Torquay depot on 3 October 2019.
HSE news release. Morning Star. Devon Live. Risks 1056.
Hazards news, 16 August 2022

Britain: RMT warns of dangerous inaction on the railways
Network Rail is “dragging its feet dangerously” on key safety recommendations of the investigation into a rail crash which saw two workers and a passenger die, the RMT has said. Commenting on the 12 August second anniversary of the Carmont rail tragedy, the rail union said none of the 20 recommendations to improve safety made by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) in March have been implemented.
RMT news release. Risks 1056.
Hazards news, 16 August 2022

[deadly bus] Britain: Invest in Network Rail jobs to prevent tragedy
Rail union TSSA has called for outdated and potentially unsafe High Speed Trains (HST) to be taken out of service and an end to job cuts in Network Rail. The union called for the ‘museum piece’ HST fleet to be taken out of service “immediately and forever,” noting the Rail Accident Investigation Branch made it clear that HST failings contributed to the tragedy.
TSSA news release. Risks 1056.
Hazards news, 16 August 2022

Britain: Train drivers remember dead colleagues
Train drivers’ union ASLEF has said Britain must no longer neglect the infrastructure of the railway system, or we could see a repeat of the Carmont tragedy in which three people lost their lives after a landslip onto the railway line caused a train to derail.  ASLEF general secretary Mick Whelan said the tragedy highlighted the need to “ensure that the infrastructure of Britain’s railways is not neglected, so that accidents of this sort do not happen again.”
ASLEF news release. Risks 1056.
Hazards news, 16 August 2022

Britain: Employers told to prepare for a warmer future
Employers need to act now to make sure their workplaces are ready for warmer weather in the future, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has said. The safety regulator said it is asking employers to ensure extreme heat becomes part of their long-term planning, adding heat is classed as a hazard and comes with legal obligations like any other hazard.
HSE news release and temperature at work webpages.
TUC too hot, too cold digital guidebook. Risks 1056.
Hazards news, 16 August 2022

Britain: Flooring firm convicted after worker dies in fall
Taylor Grange (Retail) Limited, trading as flooring retail company Floors Today, has been fined £300,000 plus £6,713.33 costs after self-employed contractor Lukman Hakim died after falling 4m through an asbestos cement roof panel. An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the company failed to follow its own contractor selection procedures.
HSE news release. Risks 1056.
Hazards news, 16 August 2022

Britain: Fire service bosses guilty of ‘sabotage by inaction’
Firefighters’ union FBU has reacted angrily to a series of statements made by several chief fire officers which it says are ‘clearly’ an attempt to downplay the impact of under-resourcing on their response to wildfire incidents. FBU assistant general secretary Andy Dark said: “Wildfires have been on the government’s National Risk Register since 2013,” adding: “Fire bosses knew that this was a high risk facing the UK and chose to look the other way.”
FBU news release. Risks 1056.
Hazards news, 16 August 2022

South Africa: Mineworkers discuss safety strategies
South Africa’s National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) national health and safety committee met on 4 August in Johannesburg to discuss the impact of the union’s health and safety campaigns and training programmes in the mining, energy, construction, and metals’ industries. Masibulele Naki, the NUM national secretary for health and safety, said: “We continue with our campaigns and training on health and safety and so far, we have trained 500 workers, in addition to the regular training that we provide to the health and safety shop stewards.”
IndustriALL news release. Risks 1055.
Hazards news, 9 August 2022

Britain: Mining firm fined £3.6m after electricians burnt
A mining company has been fined after two electricians suffered severe burns in separate incidents – with the prosecution coming seven years after the first incident. Cleveland Potash Limited (CPL), the owners of Boulby Mine in Saltburn-by-the-Sea, were fined £3.6 million and ordered to pay costs of £185,000 after an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). own the mine, which extracts organic fertiliser known as Polyhalite.
HSE news release. Risks 1055.
Hazards news, 9 August 2022

Britain: Site boss fined for refusing entry to HSE inspectors
A man who was in control of a construction site in Scotland has been fined £1,500 for not allowing two HSE inspectors access to the site to deal with unsafe work activity. Baldev Singh Basra refused to unlock the gates and let the HSE inspectors in; only after officers from Police Scotland attended and gained entry to the site, were the HSE inspectors able to take enforcement action to stop the unsafe work.
HSE news release. Risks 1055.
Hazards news, 9 August 2022

India: Garment workers hospitalised after gas leak
A total of 121 workers at a Brandix India Apparel City garment manufacturing unit in the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) at Atchutapuram, were hospitalised this month after inhaling poisonous gas. On 2 August, the women workers at the Seeds Intimate Apparel India PvT Limited garment factory complained of difficulties in breathing, suffocation, nausea, coughing and headaches while some of them also fainted before they were hospitalised.
INdustriALL news release. Times of India. Risks 1055.
Hazards news, 9 August 2022

Britain: Safety concerns as P&O again found lacking
Nearly 20 deficiencies have been found onboard another P&O Ferries vessel, raising concerns from maritime unions about the safety of the travelling public. More than half the 17 deficiencies were identified on the Cyprus-flagged Spirit of France, relating to safety failures with fire doors and fire extinguishers and an invalid safety management certificate; labour conditions were also deficient on the vessel with crew contracts improperly filed and some seafarer’s medical fitness ‘not as required’.
Nautilus news release. Risks 1055.
Hazards news, 9 August 2022

Britain: Firefighter shortage warning as wildfires threaten
Firefighters’ union FBU has warned that the fire service continues to be understaffed and needs huge investment, as another heatwave looms and with it the risk of wildfires. Andy Dark, FBU assistant general secretary, said: “Just over a fortnight ago firefighters had to deal with many serious wildfires across much of the country,” adding: “Several firefighters were injured and many people lost their homes.”
FBU news release. Risks 1055.
Hazards news, 9 August 2022

Britain: ‘Frightening’ drop in site safety inspections exposed
There has been a shocking and frightening decline in vital unannounced construction inspections being undertaken by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), research by Unite has revealed. The union’s Freedom of Information (FOI) requests discovered that inspections have declined by 31 per cent in less than a decade and there has also revealed a huge decline in the number of HSE enforcement notices - issued to employers to ensure that safety improvements are made - following an inspection.
Unite news release. Risks 1055.
Hazards news, 9 August 2022

Australia: DP World on collision course with dockworkers
The safety credentials of one of the world’s largest stevedoring companies is being called in to question, with Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) safety officials expressing their ‘gravely held concerns’ about a push from management to implement a reckless benchmarking system. “DP World want to pit worker against worker in an attempt to foster a speed-culture on the waterfront that will inevitably place safety a distant second in some of the highest-risk working environments in Australia,” said the MUA’s assistant national secretary, Adrian Evans.
MUA news release. Risks 1054.
Hazards news, 3 August 2022

Europe: Digital technologies a new challenge to management
‘Digitalisation’ has been identified as an emerging occupational safety and health (OSH) concern by the just released 2019 European Survey of Enterprises on New and Emerging Risks (ESENER). “But despite the increasing use of robots, laptops, smartphones or wearable devices, less than one in four workplaces (24 per cent) are having discussions about the potential impact of such technologies on the safety and health of workers,” said EU-OSHA, the European workplace safety research agency behind the research.
EU-OSHA news release and the report, summary and Technical Annex. Risks 1054.
Hazards news, 3 August 2022

Britain: Dyson fined £1.2m after machine injures worker
Technology firm Dyson has been fined £1.2m after an employee sustained head and chest injuries when he was struck by a 1.5 tonne milling machine. The worker only escaped being crushed under the weight of the machine because it landed on two toolboxes and the handle of another machine.
HSE news release. Risks 1054.
Hazards news, 3 August 2022

Britain: Politics trumped science on Covid risk evidence
The UK government’s decision to relax the isolation guidelines while also withdrawing free lateral flow tests was driven by politics and ignored the evidence on infection risks, studies have shown. An article in Nature points to “a series of studies confirming that many people with Covid-19 remain infectious well into the second week after they first experience symptoms” – the current UK guidance recommends those with a positive test “try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for 5 days.”
David Adam. How long is COVID infectious? What scientists know so far, Nature, 26 July 2022.
Hermaleigh Townsley and others. Non-hospitalised, vaccinated adults with COVID-19 caused by Omicron BA.1 and BA.2 present with changing symptom profiles compared to those with Delta despite similar viral kinetics, medRxiv 2022.07.07.22277367. Risks 1054.
Hazards news, 3 August 2022

Britain: Firefighters respond to fire service inspection reports
Reports by the fire services regulator have exposed the ‘shocking’ impact of a decade of devastating cuts, the firefighters’ union FBU has said. Tam McFarlane, FBU national officer, said: “It’s particularly shocking that eight of the fifteen services inspected don’t have enough fire protection staff to carry out vital fire safety work and that services are over reliant on overtime to provide operational response, a direct impact of the cuts made to funding and firefighter jobs.”
FBU news release. Risks 1054.
Hazards news, 3 August 2022

Britain: TUC warning on fire and rescue service reforms
The TUC has warned that government plans for the reforming fire and rescue service do not address the desperate need for investment as it struggles with spiralling demand and a decade of cuts. In its response to a government white paper, the union body said it “would threaten the legal rights of firefighters to collectively bargain with their employers over pay, conditions, safety and other vital contractual matters.”
TUC news release and full TUC response. Risks 1054.
Hazards news, 3 August 2022

Britain: Offshore safety fears as Altera provides no answers
Unite has raised concerns for the safety of crew aboard the Foinaven Floating Production, Storage and Offloading vessel (FPSO) as continuous strike action is set to go ahead from 5 August. Vessel operator Altera has refused repeatedly to respond to safety concerns raised by Unite over the emergency services provision for the vessel if it comes into distress or if a fire breaks out, as the workers will remain on the Fionaven while taking strike action until it reaches Hunterston Port.
Unite news release. Risks 1054.
Hazards news, 3 August 2022

Britain: TUC slams Tory attack on the right to strike
Conservative plans to restrict the ‘fundamental’ right to strike would put working conditions and safety at risk, the TUC has warned. Commenting on transport secretary Grant Shapps’ proposals to restrict strike action, set out in the Telegraph on 26 July, TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Threatening the right to strike tilts the balance of power too far towards employers,” adding: “It means workers can't stand up for decent services and safety at work – or defend their jobs and pay.”
TUC news release. Unite news release. The Telegraph. Financial Times. Risks 1054.
Hazards news, 3 August 2022

Europe: Climate crisis requires temperature controls
Another summer of deadly heatwaves shows why Europe badly needs a law on maximum working temperatures to protect workers from the effects of climate change, the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) has said. ETUC deputy general secretary Claes-Mikael Ståhl said: “Politicians can’t continue to ignore the danger to our most vulnerable workers from the comfort of their airconditioned offices.”
ETUC news release. ETUC Resolution on the Need for EU Action to Protect Workers from High Temperatures. ETUI report on Heatwaves as an Occupational Hazard. ABC News.
Hazards news, 26 July 2022

Global: Work contributes to poorer health of migrants
A new report from the World Health Organisation (WHO) has found work hazards are a contributor to far poorer health outcomes for many vulnerable refugees and migrants. The report points out “a recent meta-analysis of more than 17 million participants from 16 countries across five WHO regions found that, compared with non-migrant workers, migrant workers were less likely to use health services and more likely to have an occupational injury.”
WHO news release and report, World report on the health of refugees and migrants, WHO, 20 July 2022. 26 Jul 2022
Hazards news, 26 July 2022

USA: Amazon warehouses under fed investigation
Federal prosecutors in New York and the government’s safety regulator OSHA are inspecting Amazon warehouses around the US as part of a civil investigation into unsafe workplace conditions. A statement from US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) Nicholas Biase said “the United States Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration entered Amazon warehouses outside New York City, Chicago and Orlando to conduct workplace safety inspections in response to referrals received from the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York concerning potential workplace hazards related, among other things, to Amazon's required pace of work for its warehouse employees.”
ABC News. Bloomberg Law.
Hazards news, 26 July 2022

USA: Union ‘Stop Work Authority’ will protect workers
The United Steelworkers (USW) union is telling its workplace union reps how to go about ‘Bargaining for Stop Work Authority to Prevent Injuries and Save Lives.’ The purpose is to negotiate programmes that allow reps to stop unsafe or unhealthy operations and processes until hazards are resolved.
USW news release and guide, Bargaining for Stop Work Authority to Prevent Injuries and Save Lives.
Hazards news, 26 July 2022

Britain: Rail regulator concerned at post-crash inaction
Concerns about Network Rail’s safety response to an the Stonehaven train crash in 2020 which claimed three lives have been raised by the industry regulator. The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) said Network Rail Scotland had failed to provide tangible supporting evidence to demonstrate steps taken so far to implement safety recommendations.
BBC News Online.
Hazards news, 26 July 2022

Britaim: B&M fined £1m after electrician's horrific injuries
Discount retailer B&M has been ordered to pay £1m after an electrician suffered horrific injuries in an explosion at the company's Speke headquarters and warehouse. &M Retail Limited admitted two criminal safety breaches, while electrical contractor Daker Limited pleaded guilty to one and was fined a “nominal” amount of £100 due to its “dire financial straits.”
HSE news release. Liverpool Echo.
Hazards news, 26 July 2022

Britain: Director escapes jail for asbestos management crimes
A company director has evaded jail after failing to manage the risks to employees from asbestos. Peter Gerard Parkes pleaded guilty to several criminal counts and was given a 12 month suspended prison sentence, fined £9,000 and plus £14,000 costs.
HSE news release.
Hazards news, 26 July 2022

Britain: Tory leadership hopeful Truss wants a ‘bonfire of rights’
Hundreds of laws covering employment and environmental protections could disappear overnight if Liz Truss becomes prime minister, after she promised to scrap all remaining EU regulations by the end of 2023. Despite warnings about the scale and complexity of the task, Truss launched her leadership runoff campaign by promising a “sunset” for all EU-derived laws within 15 months – and these include many important safety rules.  
RMT news release. The Guardian.
Hazards news, 26 July 2022

Britain: Union safety warning over Tube staff cuts
Transport for London (TfL) plans to cut 600 frontline Tube customer service staff and use more temporary staff will have long term impacts on passenger safety, TSSA has warned. TSSA general secretary, Manuel Cortes, said members on London Underground “describe this as an accident waiting to happen.”
TSSA news release.
Hazards news, 26 July 2022

Britain: ‘PPE profiteers’ undermined Covid safety
Unite has said ‘PPE profiteers’ and government ministers must be held to account following a damning report from the Commons’ Public Accounts Committee (PAC). PAC identified ‘significant failings’ in the management of 176 personal protective equipment (PPE) contracts worth £2.7 billion that led to a stockpile of almost 4 billion items that are not needed.
Unite news release. PAC news release and report.
Hazards news, 26 July 2022

Britain: Firefighters fight heatwave and ‘wrecked’ fire service
Firefighters have been on the frontline of the heatwave, but have ‘been stretched to the limit’ in a fire service ‘wrecked’ by government policy, their union FBU has said. Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “There is a growing anger at the way firefighters have been treated for more than a decade and at the way our service is being dismantled in front of our eyes.”
FBU news release.
Hazards news, 26 July 2022

Britain: Safety warning as dispute hits offshore vessel
Unite has warned safety could be jeopardised by any attempt to move the Foinaven Floating Production, Storage and Offloading vessel without safety critical crew during a planned strike over ‘second class’ redundancy terms. Vic Fraser, Unite industrial officer, said: “The thought of having safety critical work done while in tow with no qualified competent crew working is a real concern.”
Unite news release.
Hazards news, 26 July 2022

Pakistan: Mine safety still a deadly concern
Continuing high numbers of mineworker deaths in Pakistan due to lax safety procedures and inadequate emergency response must be addressed, the global union IndustriALL has said. IndustriALL affiliates in the country report that as of 7 July there had been around 60 accidents in the country’s mines this year, killing more than 90 workers and severely injuring around 40.
IndustriALL news release. Risks 1052.
Hazards news, 19 July 2022

USA: Amazon’s warehouse ‘disciplines’ out of control
Internal Amazon documents reveal how routinely the company measured workers’ performance in minute detail and admonished those who fell even slightly short of expectations – sometimes before their shift ended.  In the year ending April 2020, the company issued more than 13,000 ‘disciplines’ at its Staten Island warehouse, a lawyer for Amazon admitted in court papers, adding management for a warehouse in Robbinsville, NJ, with an average of about 4,200 workers as of December 2020, gave employees more than 15,000 disciplines in the year leading to April 2020, and a North Haven, Conn., warehouse, with an average 4,800 workers as of December 2020, issued more than 5,000 such notices in the year ending in April 2020.
New York Post. Risks 1052.
Hazards news, 19 July 2022

Britain: Agriculture-related jobs 21x more deadly
The number of people killed in agriculture-related activities in the last 12 months has fallen from its high level in 2021, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has said, but the rate of fatal injuries in the sector remains the highest of all major industries. The worker fatal injury rate for the sector is 21 times higher than the average five-year annual rate across all industries.
HSE news release and report, Fatal injuries in agriculture, forestry and fishing in Great Britain: 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022, July 2022. Risks 1052.
Hazards news, 19 July 2022

Britain: Boss jailed after recycling worker’s horrific death
Recycle Cymru Ltd boss Stephen Jones has been jailed for the manslaughter of Norman Butler, 60, who fell into a baler and bled to death.  Jones, 60, was convicted of manslaughter by gross negligence was jailed him for nine years and disqualified him from being a company director after his sentence for the same period.
Daily Post. BBC News Online. Risks 1052.
Hazards news, 19 July 2022

Britain: MoD censured over marine’s death
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has been issued with a Crown Censure by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after Royal Marine recruit Ethan Jones died during a routine training exercise. HSE found the MoD failed to undertake a suitable and sufficient risk assessment, failed to properly plan, failed to properly supervise, and therefore failed to ensure the safety of their employees.
HSE news release. Risks 1052.
Hazards news, 19 July 2022

Britain: Firefighters seriously injured in training exercise
A fire service has been prosecuted after two of its firefighters received serious head injuries – with one paralysed from the chest down – during a rope rescue training exercise at a disused quarry near Buxton on 29 September 2019. Staffordshire Commissioner Fire and Rescue Authority pleaded guilty to a criminal safety offence and was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay costs of £6,808.40.
HSE news release. Risks 1052.
Hazards news, 19 July 2022

Britain: Employers must provide protection from extreme heat
With the Met Office issuing its first ‘Red Extreme’ heat warning for parts of the UK this week, the TUC has calling on bosses to make sure that any staff working outdoors are protected from the sun and the heat. The union body says workers are entitled to remain away from the workplace if – in their opinion – the prevailing circumstances represent a real risk of serious and imminent danger which they could not be expected to avert.
TUC news release and TUC learning tool, Too hot, too cold - Too hot, too cold.
Sign the TUC petition for a maximum working temperature. Risks 1052.
Hazards news, 19 July 2022

Britain: Unions demand extra protection from the heat
Unions have reiterated TUC calls the protection of workers from excessive heat. Lynsey Mann, the GMB's health and safety officer, said: “Bosses need to do everything possible to keep workplaces cool and, more importantly, safe,”  and Unite national health and safety adviser Rob Miguel said: “Unite is pressing for a maximum temperature for safe working of 27 degrees Celsius for strenuous jobs and 30 degrees Celsius for sedentary jobs, and a trigger of 24 degrees Celsius where action should be taken to reduce temperatures indoors and strict protection measures put in place for outdoor workers.”
GMB news release. Unite news release. BBC News Online. Usdaw news release and Keep your cool leaflet. Risks 1052.
Hazards news, 19 July 2022

Britain: PCS calls on British Museum to put safety first
Civil service union PCS is calling on the British Museum to put staff and public safety first when the temperature soars. The union was speaking out after the museum refused to consider closing during the period covered by the 'Red extreme' heat national severe weather warning, despite high indoor temperatures and poor indoor air quality.
PCS news release. Risks 1052.
Hazards news, 19 July 2022

Britain: Firefighters slam ‘scandalous’ attack on fire service
The firefighters’ union FBU has responded formally to the government’s fire and rescue white paper, describing it as a ‘scandalous’ coordinated attack on pay, conditions and safety.  In its consultation response, the union said the government proposals are an attack on firefighters’ right to have a say on their pay and conditions, including many conditions relating to safety.
FBU news release and consultation response. Risks 1052.
Hazards news, 19 July 2022

Britain: Rail firms criticised after fatigue near miss
A rail maintenance firm and Network Rail have been told to improve management systems after driver fatigue was linked to two trains almost colliding in Leicestershire, with officials noting just 10 seconds separated the engines from disaster. The findings made by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) follow investigations into the near miss at Sileby Junction, near Loughborough, when a rail grinding train and an empty passenger train almost collided on 5 May 2021.
RAIB news release. Leicester Mercury.
Hazards news, 13 July 2022

Britain: Suspended sentence for dangerous contractor
A Blackburn based building contractor has been handed a suspended jail term after unsafe work methods resulted in a danger to workers and the public and asbestos being disturbed. Mohammed Shafiq, owner of a roller shutter business, pleaded guilty to criminal breaches of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 and the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and received a 12-month suspended sentence and was fined £5,000 plus £4,636.08 costs.
HSE news release. LancsLive.
Hazards news, 13 July 2022

Britain: Site workers make up a quarter of all deaths
Thirty construction workers were killed on sites last year, according to the latest official figures from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Construction makes up nearly a quarter of the 123 workers killed in work-related accidents across all industries in the UK in the 12 months to March 2022.
Construction Enquirer.
Hazards news, 13 July 2022

Britain: Over 200 die in work-related incidents
A hundred and twenty-three workers and 80 members of the public were killed in work-related accidents in Great Britain in the last year, according to new figures published by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). The figures cover the period from April 2021 to March 2022, and relate to work-related accidents alone and do not include deaths arising from occupational diseases or diseases arising from certain occupational exposures (including Covid-19), both of which dwarf the fatality toll.
HSE news release and report, Fatal injuries in Great Britain, 6 July 2022.
Hazards news, 13 July 2022

Britain: Strike breaking bill ‘impractical’ and unsafe
A new law that will allow the use of agency workers to replace strikers and which was pushed through by the Conservatives in response to rail strikes has been slammed by rail union RMT. The union’s general secretary Mick Lynch said: “The use of agency labour to break strikes is not only unethical and morally reprehensible; it is totally impracticable.”
RMT news release.
Hazards news, 13 July 2022

Britain: Agency workers can’t drive trains
Train drivers’ union ASLEF has slammed the government’s ‘petty’ decision to introduce a ‘scab’s charter’ in Britain. Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF, said the law “will put public safety at risk, and encourage not best practice, but worst practice, in British business.”
ASLEF news release.
Hazards news, 13 July 2022

Britain: Union reports fire brigades to HSE
The firefighters’ union FBU has reported two fire and rescue services to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), and identified several others, over concerns firefighters are to be sent to fires with their breathing equipment turned off. A letter from the union calls for the HSE to “investigate our complaint and use its statutory powers to bring an end” to this policy.”
FBU news release and letter.
Hazards news, 13 July 2022

Britain: One in 10 told to work despite infection signs
Nearly one in 10 workers with Covid symptoms are being pressured by managers to come into work, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) has said. Polling by the TUC reveals that 9 per cent of employees displaying symptoms have been forced into workplaces, and, in the past 12 months, 10 per cent have been asked to work alongside colleagues who had tested positive.
The Observer. The Mirror.
Hazards news, 13 July 2022

Global: New ILO guide on biological hazards at work
Groundbreaking new guidelines on handling biological hazards in the workplace have been agreed at an International Labour Organisation (ILO) meeting in Geneva. The meeting of experts from governments and employers’ and workers’ organisations agreed the guidelines on preventing and controlling work-related injuries, diseases and deaths related to exposure to biological hazards in the working environment.
ILO news release.
Hazards news, 5 July 2022

[infections/deadly bus] Global: IOSH welcomes biohazard guidelines
New international technical guidelines on biological hazards at work have been welcomed by the safety professionals’ organisation IOSH. Dr Ivan Williams Jimenez, the IOSH policy development manager, said: “Harmonisation and improvement in existing classification systems of occupational infectious diseases is needed, together with stronger evidence base on the impact of hazardous agents on occupations, industries and infectious diseases.”
IOSH news release.
Hazards news, 5 July 2022

[deadly bus/chemicals] Jordan: Officials sacked after port chlorine gas deaths
Top port and safety officials had been sacked after a deadly toxic gas leak. A tank of chlorine gas fell as it was being loaded by crane onto a ship in Jordan’s Red Sea port of Aqaba on 27 June, releasing the toxic substance, killing at least 13 people, including five Vietnamese nationals, and injuring at least 260 others.
Khaleej Times. BBC News Online.
Hazards news, 5 July 2022

[deadly bus] Global: Tragedy shows why safety is ‘fundamental’
The tragic deaths of at least 13 people in a chlorine gas leak in a Jordan port highlights the need for safety to be top global priority, the international transport unions’ federation ITF has said. Commenting on the 27 June incident in the Red Sea port of Aqaba, ITF president Paddy Crumlin said: “It throws into sharp relief the safety regime at this port and raises tough questions about how dangerous loads are typically handled in the region.”
ITF news release.
Hazards news, 5 July 2022

[deadly bus] Qatar: Worker deaths under-reported in killer heat
A BBC Arabic investigation has uncovered allegations that Qatar is under-reporting the number of migrant workers who have died of heat stroke. Migrant workers who have complained about labour laws being broken have been jailed, the investigation found.
BBC News Online.
Hazards news, 5 July 2022

Britain: Recycling boss guilty of worker’s manslaughter
The boss of a Wales recycling company has been found guilty of gross negligence manslaughter after one of his employees, Norman Butler, 60, died when he was trapped in machinery. Company director Stephen Jones, 60, who was found to have failed in his duty of care to protect the employee, was released on bail and will be sentenced on 15 July.
BBC News Online. Daily Post. Wales Online.
Hazards news, 5 July 2022

Britain: RMT leader pledges ‘fight of our lifetime’
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said the national rail dispute was “the fight of our lifetime” for safety and decent jobs. Addressing the union’s annual general meeting in Birmingham, the RMT leader accused Network Rail and the train operating companies of “trying to cut thousands of jobs and they have no scruples in cutting back on safety regimes in order to do so.”
RMT news release.
Hazards news, 5 July 2022

Britain: Boss jailed for 13 years after pig feed drowning tragedy
An owner of food waste recycling company Greenfeeds Ltd, convicted of corporate manslaughter after two employees would drowned in pig feed, has been jailed. Sixty-year-old Gillian Leivers, who was responsible for the day-to-day running of the site, was handed a 13-year prison sentence after being found guilty of gross negligence manslaughter at an earlier trial; her husband, Ian Leivers, 59, who owned and ran the company with his wife, was jailed for 20 months after being found guilty of criminal breaches of safety law.
Leicester Police news release and related releases on Nathan Walker and Gavin Rawson. Melton Times. The Lincolnite. The Guardian. BBC News Online.
Hazards news, 29 June 2022

Britain: Deadly history shouldn’t be allowed to repeat itself
The parents of a man who was one of two killed in horrific incident at Greenfeed Ltd have asked why regulators had not been allows to continue operating after an early death in similar circumstances.  Gavin Rawson's mother Linda demanded to know why the company was allowed to continue, following an incident in 2005 that saw Greenfeeds convicted in 2006 for criminal breaches after the death of an employee involved in tanker cleaning.
BBC News Online.
Hazards news, 29 June 2022

Britain: ‘Due diligence’ failure led to horror fall
A Blackburn warehouse firm has been fined for failing to undertake ‘due diligence’ checks on a roofing firm.  Floors ‘n’ Carpets Limited was prosecuted after an inadequately trained employee of roofing contractor Nizamuddin Gorji fell approximately 30 feet through a glass skylight on a warehouse roof, resulting in life changing injuries, and was fined £96,000 plus £36,919.75 costs.
HSE news release.
Hazards news, 29 June 2022

Britain: Carlsberg fined £3m following ammonia tragedy
Carlsberg has been fined £3 million following a November 2016 ammonia gas leak from a refrigeration system at one of its breweries that killed father-of-two David Chandler, 45, and seriously injured David Beak, now 57. Both were employees of sub-contractor Speedrite NE Ltd.
HSE news release. Northampton Chronicle.
Hazards news, 29 June 2022

Britain: Strike breaking plan will ‘endanger public safety’
The government’s decision on 23 June 2022 to lift the ban on the use of agency workers during strikes will endanger public safety, the TUC has warned. TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Bringing in less qualified agency staff to deliver important services will endanger public safety, worsen disputes and poison industrial relations.”
TUC news release and TUC/REC joint statement. Unite news release.
Hazards news, 29 June 2022

Britain: Agency worker plans ‘desperate and dangerous.’
Plans to change the law so that agency workers can be used to cover strikes have been condemned as ‘desperate and dangerous’ by the rail union TSSA. The rail union’s general secretary Manuel Cortes said: “Bringing in strike breaking workers who do not possess the knowledge or skills to run a safe railway is deeply troubling.”
TSSA news release and investigation demand news release. 29 June 2022

Britain: Workers’ rights warning over post-Brexit trade deals
Ministers have been accused by the TUC of pushing for post-Brexit trade deals with more than a dozen countries that do not guarantee workers’ rights or systematically violate employee protections. The union body said ministers were in active talks with 13 nations with a worrying track record on employment rights, including Brazil, Burundi, Saudi Arabia and Qatar in order to secure trade deals after leaving the EU; and out of the 67 non-EU countries the government has negotiated trade deals with, as many as five are listed in the 10 “worst countries in the world for workers” according to an index published by the global union confederation ITUC.
The Guardian. 29 June 2022

Global: Major breakthrough on workplace safety
Working people around the world are set to benefit directly from the 10 June decision at the International Labour Conference (ILC) to recognise occupational health and safety as the fifth ILO fundamental right at work. It means all the International Labour Organisation’s 187 member states have now to respect and promote core safety rights, including involvement of workers and workers’ organisations, a right to refuse dangerous work, and for workers to receive necessary information and training.
ITUC news release. ILO news release. ETUC news release. ACTU news release. IndustriALL news release.
Hazards news, 14 June 2022

Global: International unions welcome fundamental safety
The decision to recognise occupational health and safety as an ILO fundamental right at work has been welcomed by global unions. IndustriALL said it was “a milestone in the global efforts to stem the tide of deaths in the world of work”, IFJ  said “we hope that this decision will be an important step towards ending the growing attacks on journalists while doing their job” and BWI said: “This is a historic and colossal victory for the global trade union movement which was made possible by the collective work of many campaigners and stakeholders.”
BWI news release and Facebook video. IndustriALL news release. IFJ news release.
Hazards news, 14 June 2022

Europe: EU ‘playing catch-up’ on work safety
A landmark decision to make occupational health and safety an International Labour Organisation (ILO) fundamental right at work has left the European Union ‘playing catch-up’, the Europe-wide union confederation ETUC has said. It said 12 European governments - including the UK - have yet to ratify ILO Convention 155, the main legal occupational health and safety instrument named in the ILO fundamental rights decision.
ETUC news release.
Hazards news, 14 June 2022

Britain: Strike-busting plan ‘reckless’ and unsafe, says TUC
A government indication it could lift the ban on the use of agency workers during strikes has been described as ‘extremely reckless’ by the TUC. The union body was responding after transport secretary Grant Shapps, commenting on planned rail strikes, told the Sunday Telegraph a potential change in legislation could allow companies to hire temporary workers to cover some roles and prevent disruption.
TUC news release. Sunday Telegraph. Morning Star. BBC News Online.
Hazards news, 14 June 2022

Britain: Unions rubbish government’s strikebreaker plan
The UK government’s suggestion it could allow agency staff to replace striking rail workers is unsafe and bad business, unions have said. Mick Lynch, general secretary of the rail union RMT, said: “Grant Shapps needs to stop smearing the RMT and unshackle the rail operating companies so they can come to a negotiated settlement that can end this dispute.”
RMT news release. TSSA news release. Unite news release. UNISON news release.
Hazards news, 14 June 2022

Britain: Industry groups say strikebreaking resolves nothing
Industry groups have said dialogue with unions is the way to resolve the rail dispute, not the use of agency workers as strikebreakers. Neil Carberry, the chief executive of REC - the agency worker industry body - tweeted: “Repealing the ban on agency workers replacing those on strike is the wrong policy - it puts agency workers and agencies in an invidious position and moves the focus away from resolving the dispute.”
Neil Carberry tweet. CBI news release.
Hazards news, 14 June 2022

Britain: Prospect warns HSE is ‘at breaking point’
Many government agencies are facing long-term problems due to under-resourcing and capacity issues – and ‘nowhere has this been more apparent than in the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)’, Prospect has said. Launching a campaign for a better resourced HSE, the union, which represents HSE inspectors and specialists, warns cuts have left the regulator ‘at breaking point’ and ‘unable to adequately fulfil its regulatory function’.
Prospect news release. ETUC news release.
Hazards news, 14 June 2022

Britain: Report echoes FBU concerns over private BRE
Firefighters’ union FBU has welcomed ‘massively significant’ evidence revealed in a new report to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry which echoes concerns raised previously by the union. The report, written by Luke Bisby, a professor of fire and structures at Edinburgh University and an expert witness to the inquiry, exposes flaws with the Building Research Establishment (BRE), the government’s former safety research and testing body that was privatised in 1997.
FBU news release and call for BRE to be renationalised.
Hazards news, 14 June 2022

Britain: Damning report on Leicester garment factories
More than half of the Leicester garment workers are still experiencing poor working conditions almost two years on from revelations about poor standards in the city’s factories, a new report suggests. The study was commissioned by the Garment and Textile Workers Trust, funded by online fashion retailer Boohoo as part of its response to exposure of poor practices in its Leicester supply chain
University of Nottingham Rights Lab news release and findings and recommendations. The Guardian.
Hazards news, 14 June 2022

Britain: Construction bosses jailed after roofer’s death   
Two construction company bosses have been jailed for criminal safety offences after subcontracted roofer Graham Tester, 60, fell to his death at an unsafe building site in Hove. Steven Wenham, 48, was sentenced to five years in prison and disqualified from being a company director for ten years and oofing subcontractor John Spiller, 52, was jailed for 15 months after being found not guilty of manslaughter, but guilty of two safety offences.
Sussex Police news release. Construction Enquirer. Brighton and Hove News.
Hazards news, 14 June 2022

Britain: Directors convicted of asbestos crimes
Two asbestos company directors have received suspended jail terms and been banned for 10 years from running a company after being convicted of criminal safety breaches. James Keegan, 65, and Alan Barraclough, 51, both directors of Keebar Construction Ltd, were both handed 14-month prison sentences suspended for two years and banned them from being company directors for 10 years, ordered to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work and to pay £44,774.21 in costs.
HSE news release. Chronicle Live.
Hazards news, 14 June 2022

Bangladesh: Over 40 killed, hundreds injured in depot blast
A fire and a huge explosion have killed at least 41 people and injured hundreds more at a storage depot near the city of Chittagong, Bangladesh. As firefighters, police and volunteers tried to extinguish the blaze a huge explosion rocked the site, engulfing many of the rescuers in flames and throwing debris and people into the air.
ILO statement. BBC News Online and update.
Hazards news, 8 June 2022

India: Hundreds ill in garment factory gas leak
Around 400 women workers at a giant garment factory in a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in India fell ill on 3 June after inhaling an unidentified hazardous gas. Some workers at the Brandix India Apparel factory in Atchutapuram fainted, others complained of headaches, stomach pain, vomiting, nausea, and burning eyes.
IndustriALL news release.
Hazards news, 8 June 2022

Britain: Suspended jail terms after deadly fall
Construction bosses Ian Blacklin and Dennis Spence have received suspended jail sentences after a worker suffered mortal injuries when he fell over five metres through fragile roof panels. Newcastle Crown Court heard that on 16 November 2015, 25-year-old Anthony Spence fell as he was carrying out over-cladding work, involving the installation of new roofing material over the existing fragile asbestos cement roof.
HSE news release.
Hazards news, 8 June 2022

Britain: Hermes fined £850k after depot worker dies
Delivery company Hermes Parcelnet Ltd has been fined £850,000 after pleading guilty to criminal health and safety offences that saw a worker crushed to death at a panel depot. David Kennedy, 43, was working at the firm’s parcel sorting office at Eurocentral near Motherwell on 19 March 2019, when the incident took place at 10.15pm.
Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service news release. Daily Record.
Hazards news, 8 June 2022

Global: Tea firm loses legal bid to block injury cases
An Aberdeen tea firm has lost its appeal against a decision to allow hundreds of Kenyan plantation workers who say they have been injured picking tea to sue for compensation. James Finlay (Kenya) Limited’s bid to have the legal challenge thrown out was rejected by Scotland’s most senior judges at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.
Press and Journal.
Hazards news, 8 June 2022

Britain: Firefighters hit out at single fire extinguisher plan
Cheshire firefighters have spoken out against a move to send them to incidents with no firefighting equipment except a single fire extinguisher. The FBU says the plan requires attendance by just two to three firefighters, with no breathing apparatus and in a pick-up truck rather than a fire engine.
FBU news release.
Hazards news, 8 June 2022

Britain: No-one wants Tory ‘bonfire of red tape’
Unions have demanded that hard-won workers’ rights are protected after media reports suggested that Jacob Rees-Mogg is drawing up a list comprising over 1,000 EU-derived regulations to be ripped up, including workplace safety, employment and environmental protections. Mike Clancy, general secretary of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspectors’ union Prospect, said: “No-one is clamouring for a bonfire of red tape, not business nor unions.”
TUC news release. Prospect news release. The Express.
Hazards news, 8 June 2022

Britain: ‘Criminal injustice’ as working people died
Conservative ministers committed a ‘criminal injustice against working people’ by letting so many die unnecessarily during the Covid-19 pandemic, BFAWU’s national president has said. Speaking at the union’s conference, Ian Hodson said unions were the safe choice and called on workers to “organise in our workplaces and make demands to improve our lives.”
Morning Star and related story.
Hazards news, 8 June 2022

Britain: Fish firm fined over worker’s forklift death
Shetland fish company QA Fish Ltd has been fined £80,000 over the death of a 61-year-old employee who was run over by a forklift. Karen Allan died three weeks after the incident at Blacksness Pier on 31 January 2018.
Press and Journal. BBC News Online.
Hazards news, 26 May 2022

Global: Twin climate and child labour perils in agriculture
There is a need for urgent action to address the twin perils in agriculture of climate change and child labour, an expert has warned. Writing in The Lancet Planetary Health, Hidayat Greenfield, the regional secretary of the global food and farming union federation IUF, concluded: “It is well understood that both child labour and climate change are complex, multi-layered issues… it is equally well understood that complexity should not justify inaction.”
Muhammad Hidayat Greenfield. An urgent need to reassess climate change and child labour in agriculture, The Lancet Planetary Health, first published online 18 May 2022. ITUC news release.
Hazards news, 26 May 2022

Global: UN bodies rebut asbestos safety claims
The UN bodies responsible for global labour and health rights have rebutted statements by the asbestos industry lobby that they “support” the continued use of chrysotile, the last remaining commercially traded asbestos fibre.  The damning responses from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) came after the International Chrysotile Association (ICA) claimed both WHO and ILO policies are pro-asbestos.
WHO position on chrysotile asbestos. ICA website and ICA Summary for Decision-Makers.
Hazards news, 26 May 2022

Global: Fifa urged to pay reparations to Qatar migrants
World football’s top body Fifa should pay reparations of at least $440m (£356m) to migrant workers whose human rights have been compromised by the Qatar World Cup, a group of non-governmental organisations has said. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Football Supporters Europe and the global union Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI) are among those calling for a remediation scheme that would address the documented failings of human rights protections, including “a significant number of deaths”, which have scarred the history of Qatar’s World Cup.
Open letter to Fifa and report, Predictable and Preventable, Amnesty International, May 2022. HRW news release and video. The Guardian.
Hazards news, 26 May 2022

Global: Big wins for seafarers at top level negotiations
Seafarers have won important concessions on connectivity, food and personal protective equipment during negotiations on amendments to the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC). Among the changes is an agreement that personal protective equipment will be made available in sizes that suit all the seafarers onboard a vessel, including women, and improved access to free drinking water, quality provisions and balanced diets.
Nautilus news release.
Hazards news, 26 May 2022

Britain: HSE refused to investigate NHS Covid deaths
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) refused to look into at least 89 dangerous incidents that NHS trusts said involved healthcare workers being exposed to Covid, including 10 deaths, it has been revealed. TUC safety specialist Shelly Asquith said HSE’s behaviour was “really concerning.”
Pharmaceutical Journal. The Guardian.
Hazards news, 26 May 2022

USA: Meat giants deliberately put workers at risk
At the height of the pandemic, as coronavirus infected tens of thousands of US meat industry workers and caused hundreds to die, executives at the nation's largest meat producers were aware of the transmission risk in their plants and successfully lobbied the Trump White House and regulators to circumvent coronavirus prevention measures and regulations, according to a congressional investigation. “The Select Subcommittee's investigation has revealed that former President Trump's political appointees at USDA [department of agriculture] collaborated with large meatpacking companies to lead an Administration-wide effort to force workers to remain on the job during the coronavirus crisis despite dangerous conditions, and even to prevent the imposition of commonsense mitigation measures,” committee chair, US Rep. James Clyburn, said in a 12 May statement.
US Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, news release and report, 12 May 2022. UFCW statement. CNN News. Washington Post. ProPublica.
Hazards news, 18 May 2022

Britain: Network Rail fined £1.4m for serious injuries
Network Rail has been fined £1.4 million for criminal health and safety offences after an investigation by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR). The regulator found failings that led to a worker being crushed between the conveyor of a 25 tonne ‘Superboss’ ballast distributor and Kubota people carrier and suffering catastrophic and life-changing injuries.
ORR news release.
Hazards news, 18 May 2022

India: Dozens killed in office fire
At least 27 people have died and dozens more injured in a huge fire in a commercial building in India’s capital, Delhi. The fire broke out at the four-storey building near a railway station in the western suburb of Mundka in the late afternoon on 13 May; the following day, police confirmed they had arrested two owners of the company on charges of culpable homicide not amounting to murder and a criminal conspiracy.
The Hindu. BBC News Online. The Guardian.
Hazards news, 18 May 2022

Global: Justice call for killed Palestinian reporter
The global trade union movement has called for justice after Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was killed on the West Bank.  The respected journalist, who had worked for Al Jazeera Network for over two decades, was reportedly shot dead by Israeli soldiers while covering their raid on the occupied West Bank city of Jenin on 11 May, with the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS) saying the crime was “deliberate and planned to assassinate her.”
ITUC news release. IFJ statement. ITF news release. PSI news release. NUJ news release. Al Jazeera. The Guardian. The Times of Israel.
Hazards news, 18 May 2022

Britain: Employment Bill delay an ‘imminent threat’
The global chartered body for health and safety professionals has warned delays to a promised Employment Bill in the UK poses an “imminent threat to the labour market”. Ruth Wilkinson, head of health and safety at the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), said: “This long-awaited development is crucial both for driving up employment practices and for reducing the precariousness of workers in zero-hours contracts, agency workers and those in temporary or low-paid self-employment.”
IOSH news release.
Hazards news, 18 May 2022

Britain: England’s crumbling schools are a ‘risk to life’
Many school buildings in England are now in such disrepair they are a “risk to life”, according to internal government documents leaked to the Observer. Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the teaching union NEU, commenting on the revelations, said “whether the issue to be addressed is potentially dangerous roofing, retrofitting for energy efficiency and to help meet climate obligations, or basic repairs, the challenge is made all the greater by the presence of asbestos in so many school buildings.”
The Observer.
Hazards news, 18 May 2022

Britain: FBU calls for building safety body to be renationalised
Firefighters’ union FBU has said it will fight for the Building Research Establishment (BRE) to be renationalised. Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “Corners have been cut and building safety compromised as the BRE bowed down to the building material companies which pay its wages.”
FBU news release.
Hazards news, 18 May 2022

Britain: Missing employment bill good news for bad bosses
The TUC has accused the government of “turning its back” on working people after ministers failed to include an employment bill in the Queen’s Speech.  The union body said that the government’s broken promise to boost workers’ rights will see “bad bosses celebrating”.
TUC news release. Usdaw news release. BBC News Online. Risks 1044.
Hazards news, 10 May 2022

Britain: Government’s serial failures to enhance workers’ rights
UK government ministers have promised on 20 occasions to deliver an employment bill to enhance workers’ rights but are still failing to act, the TUC has revealed. The government first announced it would bring forward the employment bill in December 2019 to “protect and enhance workers’ rights as the UK leaves the EU, making Britain the best place in the world to work” - but failed again to include an employment bill in the Queen’s Speech. 
TUC news release including the government’s 20 unkept promises. Risks 1044.
Hazards news, 10 May 2022

Britain: P&O illegal sackings boss gets rewarded
P&O CEO Peter Hebblethwaite, who was castigated by MPs and the media over his response to the company’s illegal sackings scandal, has been promoted. Ferries union RMT said the ‘disgraced’ boss has been handed another directorship within the beleaguered company, despite overseeing 800 unlawful sackings and ‘countless breaches of safety’ on the P&O fleet – the union said ‘gangster capitalists’ should not be rewarded.
RMT news release. Risks 1044.
Hazards news, 10 May 2022

Britain: Second director jailed at asbestos firm
A second boss of an asbestos removal company is now facing jail time for failing to protect workers from asbestos exposure during a major refurbishment project in Plymouth. Ensure Asbestos Management Limited contracts manager Phillip Hopwood pleaded guilty to three criminal safety offences and was sentenced to 15 months in prison and disqualified from being a director for 10 years, after company director Billy Hopwood was earlier sentenced to 10 months imprisonment and disqualified from being a company director for five years.
HSE news release. Your Harlow. Construction Enquirer. Risks 1044.
Hazards news, 10 May 2022

Britain: Goat farming company fined after fatality
A goat farm has been fined £180,000 and ordered to pay £20,000 in costs for criminal safety breaches after a farm worker was run over and fatally wounded. Hull Crown Court heard that on 1 August 2018, 53-year-old Janet McDonald, an employee of Yorkshire Dairy Goats, was struck by a reversing telescopic materials handler vehicle, or telehandler, whilst working at St Helen’s Farm in York.
HSE news release. Risks 1044.
Hazards news, 10 May 2022

Britain: Council fined over vibration disease cases
Lancashire County Council has been fined £50,000 plus £10,366,78 costs after several employees carrying out work in the highways department developed a debilitating vibration-related occupational disease. Health surveillance records had not been acted upon promptly to reduce or stop exposures when symptoms were reported, and most of the cases were reported late.
HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 1044.
Hazards news, 10 May 2022

Mexico: Another journalist killed as violence soars
The murder of another Mexican journalist has brought this year’s toll to nine media workers, in a unprecedentedly bloody year for the country. Luis Enrique Ramírez, a veteran journalist and columnist at El Debate, was found dead in a black bag on the side of a highway, his employer said.
IFJ news release (in Spanish). The Guardian. Risks 1044.
Hazards news, 10 May 2022

South Africa: Union anger after latest mine deaths
South Africa’s mining industry is putting profit before people as miners continue to die, the union NUM has said. It was commented after a 7 May tragedy at the Harmony Gold Mine, where four mineworkers lost their lives at the company's Kusasalethu operation near Carletonville.
NUM news release. Reuters. Risks 1044.
Hazards news, 10 May 2022

Britain: Engineering firm fined £500k after crushing death
A manufacturer of hazardous waste containers and drums for the nuclear, aerospace and medical industries has been convicted of a criminal safety offence and fined £500,000 after a worker was crushed to death by a hydraulic press.  Preston Crown Court heard that on 21 May 2018, Graham Engineering Ltd employee Colin Willoughby, 52, died when a part of 1,000 tonne capacity press he was working under came free and fell on him.
HSE news release. BBC News Online. Risks 1043.
Hazards news, 4 May 2022

Britain: Bosses urged to ‘Get Me Home Safely’
Unite is calling on councils and employers to back the union’s Get Me Home Safely campaign. It said it wants the hundreds of councils and authorities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to follow East Dunbartonshire council’s lead in finding innovative ways to support the late night workforce.
Unite news release, campaign and Get Me Home Safely campaign video. Risks 1043.
Hazards news, 4 May 2022

Britain: Firefighters’ Memorial Day marked by FBU
Firefighters’ Memorial Day on 4 May has been marked around the country. The event honours firefighters who have lost their lives in the line of duty. Firefighters’ union FBU said over 2,300 such deaths are recorded by the Firefighters’ Memorial Trust.
FBU news release and Firefighters’ Memorial Day webpage. Risks 1043.
Hazards news, 4 May 2022

Global: Safety at work must be ‘fundamental’
As the number of workplace cases of Covid-19 shows, failures in health and safety at work can have catastrophic effects, the global union confederation ITUC has said.  The union body said that was why trade unions – globally, sectorally, nationally and in factories, care homes and offices everywhere – marked International Workers’ Memorial Day on 28 April, by demanding that the ILO’s International Labour Conference this June take the ‘long overdue’ step to make occupational health and safety a top priority ILO ‘fundamental’ right at work.
ITUC news release. ETUC news release. BWI news release. IndustriALL news release. ITF news release. IUF news release. ILO news release.
Check out what happened worldwide on 28 April.
Deadline - International Workers’ Memorial Day – dying to work must end now!, ITUC/Hazards, 2022. Risks 1043.
Hazards news, 4 May 2022

Britain: Rail maintenance cuts will compromise safety
Rail funding cuts will compromise passenger safety and could mean the loss of much needed train services, a new TUC report has warned. TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said “if the Network Rail cuts go ahead it will mean the loss of safety-critical jobs and a greater risk of serious accidents like Stonehaven, Potters Bar and Hatfield,” adding: “Ministers must not risk passenger safety through funding cuts to Network Rail.”
TUC news release and report, The future of rail funding in the UK, May 2022. TSSA news release. The Guardian. Risks 1043.
Hazards news, 4 May 2022

Britain: Study uncovers ‘huge gaps’ in safety reporting
Injuries and fatalities amongst the workforces of Britain’s biggest listed companies, and the regulatory penalties that result, are routinely unreported to investors, according to a new study. A review by the responsible investment thinktank PIRC of the annual reports of FTSE350 companies, and analysis of enforcement activity by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), uncovered ‘worrying gaps’, including unreported safety violations, cherrypicking of reporting metrics and exclusion of contingent workers from company tallies.
Euronews. Reuters. Risks 1043.
Hazards news, 4 May 2022

Britain: Shopworkers call for safety lessons to be learned
Shopworkers have called for employers to do more on security in stores, the retention of EU safety standards and for the lessons of Covid-19 to be learned. Paddy Lillis, general secretary of Usdaw, told the retail union’s conference: “Usdaw remains committed to ensuring that employers take health and safety seriously.”   
Usdaw news release. Risks 1043.
Hazards news, 4 May 2022

Britain: Pride of Kent fails MCA inspection again
P&O’s Pride of Kent ferry has failed a full safety inspection by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) for third time. On 3 May the vessel again fell short of minimum safety levels safety regulator, following failed MCA inspections on 28 March and 13 April, prompting RMT general secretary Mick Lynch to comment: “Passengers and hauliers need to know that P&O’s fleet is operated by over worked and under skilled agency crews, some expected to work for up to 17 weeks on the intensive Dover-Calais route.”
RMT news release. Sky News. Risks 1043.
Hazards news, 4 May 2022

Britain: Site employers must insure workers or go
Construction union Unite has written to all the major construction clients and principal contractors demanding they provide guarantees that all workers throughout the entire supply chain on their projects are protected by a death and injury insurance scheme. According to Unite, accident and death benefit cover is available for only £3 per week per worker but many employers are refusing to pay it. 
Unite news release. Risks 1043.
Hazards news, 4 May 2022

Canada: Firms ignoring safety of new recruits
Almost 20 per cent of Canadian businesses do not offer the safety and orientation programmes that are legally required for new workers in much of the country, a survey has found. The research, commissioned by Threads of Life, a group that advocates for workplace safety, questioned hiring managers at 545 companies and discovered of these, 102 said their companies offer no orientation, onboarding, safety, emergency, hazard or illness and injury protocol training.
CBC News. Risks 1042.
Hazards news, 26 April 2022

Britain: Transport Scotland undermining railway safety
Rail union RMT has uncovered new evidence that Transport Scotland directly requested that track operator Network Rail cut the funding for vital railway operations and maintenance across Scotland. The FOI response obtained by RMT shows Transport Scotland requested that Network Rail reduce its baseline budget by £65 million in both 2022/23 and 2023/24.
RMT news release. Risks 1042.
Hazards news, 26 April 2022

Britain: P&O shows protection needed from unscrupulous firms
Unscrupulous employers will launch more attacks on workers unless P&O Ferries bosses are forced to reinstate 800 mariners they unlawfully sacked, TUC leaders have warned.  Speaking at the TUC’s Yorkshire & the Humber regional conference in Hull, regional secretary Bill Adams said: “If anybody thinks it is not going to happen to them, they are living in cloud cuckoo land.”
TUC Yorkshire and Humber conference. ITF news release. Nautilus news release. Morning Star. Risks 1042.
Hazards news, 26 April 2022

Britain: Port of Dover refuses P&O welfare checks
Officials at the Port of Dover improperly refused access last week to safety inspectors from the global union ITF. ITF said its inspectors have ISPS (International Ship and Port Facility Security code) clearance, which enables them to enter all UK ports and board unannounced all vessels in UK waters where seafarers request assistance, but port officials instead phoned P&O Ferries.
ITF news release. Risks 1042.
Hazards news, 26 April 2022

Global:  New paper spotlights core ILO safety rules
As part of a major push to persuade the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to finally recognise occupational health and safety as a top priority ‘fundamental’ right at work, global construction union BWI has released a detailed position paper. BWI said that with occupational health and safety declared as a fundamental right, countless workers’ lives could be saved, and it will prevent untold suffering from many work-related ill-health.
BWI news release including link to the full paper. Risks 1041.
Hazards news, 20 April 2022

Bangladesh: Investigate journalist shot dead
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has condemned the killing of a journalist in Bangladesh who was investigating the drugs trade and is urging the authorities to investigate the murder and to punish those responsible. The global union said on 13 April, 28-year-old Mohiuddin Sarkar Nayem was shot dead, allegedly by drug dealers, in Cumilla city near the border with India.
IFJ news release. Risks 1041.
Hazards news, 20 April 2022

USA: Amazon ‘injury machine’ twice as dangerous as rivals
A sharp rise in injuries among Amazon’s warehouse workers in the last year has come as the e-commerce giant's profits have soared. A new report from the Strategic Organizing Center (SOC), ‘The Injury Machine: How Amazon's Production System Hurts Workers’, reveals a 20 per cent rise in serious injuries in a year, and an overall rate now twice that of Amazon’s rivals.
The Injury Machine: How Amazon's Production System Hurts Workers, Strategic Organizing Center (SOC), 2022. SOC news release. Common Dreams. CNBC News. Seattle Times. Risks 1041.
Hazards news, 20 April 2022

Global: Safety professionals back fundamental safety
The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), the world’s largest organisation of safety professionals, has thrown its weight behind the global union campaign for occupational health and safety to be recognised as an ILO fundamental right at work. IOSH’s head of health and safety Ruth Wilkinson said: “At a time when the ongoing universal post Covid-19 recovery effort has highlighted the importance of strengthening the coherence between human rights and OSH standards, IOSH advocates for worker health and safety to be recognised as a fundamental human right.”
IOSH news release and video promoting OHS as an ILO fundamental right at work. Risks 1041.
Hazards news, 20 April 2022

Britain: Company boss convicted of roofer’s manslaughter
A jury has convicted the bosses of two construction companies of safety crimes after the death of a roofer in Hove. Graham Tester, 60, died on 27 July 2018 after a two storey fall from an unsafe ladder while working on the conversion of the Lansdowne Place Hotel into flats.
Sussex Police news release. Brighton and Hove News. Risks 1041.
Hazards news, 20 April 2022

Britain: Injured sushi maker 'sent to hospital in taxi'
A sushi maker who sliced off the tips of two fingers was sent to A&E in a taxi, his union GMB has said. The incident in January at the Taiko Foods factory in London – a major supplier to supermarkets including Waitrose and Sainsbury’s – as Viraj Kakadia was operating an unsafe and dangerous vegetable cutting machine that had stopped working during use.
GMB news release. Risks 1041.
Hazards news, 20 April 2022

Britain: TUC action call on unsafe P&O’s services
The UK government should take over the running of P&O Ferries’ passenger and freight services “as a last resort”, the TUC has said.  The call came after P&O ferries flunked safety inspections by the Maritime Coastguard Agency (MCA).
TUC news release. Nautilus news release. RMT news release. BBC News Online. The Guardian. Risks 1041.
Hazards news, 20 April 2022

Britain: Unite slams Caterpillar’s dangerous strikebreaking
Unite has hit out at management at the plant manufacturer Caterpillar, saying its failed attempt to undermine a strike has resulted in mounting concerns for workers’ health and safety. The union was responding to reports that untrained employees at sites in Britain were being offered money to take up production roles at the company’s dispute hit sites in Larne and Belfast.
Unite news release. Risks 1040.
Hazards news, 13 April 2022

Britain: RMT tells Shapps to detain dangerous P&O ferry
Maritime union RMT has demanded that the transport secretary detain a P&O ferry over serious safety breaches. The union call came in a letter to Grant Shapps following what it described as a catalogue of failures on the P&O operated Pride of Hull vessel, which has a history of safety issues.
RMT news release. Risks 1040.
Hazards news, 13 April 2022

Britain: Tory peer sorry for Grenfell death toll blunder
Former Conservative cabinet minister Lord Pickles has apologised for getting the number of people who died in the 2017 Grenfell Tower fire wrong while giving evidence to the inquiry into the disaster. The minister has also said he was ‘discourteous’ when he chided a senior inquiry lawyer for ‘wasting his time’, adding he was ‘extremely busy’.
BBC News Online. Architects Journal. ITV News. Daily Mail. Huffington Post. Risks 1040.
Hazards news, 13 April 2022

Britain: Firefighters agree terrorist response role
Firefighters in London and Manchester have signed agreements that will see them respond to Marauding Terrorist Attacks (MTA), following a ballot of FBU members. MTAs are incidents when terrorists move through a location, aiming to find and kill or injure as many as possible.
FBU news release. Risks 1040.
Hazards news, 13 April 2022

Britain: MoD censured after employee is shot
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has been issued with a Crown Censure by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an employee was shot during a training exercise. In January 2019 an MoD employee suffered severe injuries as a result of being shot with live ammunition, where blank ammunition should have been used.
HSE news release. Risks 1040.
Hazards news, 13 April 2022

Britain: Worker’s burns cost chemical firm £0.5m
A chemical firm has had to pay out almost £500,000 in fines and costs after a worker suffered superficial burns when hairspray chemicals ignited. Robert McBride Ltd was handed the penalty for criminal safety breaches after the 31-year-old worker suffered 13 per cent burns to his right arm and hand following the incident at the company’s site in Hull.
HSE news release and DSEAR Regulations – Fire and explosion. BBC News Online. Hull Daily Mail. Risks 1040.
Hazards news, 13 April 2022

Britain: Companies guilty after cable strike injuries
Two firms have been fined after an employee’s retina was damaged by an explosion caused by a cable strike during construction works at a substation.  Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard how VolkerInfra Ltd, a high voltage cabling contractor, had been subcontracted by principal contractor Siemens Energy Ltd to carry out cabling works as part of a wider construction project in Manchester.
HSE news release and guide, Avoiding danger from underground services – HSG47. Construction Enquirer. Risks 1040.
Hazards news, 13 April 2022

Global: Black Sea mines threat to seafarers
International maritime employers and unions are urging governments to significantly increase efforts to ensure safe and secure passage for vessels in the Black Sea, following reports of drifting mines. The call follows discussions between global transport workers’ federation ITF and the Joint Negotiating Group (JNG) – the union-industry partners in the International Bargaining Forum (IBF).
ITF news release. ILO news release. Risks 1040.
Hazards news, 13 April 2022

Global: Dying to work must end now!
Work is killing 3 million workers worldwide each year, The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) has warned. But Sharan Burrow, general secretary of the global union body said dying to work must end now, and health and safety must be recognised as a fundamental right for all workers.
Sharan Burrow. Deadline!, Hazards magazine, number 157, 2022. ITUC International Workers’ Memorial Day news and resources webpage.
TUC 28 April resources and events webpages. Get your 28 April event on the map! Find out what is happening worldwide.
Need some background stats? Check out the damning new analysis from Hazards of soaring work-related ill-health and collapsing enforcement in the UK. Risks 1039.
Hazards news, 6 April 2022

Britain: Worker dies after fall from shipping container
A transport and haulage company has been fined £200,000 after a worker died as a result of a fall from the rear of a transport shipping container. Newcastle Magistrates’ Court heard that on 27 June 2018, JR Adams (Newcastle) Limited employee Keith Robson, 69, was inside the open topped container with the rear doors open preparing access for the overhead crane, when he fell approximately 1.5 metres from the rear of the container.
HSE news release. Risks 1039.
Hazards news, 6 April 2022

Britain: Train driver tragedy highlights safety concerns
A coroner’s inquest has concluded an ‘accidental death’ verdict in an inquest following the death of a Birmingham train driver. Abdul Rasheed Rehan, a 64-year-old father of four and member of union ASLEF, died instantly when he was crushed between two train carriages while working at the Tyseley Depot as an employee of West Midlands Trains on 14 December 2019.
Thompsons Solicitors news release. BBC News Online. Risks 1039.
Hazards news, 6 April 2022

Britain: ‘Serious questions’ over Grenfell inquiry justice
The firefighters’ union FBU has raised questions after it was revealed the Grenfell Tower inquiry hearings is allowing just five days for questioning of national politicians. The union said the time given to evidence from witnesses such as civil servants, firefighters and control staff relative to national politicians “shows that the inquiry is – unwittingly or not - helping to protect politicians, whom the union believes have responsibility for the disaster.”
FBU news release and earlier release. Risks 1039.
Hazards news, 6 April 2022

Britain: Tory fire minister ‘dismantled the fire service’
The firefighters’ union FBU has said there is evidence showing former fire minister Brandon Lewis damaged the fire and rescue service in the years preceding the June 2014 Grenfell fire disaster as part of the government’s deregulation drive. Matt Wrack, the FBU general secretary, said: “Our union warned of the destruction he was risking, yet we were ignored time and time again.”
FBU news release. Risks 1039.
Hazards news, 6 April 2022

Global: Teleperformance blighted by poor work standards
A report from the global union UNI has exposed widespread workers’ rights problems throughout Teleperformance’s global, 400,000 employee, call centre business. ‘Not a Great Place to Work: The Case for Building a Better Workplace at Teleperformance’ documents unpaid work, health and safety complaints, excessive worker surveillance and aggressive trade union avoidance in eleven countries.
UNI news release and report, Teleperformance - Not a Great Place to Work, UNI, March 2022. Risks 1038.
Hazards news, 29 March 2022

Britain: P&O vessel detained for safety breaches
Seafarers’ unions RMT and Nautilus have welcomed the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) detention of the P&O vessel European Causeway in Larne for multiple safety and operational breaches. The union has demanded that the government seize the entire fleet and take action to get them back in service with the sacked crew reinstated.
RMT news release. Nautilus news releases on the European Causeway detention and P&O campaign. TUC news release and blog. ITF news release. PCS news release. Prospect news release.
The Guardian. Yorkshire Post. BBC News Online. Morning Star.
Sign the petition calling on P&O to reinstate the sacked workers immediately. Risks 1038.
Hazards news, 29 March 2022

Britain: Second P&O ferry detained over safety concerns
A second P&O ferry, The Pride of Kent, has failed a safety inspection and been detained, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has said. On 28 March, the P&O ferry become the second in three days to be held after being declared “unfit to sail.”
RMT news release. BBC News Online. Risks 1038.
Hazards news, 29 March 2022

Britain: RMT calls on the MCA to target ‘whole fleet’
Following the seizure of P&O vessels by inspectors, seafarers’ union RMT is calling for urgent talks with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), demanding they take a “whole fleet” approach. RMT general secretary Mick Lynch, accusing P&O of ‘secrecy on safety’, said: “It's rare for the MCA to seize a ferry but we now have two P&O vessels detained in less than a week due to clear safety breaches and that should set alarm bells ringing with both the government and the Agency.”
RMT news release. Risks 1038.
Hazards news, 29 March 2022

Britain: MCA warned to block P&O ferries until checked
Prospect, the trade union that represents surveyors working at the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), had urged the MCA to ward off potential disaster by performing rigorous inspections before any P&O Ferries vessels were permitted to sail. Commenting before two ferries were detained by the agency, the union said that in a safety critical industry such as shipping, the importance of a competent, well trained, experienced crew cannot be overstated.
Prospect news release and related news release. MCA guidance on recruitment of agency staff. Risks 1038.
Hazards news, 29 March 2022

Britain: P&O Ferries bosses failed to address key demands
A meeting between representatives of seafarers’ union Nautilus International with P&O Ferries executives on 25 March broke up after just 20 minutes when the company continued to insist it acted correctly in sacking 800 staff and failing to consult with unions. The union stated that P&O Ferries should pause in its actions, reflect, and consult with unions, following Peter Hebblethwaite’s disastrous appearance at the Transport Select Committee and the ongoing backlash from politicians and the public against the sackings.
Nautilus news release. Risks 1038.
Hazards news, 29 March 2022

Britain: STUC slams ‘shambolic’ P&O effort at Scottish Parliament
Scotland’s national union body STUC has given a scathing assessment of appearance by P&O’s top boss at a Scottish parliament committee, to respond to concerns about the ‘mass culling’ of jobs. Following the quizzing of P&O Ferries chief executive Peter Hebblethwaite at the parliament’s Net Zero, Energy and Transport Committee on 29 March - where he reiterated his claim that any consultation with unions “would be a sham” - STUC general secretary Roz Foyer said: “Hebblethwaite’s appearance at the Scottish Parliament today was as pathetic as it was shambolic and entirely representative of how P&O have behaved these past weeks.”
P&O Ferries chief executive Peter Hebblethwaite’s appearance before the parliament’s Net Zero, Energy and Transport Committee on 29 March [starts at approx. 10:49]. Risks 1038.
Hazards news, 29 March 2022

Global: Fundamental safety move gets closer
A high profile union campaign to get occupational health and safety recognised by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) as a ‘fundamental’ right at work has taken a big step forward. ILO’s Governing Body has agreed an amendment to the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, to include occupational safety and health, will be on the agenda the UN agency’s International Labour Conference in June.
ILO news release. ITUC 28 April #iwmd22 webpages. Risks 1037.
Hazards news, 24 March 2022

USA: Unsafe Amazon cited for ‘wilful serious violation’
E-commerce giant Amazon has been cited for a ‘wilful’ serious violation and told to pay a $60,000 fine for knowingly putting workers at risk of injury at a US fulfilment centre. A Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) inspection at the facility in Kent, Washington State, found 10 of the 12 processes L&I evaluated create a serious hazard for work-related back, shoulder, wrist and knee injuries, and because it has cited Amazon for similar violations at three Washington locations, “the most recent violation is classified as a wilful violation and comes with a significantly higher penalty than those issued as a result of earlier inspections.”
Washington State Department of Labor and Industries news release. Risks 1037.
Hazards news, 24 March 2022

Britain: Suspended sentence for unsafe excavation work
A principal contractor has been handed a suspended jail term after he was found to have supervised unsafe excavation work which put workers in danger and rendered a neighbouring property unstable. Mustapha Matib pleaded guilty to two criminal safety offences and was sentenced to sixteen weeks imprisonment suspended for twelve months, ordered to carry out 200 hours unpaid work and pay costs of £5,673.
HSE news release. Risks 1037.
Hazards news, 24 March 2022

Britain: Livestock mart fined after fatal incident with bull
A livestock auction mart has been fined after an employee was fatally injured when he was struck by a bull as he was helping to load it on to a lorry. Preston Magistrates’ Court heard that on 25 August 2017 Martin Leverton, 70, was helping to move the bull and four cows towards a waiting lorry at the premises of his employer, Gisburn Auction Marts Ltd when the bull turned and attacked him, causing fatal injuries.
HSE news release. Risks 1037.
Hazards news, 24 March 2022

Bangladesh: Inaction on violations of workers’ rights
New evidence of violations of workers’ rights in Bangladesh in three major economic sectors – the ready-made garment, shipbreaking, and leather sectors – reveals the impact of government inaction on the lives of working people, the global union confederation ITUC has said. The report, released by ITUC ahead of the government’s latest progress report to the ILO Governing Body, shows the human face of a government’s failure to put in place labour protections.
ITUC news release and report, We Need a Better Bangladesh: Violations of workers’ rights in the ready-made garment, shipbreaking and leather sectors, 15 March 2022. Risks 1037.
Hazards news, 24 March 2022

Britain: Saved documents expose Cape asbestos guilt
Documents saved from destruction thanks to a court battle waged by an asbestos campaign group have revealed UK multinational Cape was aware decades ago of the high risk of fatal cancer from the use of its top selling Asbestolux insulation board, but still pressured the government successfully in the 1960s and 70s to abandon a planned ‘no dust’ policy. The Asbestos Victims Support Groups Forum UK says the documents it fought to preserve will be vital to future asbestos compensation cases.
Leigh Day news release. Asbestos Forum. The Guardian. Risks 1037.
Hazards news, 24 March 2022

Britain: Saved documents expose Cape asbestos guilt
Documents saved from destruction thanks to a court battle waged by an asbestos campaign group have revealed UK multinational Cape was aware decades ago of the high risk of fatal cancer from the use of its top selling Asbestolux insulation board, but still pressured the government successfully in the 1960s and 70s to abandon a planned ‘no dust’ policy. The Asbestos Victims Support Groups Forum UK says the documents it fought to preserve will be vital to future asbestos compensation cases.
Leigh Day news release. Asbestos Forum. The Guardian. Risks 1037.
Hazards news, 24 March 2022

Britain: Unions raise alarm over safety of P&O ships
Seafarers’ unions RMT and Nautilus International have written to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) to express serious safety concerns about the sacking of P&O Ferries crew and their replacement with agency staff with no experience of the ships. The unions say the replacement staff are only receiving a few days familiarisation and will be put under intense pressure from the company, which “will have the effect of importing a far higher level of safety risk to passengers and workers meaning that lives will be put in jeopardy.”
RMT news release. Risks 1037.
Hazards news, 24 March 2022

Britain: Call for HSE ‘clarity’ on Covid risk assessments
Public service union UNISON is warning the UK government’s ‘potentially dangerous’ Living with Covid-19 plans could undermine health and safety law. UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea has written to the chief executive of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), expressing the union’s fears over the imminent removal of explicit attention to Covid-19 in risk assessments.
UNISON news release. Risks 1037.
Hazards news, 24 March 2022

Global: Safety must be a fundamental right at work
Global unions are calling for an amendment to the 1998 Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work that will lead to occupational health and safety (OHS) being recognised as a fundamental principle and right at work. The call from the chemicals, mining and manufacturing global union IndustriALL came ahead a meeting of the International Labour Organisation’s governing body, which started on 14 March.
IndustriALL news release. ITUC 28 April campaign webpage and facebook page. Risks 1036.
Hazards news, 16 March 2022

Ireland: Migrant fisher injuries linked to permit scheme
Injuries sustained by migrant fishers have been linked to a culture of excessive hours and ‘cover-ups’ driven by Ireland’s controversial work permit scheme. Campaign lead for the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) in Ireland, Michael O’Brien, told media that fishers were working longer hours than was safe or legal, but that the risk of fishers losing their visa status if they are fired or taken out of work due to injury meant many feel compelled to endure unsafe practices on board.
ITF news release. Risks 1036.
Hazards news, 16 March 2022

Ukraine: US reporter shot and killed
An award-winning US journalist working in Ukraine, Brent Renaud, has been shot dead in Irpin, outside Kyiv. Ukrainian police said the journalist was targeted on 13 March by Russian soldiers.
IFJ news release. IFJ/EFJ Ukraine safety fund. NUJ news release and war zone safety information. Risks 1036.
Hazards news, 16 March 2022

Britain: Flagship MacMerry pub hit by protest
Protestors have demonstrated outside Scottish pub chain MacMerry’s flagship central London pub, as the campaign against the company’s ‘appalling’ treatment of staff intensified. Members from Unite were joined by a Los Angeles delegation from the US Unite Here union in the 9 March demonstration outside the Abandon Ship pub in Covent Garden.
Unite news release. Risks 1036.
Hazards news, 16 March 2022

Britain: Carmont rail crash report shows systemic failures
Rail unions have called for wide-ranging safety improvements and an end to Network Rail jobs and maintenance cuts after a report blamed systematic safety failings for a fatal train derailment. In the report into the 12 August 2020 Carmont tragedy, the RAIB exonerated the driver and blamed ScotRail and Network Rail for failures in the crash near Stonehaven in Aberdeenshire in which three people died – train driver Brett McCullough, 45, conductor Donald Dinnie, 58, and passenger Christopher Stuchbury, 62.
ASLEF news release. RMT news release and related news release. TSSA news release. RAIB statement, video and report, Derailment of a passenger train at Carmont, 10 March 2022. ORR statement. Construction Enquirer. Risks 1036.
Hazards news, 16 March 2022

Ukraine: Serious concern at Chernobyl workers’ plight
Ukrainian nuclear authorities told the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on 8 March that the safety of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant could be compromised by the “dangerous and stressful” situation facing safety critical staff at the installation. The regulator told IAEA director general Rafael Mariano Grossi it was essential measures were taken to rotate some 210 technical personnel and guards who have been working there since Russian forces took control of the site almost two weeks ago.
IAEA update 8 March 2022. Daily Mail. Risks 1035.
Hazards news 9 March 2022

Brazil: Meat sector safety campaign reaches Europe
As the Brazilian Ministry of Labour, backed by corporate interests, prepares to amend regulations which govern health and safety in the country’s meat industry, unions have raised concerns with the European Parliament about “a race to the bottom.” EFFAT, the European regional organisation of the global foodworkers’ union federation IUF, convened a meeting with MEP Bernd Lange, the chair of the trade committee at the European Parliament.
IUF news release. Send an urgent message to the Brazilian government. Risks 1035.
Hazards news 9 March 2022

Britain: Rail jobs axe could be ‘devastating’ for rail safety
Plans by Network Rail to cut 2,660 maintenance and works delivery jobs could have “devastating consequences” on the safe running of the rail system, the rail union TSSA has warned. The concerns were echoed by Mick Lynch, general secretary of the rail union RMT, who said the cuts would be “a significant threat” to rail safety.
TSSA news release. RMT news release. Morning Star. Risks 1035.
Hazards news 9 March 2022

Britain: UK not ready for climate change emergencies
The firefighters’ union FBU has warned the UK’s emergency response is not capable of dealing with the extreme weather the country could face as a result of climate change. The union was commenting after the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that Europe will face increasingly severe climate impacts, including in terms of heatwaves and flooding, unless action is taken to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.
FBU news release and climate change campaign. IPCC report. Risks 1035.
Hazards news 9 March 2022

Britain: Government safety adviser ‘must be held to account’
Government ministers “took an axe to Britain’s fire-and-rescue service and fire safety regulation” in the years before the Grenfell Tower disaster, the firefighters’ union FBU has said. The union’s 9 March demand that those responsible are brought to book came on the day key adviser Ken Knight, who advised the government on fire safety in the years before the Grenfell fire, was scheduled to give evidence to the long-running inquiry.
FBU news release. Morning Star and related editorial. Building. Risks 1035.
Hazards news 9 March 2022

Britain: Farmer sentenced after nephew dies in farm fall
The mother of a four-year-old boy who fell from a farm vehicle and was run over sustaining fatal injuries has called for a change in attitude in agriculture. Sarah Nutter was commenting after farmer Brian Nutter was given a suspended prison sentence following the death of his nephew, Harry Lee.
HSE news release. Risks 1035.
Hazards news 9 March 2022

Britain: Suspended jail terms after scaffolder death
Four men have received suspended prison sentences following the collapse of the former Citadel Church in Splott, Cardiff which killed scaffolder Jeffrey Joseph Plevey, 55. Their firms received combined fines of more than £340,000.
South Wales Police news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 1035.
Hazards news 9 March 2022

Britain: School fined after teaching assistant breaks back  
A primary school in West Yorkshire has been fined £4,000 after a member of staff broke their back after falling through a fragile ceiling. Bradford Magistrates’ Court heard that on 18 September 2019, a teaching assistant at Todmorden Church of England Junior Infants and Nursery School had accessed the loft space in the school and as they entered, they fell around four metres through the fragile ceiling which resulted in a broken back.
HSE news release. Telegraph and Argus. Risks 1035.
Hazards news 9 March 2022

Bangladesh: Child among the dead in shoe factory fire
At least three people, including a 15-year-old girl, have been killed and several others injured in a 23 February fire at an ‘illegal’ shoe factory, the global union IndustriALL has said. According to reports, the factory, owned by Uniworld Footwear Technology Limited and located in an industrial area in Savar, lacked both safety measures and a permit to operate.
IndustriALL news release. Risks 1034.
Hazards news, 2 March 2022

Global: New ILO code to improve construction safety
More than 229 million construction workers around the globe may benefit from a revised and updated code of practice on safety and health, adopted by International Labour Organisation (ILO) experts from governments and employers’ and workers’ organisations. The updated code includes new or improved language proposed by unions on issues including chemicals, carcinogens, silica, asbestos, biological hazards, ergonomics, procurement and, for the first time in an adopted ILO text, psychosocial risks at work and makes a clear connection between construction, extreme weather events and disaster management.
BWI news release. ILO news release. Risks 1034.
Hazards news, 2 March 2022

Britain: Why no action six years after four demolition deaths?
An investigation into a building collapse that killed four demolition workers has still not reached a conclusion, six years after the tragedy, bereaved families have said. Mick Collings, Chris Huxtable, Ken Cresswell and John Shaw died on 23 February 2016 when a boiler house collapsed during the demolition of Didcot power station in Oxfordshire.
FACK news release. Thames Valley Police statement. BBC News Online. Morning Star. Risks 1034.
Hazards news, 2 March 2022

Britain: Company convicted after electrician dies in fall
Cleveland Bridge UK Limited has been convicted of criminal safety offences and fined £1.5 million after an electrician Keith Poppleton was killed when he fell about eight metres after stepping on an unmaintained access panel. Judge Timothy Stead was scathing in his assessment of Cleveland Bridge, criticising its inability to introduce appropriate health and safety measures, noting: “The entirety of the blame falls on Cleveland Bridge and its failings over a period of many years.”
HSE news release. Northern Echo. The Gazette. Risks 1034.
Hazards news, 2 March 2022

Britain: Boss of asbestos removal firm jailed
Billy Hopwood, a director of Ensure Asbestos Management Limited, has been jailed for 10 months after failing to protect workers from asbestos exposure during a major refurbishment project in Plymouth. An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) discovered irregularities in the asbestos surveys and clearance certificates, with some found to be fraudulent.
HSE news release. Risks 1034.
Hazards news, 2 March 2022

Britain: Suspended sentence after scrapyard worker crushed
A motor vehicle scrap company’s director has been given a suspended jail term after a worker suffered crush injuries in an incident involving a forklift truck. Cambridge Magistrates’ Court heard how on 1 March 2021, an employee of Queensferry Car Breakers Limited was injured when he was hit and run over by a forklift truck driven by his employer Ghol Mohammad Navabi, who has been handed a 20-week prison sentence suspended for 12 months, including 15 rehabilitation activity requirement days and 180 unpaid work hours.
HSE news release. Risks 1034.
Hazards news, 2 March 2022

Britain: Manufacturing firm fined after forklift fatality
A West Midlands manufacturing company has been fined after a 23-year-old employee was found fatally injured under the forks of a side-loader lift truck. Cutting Edge Trading Limited employee Mitchell Poutney was fatally injured at the company site in Rowley Regis during a lifting operation.
HSE news release. Halesowen News. Risks 1034.
Hazards news, 2 March 2022

Britain: ‘Grave’ safety concerns over rail funding cuts
Rail union TSSA has raised its ‘grave concerns’ over a planned £4 billion in cuts planned for Britain’s rail infrastructure and has referred the plans to the rail safety regulator ORR. Publicly owned Network Rail, which owns and maintains the infrastructure, plans to shed 905 jobs on top of 1,000 voluntary redundancies, the union said.
TSSA news release. Morning Star. Risks 1033.
Hazards news, 17 February 2022

Britain: More rail action over ‘safety critical’ roles
Further strike action on CrossCountry trains is set go ahead from 19 February over ‘an assault on the safety critical role of senior conductors and train managers’, the union RMT has said. The union said its decision to proceed with the action came after the company snubbed a possible settlement in talks driven from the union side.
RMT news release. Risks 1033.
Hazards news, 17 February 2022

Britain: Fire response times face big slow down
Response times by the fire and rescue service to significant fires in England have slowed by the biggest amount since 2015. New figures show that the average response time for primary fires in England was 8 minutes and 43 seconds for the year ending September 2021, a slowing of six seconds compared to the previous year.
FBU news release. Risks 1033.
Hazards news, 17 February 2022

Brazil: Meat worker safety under attack
Health and safety regulations for meat and poultry processing introduced in Brazil in 2013 were a major advance for workers’ rights, unions say, but they warn they are now under attack. Meat companies are lobbying Brazil’s government to withdraw or weaken the regulations, global foodworkers’ union IUF has said.
IUF news release. UFCW Canada news release.
ACTION: Sign the petition. Risks 1033.
Hazards news, 17 February 2022

Canada: Miner’s daughter exposes toxic aluminium ‘treatment’
A decade-long campaign led by the daughter of a deceased Canadian uranium miner has led to a major victory for workers struck by Parkinson’s disease after being subjected to aluminium dust inhalation “treatments” in their jobs. Supported by her union, the United Steelworkers (USW), and other worker advocacy organisations, Janice Martell waged a relentless campaign to compel Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) to recognise Parkinson’s as an occupational disease linked to the use of McIntyre Powder in mining and other industries.
USW news release. McIntyre Powder Project. Ontario WSIB McIntyre Powder update. Canadian Occupational Safety.
Janice Martell and Tee Guidotti. Breathe Deep, Boys: Voices of the McIntyre Powder Project Miners, New Solutions: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy, 9 February 2022. https://doi.org/10.1177/10482911221079056. Risks 1033.
Hazards news, 17 February 2022

Global: Final push for ‘fundamental right’ to safe work
Workers’ unions worldwide are pressing their demand for health and safety to finally become a globally recognised fundamental principle and right at work. “We demand that the International Labour Organisation (ILO) adopts occupational health and safety as a fundamental right at work.” said ITUC general secretary Sharan Burrow, adding: “It’s as important as freedom of association and the elimination of forced labour, child labour and discrimination in employment.”
ITUC news release and 28 April #iwmd22 webpages. Risks 1032.
Hazards news, 9 February 2022

Britain: Probe after train driver killed at work
Investigations are continuing into the death of a Southern Railway train driver who was killed in the course of his work. The man, who has not been named, was found on the tracks near West Worthing station in Sussex on 1 February.
TSSA news release. The Argus. Worthing Herald. Risks 1032.
Hazards news, 9 February 2022

Britain: Community order for dangerous construction boss
Roofing contractor Ian Davey has been ordered to undertake 80 hours of unpaid work in the community after an unpaid casual labourer suffered serious injuries when he fell through a skylight during the renovation of an old asbestos cement roof. Trading as Exe Fibreglass, he pleaded guilty to a criminal breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and was given a 12-month community order, which includes 80 hours of unpaid work, and was ordered to pay costs of £3,000.
HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 1032.
Hazards news, 9 February 2022

Global: Covid waste mountain a risk to workers
Tens of thousands of tonnes of extra medical waste from the response to the Covid-19 pandemic has put tremendous strain on health care waste management systems around the world, threatening human and environmental health and exposing a dire need to improve waste management practices, according to a new World Health Organisation (WHO) report. WHO notes: “Today, 30 per cent of healthcare facilities (60 per cent in the least developed countries) are not equipped to handle existing waste loads, let alone the additional Covid-19 load,” adding: “This potentially exposes health workers to needlestick injuries, burns and pathogenic microorganisms, while also impacting communities living near poorly managed landfills and waste disposal sites through contaminated air from burning waste, poor water quality or disease carrying pests.”
WHO news release and report, Global analysis of health care waste in the context of Covid-19, WHO, 1 February 2022. Equal Times article from July 2021 on the risks to clinical waste collectors. Risks 1031.
Hazards news, 2 February 2022

Global: Amazon urged to support tortured whistleblower
A whistleblower who exposed illegal working conditions in a factory making Amazon’s Alexa devices and who was then tortured before being jailed by Chinese authorities has called on the company’s founder Jeff Bezos to protect its supply chain workers. Tang Mingfang, 43, was jailed after he revealed how the Foxconn factory in the southern Chinese city of Hengyang used schoolchildren working illegally long hours to manufacture Amazon’s popular Echo, Echo Dot and Kindle devices.
China Labor Watch news release. Tang Mingfang’s letter to Jeff Bezos and Amazon executives. The Observer. Risks 1031.
Hazards news, 2 February 2022

Global: Fishing firm accused of safety and labour abuses
A major operator of fishing vessels has been accused of failing to provide compensation to a fisher who died in an accident at work and of labour abuses including forced labour, crew abandonment and unpaid wages. Global union federation ITF said the Hull-based seafood buyer J Marr has profited from the supply chain labour abuses by Pescatlant Ltd.
ITF news release. Risks 1030.
Hazards news, 26 January 2022

Britain: HSE finds two-thirds of firms guilty of safety crimes
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspection blitz has found almost two-thirds (65 per cent) of business inspected were in criminal breach of health and safety law. The watchdog said during the week-long initiative in South Yorkshire inspectors served three prohibition notices, 31 improvement notices and a further 23 companies were written to – but did not indicate it intended to start any prosecutions.
HSE news release and earlier news release. Risks 1030.
Hazards news, 26 January 2022

Britain: Fatal fall through asbestos roof leads to fine
A Powys construction company has been fined £51,000 plus £5,000 costs after a Romanian employee was fatally injured in Liverpool when he fell six metres while working on a replacement roof project. The prosecution of AJM Services (Midlands) Ltd came almost a year after the building owner was fined for criminal safety offences relating to the death of roofer Marius Andrus, 36.
HSE news release. Risks 1030.
Hazards news, 26 January 2022

Britain: Union welcomes Belly Mujinga inquest
Rail union TSSA has welcomed confirmation that a public inquest into the death of Belly Mujinga will be held this summer. Manuel Cortes, TSSA general secretary, said: “Our union stands shoulder to shoulder with Belly’s family and colleagues. Her death sent shock and sadness across our railway family and much further, in fact her story touched the world.”
TSSA news release. Risks 1030.
Hazards news, 26 January 2022

Britain: Cuts leave fire and rescue workers at infection risk
Parts of the North East of England, which government statistics show has had some of the worst recent Covid hotspots for Omicron, are continuing to report fire service shortages as Covid hits the service. FBU regional secretary Brian Harris said: “It’s entirely unclear how the government thinks it is acceptable to have a fire and rescue service with such a low level of resilience.”
FBU news release. Risks 1030.
Hazards news, 26 January 2022

Britain: Directors fined for unlicensed asbestos removal
Two printing company directors have been fined for criminal safety offences after organising the removal of asbestos insulation board by untrained personnel. Leeds Magistrates’ Court heard how, between August 2016 and December 2016, Charles Dunn and Jeremy Mills, respectively the managing director and director of D&M Heritage Limited, consented to work taking place at the company’s premises which failed to use adequate measures to prevent the spread of asbestos.
HSE news release and asbestos webpages. Risks 1029.
Hazards news, 19 January 2022

Britain: Union welcomes end of smart motorways rollout
A pause on the rollout of new ‘all-lane running’ smart motorways while their safety is assessed has been welcomed by Prospect. The union, which represents staff in Highways England, had warned a combination of staff under ‘intolerable strain’ and ‘unreliable’ technology would lead to avoidable accidents.
Prospect news release. Department for Transport news release. BBC News Online. The Guardian. Risks 1029.
Hazards news, 19 January 2022

Australia: Laundry worker dies in hellish heat
‘Deplorable’ conditions in a Perth laundry led to the death of a worker on Christmas Eve, unions have said. Zenaida Fabian, 55, who worked 60-hour weeks at South Pacific Laundry, collapsed inside the factory about 8.20pm on 22 December and died two days later after suffering from a blood clot and cerebral aneurysm.
West Australian. Daily Mail. Risks 1028.
Hazards news, 12 January 2022

Britain: Government playing ‘Russian roulette’ with road safety
The government is failing to monitor how many foreign lorries are entering and leaving the UK under a controversial scheme introduced last year, the union Unite has found. It says a panic move aimed at tackling the HGV driver crisis saw the government change the cabotage rules at the end of October - but the Department for Transport (DfT) has now confirmed, in its response to a Unite freedom of information (FOI) request, that it does not monitor compliance with the relaxed rules.
Unite news release. Morning Star. Risks 1028.
Hazards news, 12 January 2022

Myanmar: Junta profits as workers die in jade mines
The death of at least six jade miners in a landslide in Hpakant, Myanmar on 22 December 2021 highlights the urgent need to curb unsafe mining practices and protect miners’ lives, the global union IndustriALL has said. Kemal Özkan, IndustriALL assistant general secretary, said the “vicious cycle” of unsafe mining cannot be ended “under the military regime that benefits from the current unsafe practices,” adding: “It is crucial for a democratically-elected government to demilitarise the jade mine industry, implement a sound industry safety standard and eliminate corruption at the union, state and regional level.”
IndustriALL news release. Global Witness news release and June 2021 report. France 24. The Guardian. Risks 1027.
Hazards news, 4 January 2022

Britain: Enforcement collapses as 1.7m plus hurt by work
New Health and Safety Executive (HSE) statistics confirm shockingly high rates of work-related ill-health accompanied by a collapse of enforcement action. New statistics for 2020/21, from which HSE excluded work-related Covid infections, show 1.7 million workers suffering from a work-related illness, around half of which was down to stress, depression or anxiety, accompanied by a catastrophic fall in HSE enforcement activity to a record low, with just 185 cases prosecuted and only 2,929 enforcement notices issued.
HSE news release and statistics webpage. Workplace fatal injuries in Great Britain 2021, webpage and full updated December 2021 report. Reported work-related Covid-19 cases and HSE decision to exclude Covid from the statistics. HSE 2009/10 statistics. Risks 1027.
Hazards news, 4 January 2022

Britain: HSE downplaying workplace stress catastrophe 
As latest official figures confirm work-related stress cases in the last two years have hit an all-time high, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has been accused of downplaying the extent of the harm caused by Britain’s top workplace health problem. The charge comes in the new issue of the trade union safety journal Hazards and follows the launch of HSE’s Working Minds campaign, where the regulator’s executive Sarah Albon warned: “No worker should suffer in silence and if we don’t act now to improve workers’ mental health, this could evolve into a health and safety crisis.”
Tear up: HSE must admit there is a stress catastrophe under its nose and act, Hazards, number 156, December 2021. HSE Working Minds campaign.
Work-related stress, anxiety or depression statistics in Great Britain, HSE, 16 December 2021. Risks 1027.
Hazards news, 4 January 2022

Britain: Over 1,000 serious injuries at Amazon sites
‘Shameful’ figures reveal more than a thousand serious injuries at Amazon sites have been reported to health and safety authorities since 2016, a GMB investigation has found.  The union said ‘disturbingly’ the number of injuries reported to health and safety bodies is rapidly increasing, with 294 reported in the financial year 2020/21 – up from 231 the year before, or an increase of 27 per cent.
GMB news release. Risks 1027.
Hazards news, 4 January 2022

Britain: Amazon’s high churn, high pace work model slammed
Amazon’s high turnover, high paced work model is hurting us all, a new report has warned. ‘Fast and furious’, publishing in the union safety journal Hazards, noted: “Excessive pace of work is becoming the norm – driven by performance management systems, reward systems and piece work, job insecurity and old fashioned management because-I-say-so.”
Fast and furious: Amazon’s high churn, high pace work template hurts us all, Hazards, number 156, December 2021. Fast and furious pin up at work poster.
When AI is the boss: An introduction for union reps, TUC, December 2021. Risks 1027.
Hazards news, 4 January 2022

USA: Amazon again tells workers to stay in disaster’s path
Amazon has been accused of putting corporate profits above worker safety following the tornado-caused partial collapse of its Edwardsville, Illinois warehouse that left at least six people dead. “Time and time again Amazon puts its bottom line above the lives of its employees,” said Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), in a statement.
RWDSU news release. Common Dreams. Bloomberg. NBC News. MSN News. The Verge. The Independent. BBC News Online. Confined Space blog.
OSHA Tornado preparedness and response webpages. Risks 1026.
Hazards news, 15 December 2021

USA: Climate weather crisis hurts the low paid
Extreme weather events are hitting lower paid, vulnerable workers hardest, a doctors’ network has said. The US Migrant Clinicians Network said tornado-related fatalities in the destruction of the Mayfield Consumer Products candle factory in Kentucky, in which at least eight workers died, and the Illonois Amazon warehouse where six were killed, “has shone a spotlight on the inadequacies of worker protections as the climate crisis ramps up.”
MCN blog. The Guardian. NPR. Risks 1026.
Hazards news, 15 December 2021

Britain: Community service after asbestos disturbance conviction
A contractor has been given community service after unskilled labourers he engaged disturbed asbestos and worked dangerously at height while refurbishing a disused park toilet block. Fahadh Rasheed was found guilty by a jury of a criminal breach of safety regulations and at a sentencing hearing he was given a community order including 100 hours unpaid work and a 10 day rehabilitation activity requirement.
HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 1026.
Hazards news, 15 December 2021

Britain: Safety concerns over ‘vanishingly rare’ lorry inspections
A UK-based lorry can, on average, travel the equivalent of three and a half times around the world without expecting to undergo an on-the-spot check, research by Unite has found. The shocking statistic was uncovered by the union in a Freedom of Information request.
Unite news release. Risks 1026.
Hazards news, 15 December 2021

Britain: Shock as 1 in 4 inspections find poor rig safety
A union representing offshore workers has warned there could be a ‘catastrophic’ disaster after the government admitted that one in four official inspections had found poor safety maintenance standards on North Sea installations. The government admission, which also revealed fewer than 1-in-20 installations were fully compliant, came in the safety minister’s answer to a written parliamentary question tabled by Stockton North Labour MP Alex Cunningham.
RMT news release. Parliamentary question and answer.  Morning Star. Risks 1026.
Hazards news, 15 December 2021

Britain: Unite action call on dangerous bus design flaw
Unite is calling on Transport for London (TfL), bus operators and the mayor of London to act swiftly to resolve a potentially deadly design flaw on London buses. The union said it has been raising concerns about ‘pedal confusion’ since the summer and the problem was again highlighted when it was cited as a possible factor in the death of 32-year-old commuter Melissa Burr at Victoria bus station in August 2021.
Unite news release. Evening Standard. TfL pedal confusion report, 2011. Risks 1026.
Hazards news, 15 December 2021

Britain: TSSA welcomes London transport e-scooter ban 
Transport for London’s (TfL) decision to enforce a ban on the use of electric scooters (e-scooters) across the network has been welcomed by the transport and travel union TSSA. The rules, which came into force on 13 December, follow calls by TSSA for action after serious incidents involving e-scooter battery fires on the underground system.
TSSA news release. Risks 1026.
Hazards news, 15 December 2021

Britain: New union safety tool to protect journalists
Journalists’ union NUJ has launched an online interactive tool to help journalists’ deal with hostile environments and cyber threats. To help journalists minimise the risks they encounter – from conflict zones to the cyber battlefront – the NUJ said it was launching Storysmart, a suite of free online training modules, produced with financial support from the Google News Initiative.
NUJ news release and Storysmart interactive modules. Risks 1025.
Hazards news, 8 December 2021

Britain: Builder jailed after deadly wall collapse
A builder has been jailed following an investigation into the death of 64-year-old labourer Kulwant Singh Athwal on a site in Hampshire in 2019. Paramjit Singh, 48, was found guilty of gross negligence manslaughter following a two-week trial at Winchester Crown Court and was sentenced to three years and three months on a gross negligence manslaughter charge plus 20 months for criminal safety breaches, which he had admitted previously.
Hampshire Constabulary news release. Construction Enquirer. BBC News Online. Daily Echo. Risks 1025.
Hazards news, 8 December 2021

Britain: Farm worker fatally injured while mucking out
Farming partnership CM Stone has been fined after a farm worker was fatally injured following an incident involving a telehandler within the pig barn. Weston Super Mare Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 17 October 2019, self-employed farm worker Andrew Denning, 57, was helping with the mucking-out and animal welfare checks inside a large pig shed when he was struck by telehandler and killed as it reversed.
HSE news release. Risks 1025.
Hazards news, 8 December 2021

Russia: Over 50 dead in coal mine fire
Over 50 workers have died in Russia's worst mining disaster in a decade. The incident started when coal dust in a ventilation shaft caught fire on 25 November. Several rescuers are reported to be among the dead.
BBC News Online. ABC News. New York Times. Risks 1024.
Hazards news, 1 December 2021

Britain: Amazon ambulance call outs surge ahead of sales
Ambulance callouts for injuries and other health concerns at Amazon warehouses surged almost 50 per cent in the run up to Black Friday on 26 November, research by GMB has revealed. The union used freedom of information requests to obtain monthly data from four ambulance trusts that cover major Amazon sites.
GMB news release and related news release. Morning Star.
ITUC news release. MakeAmazonPay.com. Risks 1024.
Hazards news, 1 December 2021

Britain: Care staff warn of ‘dangerous’ under-staffing
Nearly a third (31 per cent) of care staff say staffing levels are dangerously low, getting worse and negatively affecting the care provided, a UNISON survey has found. The union says the ‘dangerous situation’ has resulted in the majority of sector’s stressed-out staff considering switching jobs.
UNISON news release. Risks 1024.
Hazards news, 1 December 2021

Britain: Danger warning on 'bargain basement' ambulances
An ambulance service is putting staff and patients’ safety at serious risk by using ‘bargain basement’ vehicles, the union GMB has warned. The union believes the Fiat vehicles - which South East Coast Ambulance Service (Secamb) operates alongside its traditional fleet - have a significant safety flaw.
GMB news release. Risks 1024.
Hazards news, 1 December 2021

Britain: Farm fined after young worker crushed to death
A farming partnership has been fined following an incident where a 21-year-old farm employee was killed whilst dismantling a redundant piece of farming equipment. Folkestone Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 30 April 2019, The J&D Foster Farms LLP employee George Murrell was crushed by a grain drying tunnel at Fishpond Farm in Tonbridge. employee sustained fatal injuries.
HSE news release. Risks 1024.
Hazards news, 1 December 2021

Britain: 'Bittersweet justice' as firms fined after worker froze
The family of a security guard who froze to death at a construction site when he was snowed in have said they now have justice after two companies were fined almost £900,000 for criminal health and safety failings. Ronnie Alexander was on duty at Afton wind farm, near New Cumnock in East Ayrshire, in January 2018 during bad weather.
HSE news release. The National. Construction Enquirer. BBC News Online. Risks 1023.
Hazards news, 23 November 2021

Britain: Director jailed for ignoring HSE notices
A director of a former car salvage company in Wales has been jailed for a year after failing to comply with Health and Safety Executive (HSE) enforcement notices. Newport Crown Court heard that between 2018 and 2021, Tahir Karim was in control of activities and those working at Long Life Spares in Llanbradach, Caerphilly.
HSE news release. South Wales Argus. Risks 1023.
Hazards news, 23 November 2021

Britain: Workers burned in vehicle service centre
A commercial vehicle servicing and repair company has been fined after two workers suffered serious burns when flammable brake cleaning fluid ignited. An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into the incident, which occurred at STA Vehicle Centres Ltd in Birmingham, found that the company failed to carry out a risk assessment to consider whether it was possible to eliminate or reduce the risk.
HSE news release. Risks 1023.
Hazards news, 23 November 2021

Global: NHS PPE supplier linked to forced labour
The UK government has launched an investigation into one of the NHS’s main suppliers of personal protective equipment over its alleged use of forced labour. Officials at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) are investigating Supermax, which won a £316m contract for 88.5m rubber gloves as the Covid pandemic began to unfold.
The Guardian. Risks 1023.
Hazards news, 23 November 2021

Australia: More workers getting harmed by their jobs
The number of workers’ compensation claims for serious injury or illness increased again last year in Australia, as they have every year since the coalition federal government came to power in 2014, according to data released by the national regulator SafeWork Australia. The national union federation ACTU said the workers’ compensation statistics for 2019-20 illustrate that the previous downward trend of serious workplace injury or illness claims prior to 2014 has stagnated under the coalition and has risen fast since Scott Morrison became prime minister.
ACTU news release. Risks 1023.
Hazards news, 23 November 2021

Qatar: New transparency hopes for work safety
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the government of Qatar have published a new report on health and safety provisions for workers, pointing to a new level of openness and transparency in support of workers’ rights. “The transparency shown in the review of the data collection and analysis processes has allowed us to put forward a set of concrete recommendations that can serve as a road map for action,” said Max Tuñón, head of the ILO project office in Qatar.
ITUC news release. ILO news release and report, One is too many: The collection and analysis of data on occupational injuries in Qatar, November 2021. Risks 1023.
Hazards news, 23 November 2021

Qatar: Migrant workers still exploited ahead of World Cup
Reforms in Qatar have stalled with a year to go before the 2022 football World Cup, leaving thousands of migrant workers trapped and exploited, according to a new report by Amnesty International. A new 48-page Amnesty report, ‘Reality Check 2021’, has accused the authorities of “complacency” in applying the laws and says it has led to the worst elements of the kafala system, which binds workers to their employer, resurfacing.”
Amnesty International news release. Uefa Working Group on Workers’ Rights in Qatar. The Guardian. BBC News Online. Risks 1022.
Hazards news, 17 November 2021

USA: Amazon agrees worker ‘right to know’ settlement
Amazon has reached a legal settlement in California over a legal complaint it failed to adequately inform its warehouse workers about Covid-19 cases in the workplace. California's attorney general said workers had been left ‘terrified and powerless’.
California Attorney General news release, the stipulated judgment and original complaint. BBC News Online. Risks 1022
Hazards news, 17 November 2021

Britain: Fine after apprentice loses sight in one eye
A Bradford-based construction company has been fined after an apprentice decorator was injured at work, leading to significant sight loss in his right eye. Pearl Services UK Limited pleaded guilty to a criminal safety offence and was fined £16,500 and ordered to pay costs of £5,778.40.
HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 1022.
Hazards news, 17 November 2021

Britain: PM should apologise for “not unsafe” building comments
The prime minister should apologise for saying buildings caught up in the cladding crisis are “not unsafe”, the firefighters’ union FBU has said. The union said the comments, made “apparently without justification”, came at prime minister’s questions in the House of Commons on 3 November.
FBU news release. Risks 1021.
Hazards news, 10 November 2021

Britain: Clyde naval base fire response dispute escalates
Unite members working for Capita Business Services Ltd at HM Naval Base (HMNB) Clyde have raised ‘safety critical’ concerns over the effectiveness of fire response cover as workers take part in strike action. The workers, who provide onsite fire cover for both Faslane and Coulport naval bases, have been involved in an overtime ban since 16 September, and 6-hour strike action on various days since 19 October.
Unite news release. Risks 1021.
Hazards news, 10 November 2021

Australia: Work deaths toll increases again
Workplace fatalities in Australia have increased for a second year running according to latest official figures. In a year that saw the conservative Morrison Government reject the inclusion of industrial manslaughter in model occupational health and safety (OHS) laws to be implemented by states, 194 workers lost their lives due to injuries at work.
ACTU news release. Safe Work Australia news release. Risks 1020.
Hazards news, 4 November 2021

Bangladesh: Workplace rights abuses on increase
Thirty-five thousand Bangladeshis die at work every year, and eight million are injured, but promises of action from the government to have come to nothing, the global union confederation ITUC has said. The union body adds that sexual violence is rife, millions of workplaces are barely monitored by government labour inspectors, and people are trapped in jobs with poverty wages.
ITUC news release. Watch and share the ITUC video ‘A better Bangladesh’ on Facebook and Twitter. #ABetterBangladesh Risks 1020.
Hazards news, 4 November 2021

Global: End ‘impunity’ for journalist deaths
More than 35 journalists around the world have been killed this year in the course of their work, some hit by bomb blasts, others personally sought out and killed in cold blood, figures from the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) have revealed. Commenting on 2 November - the United Nations International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists – UK journalists’ union NUJ joined the IFJ and its affiliates worldwide to demand that governments stop turning a blind eye to attacks on media workers and bring those who threaten journalists to justice.
NUJ news release. IFJ news release and end impunity campaign. Risks 1020.
Hazards news, 4 November 2021

Britain: Quarry firm fined after probe into worker’s death
A quarrying and construction company has been fined £130,000 over criminal health and safety failings uncovered in the wake of a worker’s death. Machine operator Pawel Kocik was crushed to death at Leiths (Scotland) Ltd’s Kishorn Quarry in Wester Ross in 2017.
HSE news release. Press and Journal. Risks 1020.
Hazards news, 4 November 2021

Britain: Director gets suspended jail sentence after death
The managing director of a scaffolding company has been fined after an employee died when he was struck from behind by a forklift truck. Leicester Magistrate’s Court heard how on 20 June 2016, Shaun Flynn had just finished loading a lorry in the yard of Boss Scaffolding (Northampton) Limited when he was struck from behind by the raised forks of a moving forklift truck.
HSE news release. Risks 1020.
Hazards news, 4 November 2021

Britain: Galvanizing firm fined after worker fatally injured
Hereford Galvanizers Limited, a company that undertakes hot dip galvanizing for the corrosion protection of steelwork, has been fined after an employee was fatally injured. Kidderminster Magistrates’ Court heard that on 2 February 2019 Jamie Allen was operating an overhead crane adjacent to a molten zinc bath, when a tubular steel brace exploded during galvanizing, causing it to ‘rocket’ across the workshop floor, striking the 28-year-old and causing fatal injuries.
HSE news release. Risks 1020.
Hazards news, 4 November 2021

Britain: Concrete supplier fined after tyre explosion fatality
A concrete supplier has been fined after an agency worker suffered fatal injuries following a tyre explosion. Dudley Magistrates’ Court heard how contract worker Nigel Schofield, 60, was using a compressed air line to inflate the tyre of an articulated wheel loader at Anytime Concrete (GB) of West Bromwich.
HSE news release. Risks 1020.
Hazards news, 4 November 2021

Global: IOSH urges businesses to look after their workers
The world’s businesses should ‘harness the wave of social change’ by putting the needs and welfare of people first, safety professionals’ organisation IOSH has urged. IOSH said it was making its call “as the Covid-19 pandemic, the rise of social justice movements and emerging global crises mean there is now more focus than ever on how businesses treat their workers, with investors and consumers paying close attention to how they make profit.”
IOSH news release and Catch the wave campaign. Risks 1020.
Hazards news, 4 November 2021

Britain: Bakkavor guilty again after employee crushed
A multinational food manufacturer has been fined after one of its employees sustained two broken ribs as a result of being crushed in an industrial cooker whilst working to clear a blocked water inlet. Lincoln Magistrates’ Court heard how the employee of Bakkavor Fresh Cook Ltd in Holbeach St Marks was crushed in the machine after its safety systems were over-ridden and work on the machine continued while it was live.
HSE news release. Food Manufacture. Risks 1019.
Hazards news, 26 October 2021

Britain: Director of fab firm fined over lost finger
The director of a handrail manufacturing company has been fined after an employee’s hand was drawn into a roller and crushed. Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 27 March 2019, an employee of Dealercast Ltd in Eccles was being trained by company director Chris Ellor to use a rolling machine to bend pieces of steel tube when the heavy-duty gloves he was wearing caught between the tubing and one of the rollers.
HSE news release. Risks 1019.
Hazards news, 26 October 2021

USA: Tragedy highlights safety crisis in film production
Hours before the fatal shooting with a prop gun of a cinematographer on the New Mexico set of the western Rust, the union camera crew walked off the set in a protest at working conditions. There has been widespread dissatisfaction with conditions facing film crews, with a first every national IATSE strike averted at the 11th hour on 16 October.
IATSE news release. LA Times. Labor Notes. The Independent. The Guardian. Mother Jones. Risks 1019.
Hazards news, 26 October 2021

Britain: Site firm convicted after crane operator electrocuted
A Bridgend company has been convicted of a criminal safety offence after a worker was electrocuted whilst operating a lorry mounted crane. Cardiff Crown Court heard how on 17 May 2016, ASL Access Scaffold Limited employee Martin Tilby, 32, was killed when the crane he was operating struck an overhead powerline as he was unloading materials in a field at Cowbridge, South Glamorgan.
HSE news release. Risks 1018.
Hazards news, 20 October 2021

Britain: Deliveries rule relaxation means more driver misery
The UK government’s announcement that it intends to relax lorry driving rules to allow foreign hauliers to make more consecutive deliveries will result in more driver misery and exploitation, the union Unite has warned. Under the present ‘cabotage’ rules, foreign haulage companies from Europe can send lorry drivers to make just two deliveries before they have to leave the UK – but the government intends to change this rule so that European haulage companies can require their drivers to make unlimited collections and deliveries during a two week period.
Unite news release. BBC News Online. Risks 1018.
Hazards news, 20 October 2021

Burkina Faso: Union outrage as building collapse kills 4
Trade unions in Burkina Faso have expressed outrage after the collapse of a building under construction at the Norbert Zongo University in Koudougou that resulted in the death of four people. In a press conference on 6 September, the unions – all affiliates of the global union federation BWI - sounded the alarm on ‘the rising number’ of buildings collapsing while under construction.
BWI news release. Risks 1017.
Hazards news, 13 October 2021

Britain: School trust fined over animal disease risks
A Nottingham-based school trust has been fined after pupils and staff were put at risk from infectious diseases carried by animals. Southern Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court heard how the Spencer Academies Trust, which operates 12 schools, failed to properly control the risk from zoonotic diseases - diseases than can be transmitted from animals to humans - to employees, pupils and visitors at one of its academies.
HSE news release.
Resources: Hazards guide to biohazards. Risks 1017.
Hazards news, 13 October 2021

Britain: RMT action warning on ‘dangerous’ driverless trains
Tube union RMT has warned of a campaign of action as it emerged that the government has placed adverts for a consultancy contract to explore the introduction of driverless trains on London Underground. General secretary Mick Lynch described the idea as “dangerous nonsense,” adding: “The news that the government is pressing ahead with wasting money on a consultancy project on driverless trains on London Underground when there are massive challenges facing the transport network shows their twisted set of priorities.”
RMT news release. Risks 1016.
Hazards news, 29 September 2021

Britain: Concerns over ‘unreliable’ SMART motorways tech
A combination of staff under ‘intolerable strain’ and ‘unreliable’ SMART motorways technology will lead to avoidable accidents, civil service union Prospect has warned. The union was commenting after a Daily Mail reporter who spent six weeks under cover at a control room said they “discovered alarming problems with the deadly roads where the hard shoulder is converted to a live lane.”
Prospect news release. Daily Mail. Risks 1016.
Hazards news, 29 September 2021

Britain: Labour backs firefighters on building safety
The Labour Party has backed action to address the post-Grenfell tragedy building safety crisis, calling for “sustained investment” in public services that could help resolve the crisis and prevent it continuing in new buildings. The FBU motion passed at the party’s conference calls for “more sustained investment in local authority building control, in fire service fire safety teams, fire inspectors and in other public agencies required to ensure building safety”, and opposes “privatisation, deregulation and contracting out” of these services.
FBU news release. Risks 1016.
Hazards news, 29 September 2021

Global: Make health and safety a fundamental right
New estimates suggesting the total work-related toll each year could be close to a ‘staggering’ 3 million deaths reinforce the need for occupational health and safety to be recognised as a fundamental right at work, IndustriALL has said. The global union said that in November this year the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) Governing Body will decide on whether to include on the agenda of its 2022 International Labour Conference the elevation of occupational health and safety to an ILO fundamental right.
IndustriALL news release. ITUC news release.
WHO/ILO Joint Estimates of the Work-related Burden of Disease and Injury, 2000-2016: Global Monitoring Report, WHO/ILO, September 2021. Risks 1016.
Hazards news, 29 September 2021

USA: New rules plan for work heat dangers
The Biden administration is to introduce the USA’s first ever labour standard aimed at protecting workers from extreme heat, as part of a growing recognition of the dangers posed by warming temperatures caused by climate change. The federal safety regulator, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), will draft its first rule governing heat exposure designed to protect those who work outdoors in agricultural, construction and delivery services as well as workers in warehouses, factories, and kitchens.
Statement by President Biden and Factsheet: Biden Administration Mobilizes to Protect Workers and Communities from Extreme Heat , 20 September 2021. OSHA news release and heat illness prevention campaign. National COSH news release. New York Times. Risks 1016.
Hazards news, 29 September 2021

Britain: Temp visas only prop up a broken system
UK government plans to relax immigration rules for lorry drivers and poultry processors are ‘propping up a broken and exploitative system’, Unite has warned. The union said depriving other countries of their workers will allow the low pay and unpleasant and stressful working conditions that are the root cause of the driver and chicken factory shortages to continue.
Unite news release. Government news releases on temporary poultry worker and HGV driver visas. Risks 1016.
Hazards news, 29 September 2021

Britain: Chemical firm fined £1m for fatal explosion
Briar Chemicals Ltd has been fined £1 million after a man died in an explosion at its site in Norwich. Chelmsford Magistrates Court heard how on the 27 July 2018, maintenance contractor Rob Cranston, 46, was carrying out repair work on a mixing vessel during a planned period of shutdown maintenance.
HSE news release. Evening News and related story. Risks 1015
Hazards news, 23 September 2021

Britain: Diving instructor fined after trainee dies
A technical diving instructor has been fined after he failed to properly assess the competency of two pupils prior to a deep-water dive in Scotland, which ended in a fatality. Ashley Roberts pleaded guilty to two criminal safety breaches and was fined £2,300; his firm Ash Roberts Technical Limited was dissolved on 9 July 2019.
HSE news release. Risks 1015.
Hazards news, 23 September 2021

Britain: Firm convicted after worker crushed at coal face
Three D’s Mining Ltd has been convicted of three criminal safety breaches and fined £100,000 following a roof fall on the NW9 coal face at Dan-y-Graig No 4 colliery located near the village of Crynant, South Wales. Swansea Crown Court heard that, on 15 November 2017, two workers were preparing the roof for the erection of supports with the use of a pneumatic chisel when 0.6 tonne of stone fell from the roof and hit one of the workers on his back.
HSE news release. Risks 1015.
Hazards news, 23 September 2021

Global: New work deaths figures must spur action
New estimates jointly released jointly by two UN agencies that indicate 19 work-related risk factors cause approaching two million deaths each year fall substantially short of the real toll, the global union confederation ITUC has warned. The figures were announced by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and World Health Organisation (WHO), with WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus commenting: “Our report is a wake-up call to countries and businesses to improve and protect the health and safety of workers by honouring their commitments to provide universal coverage of occupational health and safety services.”
ILO news release. WHO news release. ITUC news release.
WHO/ILO Joint Estimates of the Work-related Burden of Disease and Injury, 2000-2016: Global Monitoring Report, WHO/ILO, September 2021. ILO List of Occupational Diseases, Recommendation 194. World Congress on Safety and Health and related media advisory. Risks 1015.
Hazards news, 23 September 2021

Britain: Unite slams ‘reckless’ extension of driving limit
A UK government plan to continue the relaxation of maximum driving timing for lorry drivers is dangerous, reckless and potentially illegal, Unite has warned. The union said it has learned that the government is undertaking a technical consultation on continuing the relaxation on driving hours from 4 October until 23 January.
Unite news release. RoSPA news release. Risks 1015.
Hazards news, 23 September 2021

Britain: Not quite a Covid prosecution labelled a first
A construction contractor has become the first firm prosecuted following a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Covid spot check – although Covid risks were not cited explicitly in any of the related HSE enforcement actions, despite HSE claiming it was a ‘first’. Umar Akram Khatab, now resident in Bradford, pleaded guilty to criminal safety breaches and was sentenced to a 12-month community order and was also ordered to pay £3,000 towards costs.
HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 1015.
Hazards news, 23 September 2021

Global: Teleperformance job may have killed worker
For eight years, Glen Palaje worked at a Teleperformance call centre in Quezon City, Philippines. When he became sick with Covid in August 2020 - which his family and colleagues say he caught at on the job - his years of service were rewarded with “neglect,” according to one co-worker.
UNI news release. Washington Post. Risks 1014.
Hazards news, 16 September 2021

Global: Teleperformance job may have killed worker
For eight years, Glen Palaje worked at a Teleperformance call centre in Quezon City, Philippines. When he became sick with Covid in August 2020 - which his family and colleagues say he caught at on the job - his years of service were rewarded with “neglect,” according to one co-worker.
UNI news release. Washington Post. Risks 1014.
Hazards news, 16 September 2021

Britain: Union hits out at ‘pandemic profiteers’
It is ‘frankly insulting’ that Amazon’s key UK business paid just £3.8m more corporation tax last year than in 2019 when its sales increased by £1.89bn, the union GMB has said. GMB national officer Mick Rix said “despite making billions from lockdown shopping, and trousering millions in government contracts and subsidies, Amazon has paid a frankly insulting amount of tax back into Treasury coffers,” adding: “At the same time Amazon workers suffer unsafe, dehumanising work practices; breaking bones, falling unconscious and being taken away in ambulances.”
GMB news release. The Guardian. Risks 1014.
Hazards news, 16 September 2021

Britain: Food firm fined after workers gassed
A food manufacturing company has been fined after several employees were gassed, with two having to give up work as a result. Lincoln Magistrates Court heard that Holbeach firm AH Worth Ltd, formerly known as QV Foods Ltd, dipped cut potatoes in ‘Microsoak’, a chemical added to water to prevent browning, but it gave off toxic sulphur dioxide (SO2) gas, affected workers in the packhouse.
HSE news release. US NIOSH guide to sulphur dioxide risks at work. Risks 1013.
Hazards news, 8 September 2021

Britain: Worker killed in defective telehandler incident
A fencing manufacturer and the owner of the yard where the business operates have been fined following the death of an employee at the site. North Somerset Magistrates’ Court heard how on 14 August 2017, Roderick McKenzie Hopes was working for PA Fencing Ltd at the yard. A telescopic forklift, or telehandler, used to move timber was lifted too high and tipped over, knocking over some stacked timber which fell on to the 66-year-old, resulting in his death.
HSE news release. Somerset Live. Risks 1013.
Hazards news, 8 September 2021

Canada: Unions want a work deaths prosecutor
There must be immediate action to protect workers after the collapse of a high-profile criminal trial related to a young worker's death, unions in the Canadian province of British Columbia (BC) have said. The BC Federation of Labour president, Laird Cronk, described the decision to stay criminal negligence charges against Peter Kiewit Sons and two former managers as a “profound failure” of the justice system.
BCFED news release. USW news release. CBC News. Risks 1013.
Hazards news, 8 September 2021

Global: WHO hits back at asbestos lobby ‘misinformation’
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has hit out at the “misinformation” used to lobby governments about the supposed safety of chrysotile asbestos, which WHO has reiterated is a potent cause of cancer. The WHO clarification came in the wake of pro-asbestos comments by a Russian government minister.
WHO policy statement and disputed article. International Ban Asbestos Secretariat feature on Russian asbestos lobbying. Risks 1013.
Hazards news, 8 September 2021

Global: Brands and retailers back new safety accord
A new legally-binding international safety agreement is attracting support from top global brands and retailers. The International Accord for Health and Safety in the Garment and Textile Industry took effect on 1 September, with the number of firms signed up quickly toppping 100.
IndustriALL news release. UNI news release. International Accord for Health and Safety in the Textile and Garment Industry. Full list of signatories. Risks 1013.
Hazards news, 8 September 2021

Britain: Tube tragedy exposes need for safe staffing levels
The death of a passenger on a London Underground (LU) line highlights the need for safe staffing levels on the system, rail union RMT has said. The union was commenting after the publication of what it described as a ‘damning’ official report into the May 2020 fatality at Waterloo underground station.
RAIB report. RMT news release. BBC News Online. ITV News. Risks 1013.
Hazards news, 8 September 2021

Australia: Uber slammed for work deaths ‘cover-up’
Australian transport union TWU has slammed a ‘cover-up culture’ at Uber after it was revealed the rideshare giant failed to report over 500 reportable incidents in New South Wales. The TWU is calling on the federal government to create an independent body with the power “to tackle the root causes of safety breaches in exploitative businesses like Uber,” arguing that post-breach audits and low penalties will not prevent people being maimed or killed.
TWU news release. Risks 1012.
Hazards news, 2 September 2021

Qatar: Decade of migrant deaths go unexplained
World Cup host Qatar has failed to investigate the deaths of thousands of migrant workers in the past decade, according to a new report by Amnesty International. The human rights organisation said the majority of migrant worker deaths in Qatar are attributed to “natural causes”, cardiac or respiratory failure, noting these classifications are “meaningless” if the underlying cause of death goes unexplained.
Amnesty International news release and report, In the prime of their lives, August 2021. UNI World Players Association. The Guardian. Risks 1012.
Hazards news, 2 September 2021

Global: New accord on worker safety programmes
A new workplace safety agreement has been negotiated by global unions and textile and garment manufacturers. The deal signed by IndustriALL, UNI and leading apparel brands updates the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh and now includes provision to extend the programme to other countries, with a commitment to add at least one more country within two years.
IndustriALL news release. Bangladesh Accord news release and full text of the new International Accord for Health and Safety in the Textile and Garment Industry. CCC news release. Workers Rights Consortium news release. Reuters. Risks 1011.
Hazards news, 26 August 2021

Britain: Shipbuilder fined after young worker is killed
A Merseyside shipbuilding and repair company has been fined after a young employee was fatally injured when struck by a 31-foot steel post. Liverpool Magistrates’ Court heard how on 30 March 2017, 23-year-old Tristan Nuttall and four other workers from Carmet Marine Limited had been adapting or ‘regulating’ a bogie, wehn one of the bogie’s steel side-posts weighing approximately 1,800kg fell and fatally struck Tristan on the back of the head.
HSE news release. Risks 1011.
Hazards news, 26 August 2021

Britain: Spate of deaths prompts HSE farm safety alert
More must be done to improve farm safety after four fatalities on farms in just over a fortnight, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has warned. The tragedies, between 27 July and 10 August, came in the wake of HSE’s latest statistics on fatal injuries in agriculture, forestry and fishing in Great Britain; these showed the number of deaths in the sector almost doubled year-on-year, up from 23 in 2019/20 to 41 in 2020/21.
HSE news release. Fatal injuries in agriculture, forestry and fishing in Great Britain 2020/21, 19 July 2021. Risks 1010.
Hazards news, 19 August 2021

Australia: Costly bid to block women’s toilet
Australia’s federal building industry watchdog has defended its decision to spend more than half a million dollars unsuccessfully pursuing a union through the courts after organisers demanded a women’s toilet on a Melbourne worksite. The action by the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) came after a CFMEU official said there should be a union enterprise agreement covering a project, with the union also noting a woman working on the site had previously been forced to use the men’s toilet.
ACTU news release. Sydney Morning Herald. ABC News. Risks 1010.
Hazards news, 19 August 2021

Malaysia: Electronics firm told to act on Covid deaths
Malaysian company ST Microelectronics (STM) has been accused of putting profit before workers’ safety, after 19 employees died during a large scale workplace Covid-19 outbreak. The country’s Ministry of International Trade & Industry only ordered a total shutdown of the plant from 29 July until 4 August; prior to this the company only closed individual sections of the plant as Covid-19 cases were detected.
IndustriALL news release. Morning Star. Risks 1010.
Hazards news, 19 August 2021

USA: Amazon loses bid to stop NY safety probe
A US federal judge has dismissed Amazon.com Inc's attempt to block New York’s attorney general from investigating the online retailer's ability to protect warehouse workers from Covid-19. In a 10 August ruling, US District Judge Brian Cogan rejected Amazon's lawsuit claiming attorney general Letitia James acted in bad faith by trying to police its pandemic response, and stop its alleged retaliation against workers who were unhappy the company wasn't doing more.
Seattle Times. Commercial Observer. Reuters. Bloomberg. Risks 1010.
Hazards news, 19 August 2021

Britain: Retailers urged to back new Bangladesh Accord
Top British retailers are being urged to renew an agreement that led to dramatic improvements in labour and safety standards at the garment factories in Bangladesh making products sold worldwide. The original Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety in its current, legally binding, form is due to end on 31 August 2021 and there is a risk that brands will return to a weaker, voluntary system.
Usdaw news release. Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety. Risks 1010.
Hazards news, 19 August 2021

Korea: Foreign workers more likely to die at work
Foreign workers are three times as likely to be killed in South Korea’s workplaces as Korean nationals, official figures have indicated. Data from the Ministry of Employment and Labor submitted to Rep. Kang Eun-mi of the Justice Party showed that one in eight ― or 12 per cent ― of the victims of work fatalities over the past 18 months were workers of foreign nationality.
Korea Times. Risks 1009.
Hazards news, 11 August 2021

Korea: Safe rates for truck drivers pay off
A ‘safe rates’ pay system for truck drivers in operation in South Korea since January 2020 is working, new research has confirmed. Safe rates systems, which have been promoted by the sector’s global union ITF, set legal standards for fair pay and working conditions in road transport and make companies at the top of contracting chains responsible for ensuring the standards are met.
ITF news release. Analysis of the Early Impact of the Korean Safe Rates System and Proposals for Sustainable Implementation, Korean Public Service and Transport Workers’ Union Cargo Truckers’ Solidarity Division (KPTU-TruckSol) and the Korean Safe Rates Research Group (KSRRG), 2021. ITF safe rates webpages. Risks 1009.
Hazards news, 11 August 2021

Britain: Wood firm fined 910k after driver’s death
Wood products manufacturer Egger (UK) Limited has been fined after a self-employed lorry driver was killed making a routine delivery of recycled wood. Kilmarnock Sheriff Court heard that on 3 October 2017, Kenneth Aitchison, 60, was standing on open ground at the rear of the trailer of his articulated vehicle, when he was struck by a wheeled shovel loader operating in the yard at Egger’s Auchinleck premises in Scotland.
HSE news release. Risks 1008.
Hazards news, 4 August 2021

Britain: Freight firm convicted after boy’s electrocution
A freight firm has been fined £6.5 million after being convicted of criminal negligence over the death by electrocution of 11-year-old Harrison Ballantyne boy as he went to retrieve a football. WH Malcolm Limited, operator of the Daventry International Rail Freight Terminal, was sentenced at Northampton Crown Court following a prosecution brought by the rail regulator, the Office of Rail and Road (ORR).
ORR news release. Risks 1008.
Hazards news, 4 August 2021

Britain: Butcher escapes jail after band saw crimes
A butchery boss with a long history of ignoring machine guarding rules has escaped jail after a worker had his finger partially amputated by an inadequately guarded band saw. Younis & Sons Limited and its sole director Nadeem Hussain both pleaded guilty to one criminal safety offence at Birmingham Magistrates Court; the company was fined £46,800 and ordered to pay to court costs of £3,775 and Hussain, 46, received a 12-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, and was ordered to pay £3,775 in costs.
Birmingham Council news release. Risks 1008.
Hazards news, 4 August 2021

Australia: Government blamed for truck driver deaths
A damaging policy shift by Australia’s federal government is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of truck drivers, the Transport Workers’ Union (TWU) has charged. In April 2016, the federal government abolished the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal, despite its own report concluding that truck crashes would be reduced by 28 per cent.
TWU news release and Safe Rates Campaign. ITF safe rates webpages. Risks 1008.
Hazards news, 4 August 2021

Global: Teleperformance told to respect safety rights
Call centre giant Teleperformance has been told to correct shortcomings in its approach to worker health and safety and collective bargaining across the company’s global operations. The French National Contact Point (NCP) to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) issued the recommendations, in the wake of an April 2020 submission by global union UNI and French unions.
UNI news release. OEDC communique (in French). Risks 1008.
Hazards news, 4 August 2021

USA: Firms five times as likely to fight Covid fines
US employers are five times more likely to fight Covid-19 related citations compared to other workplace safety offences, an investigation has found. By April 2021, inspectors with California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health, better known as Cal-OSHA, had ordered roughly $4.6 million in fines for wrongdoing related to the Covid-19 in some 200 workplaces - but their lawyers have filed an onslaught of appeals, delayed paying their fines and sought deals to pay next to nothing.
Cal-OSHA Covid-19 related citations. Sacramento Bee. North Bay Business Journal. Bloomberg Law. CalMatters. Risks 1007.
Hazards news, 29 July 2021

USA: Gas leak that killed six was 'entirely avoidable'
Four companies have been fined a total of almost $1 million for a liquid nitrogen leak at a poultry plant in Gainesville, Georgia, that killed six employees on 28 January this year, federal officials have announced. An investigation by the US Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) found Foundation Food Group and Messer “failed to implement any of the safety procedures necessary to prevent the nitrogen leak, or to equip workers responding to it with the knowledge and equipment that could have saved their lives,” the agency said in a statement.
OSHA news release and citation. New York Times. Business Insider. The Hill. Risks 1007.
Hazards news, 29 July 2021

India: Migrant workers die in broken down bus smash
At least 18 migrant workers died after a truck crashed into their bus in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Yamuna Prasad, superintendent of police in Barabanki, said: “The bus probably broke down because it had about 140 passengers when its capacity was just 65.”
BBC News Online. Daily Mail. Risks 1007.
Hazards news, 29 July 2021

Britain: Lighting firm fined after forklift fatality
A lighting manufacturer in Blackburn has been fined after an employee was fatally injured when the forklift truck he was driving struck an overhead steel beam. Preston Magistrates’ Court heard that on 14 June 2019, Maciej Koldys, 36, was operating a forklift truck to move pallets, when the mast of the forklift truck hit a low overhead structural beam, which caused the truck to overturn.
HSE news release. Risks 1007.
Hazards news, 29 July 2021

Britain: Warning on deadly privatised fire inspections threat
The UK government’s Building Safety Bill is ‘vitally flawed’ and could allow ‘deadly’ private sector involvement in fire safety inspections, the firefighters’ union FBU has warned. FBU general secretary Matt Wrack, commenting after the draft law passed its second reading in parliament on 21 July, said it allowed for private sector firms to be brought in if fire and rescue services were not in a position to assist the new Building Safety Regulator.
FBU news release. Risks 1007.
Hazards news, 29 July 2021

USA: Snack workers strike over ‘suicide’ shifts
Hundreds of works at PepsiCo-owned Frito-Lay have taken strike action at a production plant in Topeka, Kansas over working conditions they say have seen workers die in the heat and endure forced overtime shifts known as ‘suicides’.  Workers who make household name snacks including Fritos, Doritos and Cheetos, are nominally supposed to work eight-hour shifts, but because of shortages, workers are often forced to add on an extra four hours before or after their shifts.
Frito-Lay statement, 19 July 2021. Motherboard. The Independent. Jacobin magazine. CBS News.
Risks 1006.
Hazards news, 22 July 2021

Britain: ‘Unacceptable’ agriculture tops deadly sectors list
The agriculture sector has been accused of an unacceptable neglect of safety after new official figures showed it remains top of the deadly workplaces table. Provisional figures from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) show from 1 April 2020 until 31 March 2021 41 people were killed in agriculture related activities in Great Britain, almost double the 23 deaths in the previous year.
HSE news release and report, Fatal injuries in agriculture, forestry and fishing in Great Britain 2020/21, 19 July 2021. Risks 1006.
Hazards news, 22 July 2021

Britain: Stress and fatigue causing farm accidents, study finds
Stress and fatigue have been identified as key causes of agricultural accidents, a study has concluded. The University of Aberdeen research team found that “lapses in situation awareness” related to stress and fatigue were a main contributory factor.
Farmers Weekly. BBC News Online. The Scotsman.
University of Aberdeen farm safety project and NTSAg website. Risks 1006.
Hazards news, 22 July 2021

Britain: Tool firm fined after engineering fatality
Cheltenham Tool Company Limited has been fined after an employee was fatally injured while moving heavy machinery. Cheltenham Magistrates’ Court heard how on 13 November 2019, 57-year-old Ian Challinor, a maintenance engineer at the company, was working with colleagues to move a large, heavy milling machine using a forklift and machine-moving skates when the machine became unstable and toppled onto him, causing fatal head injuries.
HSE news release. Risks 1006.
Hazards news, 22 July 2021

Britain: HSE ‘buries bad news on work deaths’
On the day all eyes were focused on the England football team’s Euro semi-final exploits, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) took the opportunity to “bury bad news on work deaths,” a workers’ safety campaign has alleged. The national Hazards Campaign said latest figures released by the safety regulator on 7 July show a ‘massive’ 25 per cent increase in reports of workplace fatalities in 2020/21, despite many workers during the reporting year being furloughed or working from home.
Hazards Campaign. HSE Covid-19 RIDDOR reports. Byline Times. Risks 1005.
Hazards news, 14 July 2021

Britain: Big upturn in work fatalities confirmed
Provisional figures released by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) show 142 workers were killed at work in Great Britain in 2020/21, an increase of 29 from the previous year. HSE indicates this is also an increase on the average level over the last five years (2016/17-2020/21) of 136 and do not include deaths arising from occupational exposure to disease, including Covid-19.
HSE news release. Work-related fatal injuries: Fatal injuries in Great Britain, 2021, HSE, 7 July 2021. HSE statistics webpage. UNISON news release. BSC news release. FarmingUK News. Risks 1005.
Hazards news, 14 July 2021

Britain: Deaths from key asbestos cancer remain over 2,000
The asbestos related cancer mesothelioma is stilling killing over 2,000 people in Great Britain each year, latest official figures show. New statistics from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) show 2,369 people died from mesothelioma in Great Britain in 2019 - this is seven per cent lower than the average of 2,540 deaths over the previous seven years.
Mesothelioma: Mesothelioma statistics for Great Britain, 2021, HSE, 7 July 2021. UNISON news release. Risks 1005.
Hazards news, 14 July 2021

Britain: MoD outsourcing undermines safety, Unite warns
The ongoing outsourcing of civilian functions at the Ministry of Defence (MoD) is leading to cuts in pay, a deterioration in standards, severe reductions in service levels and increases in safety risks, Unite has warned. Giving evidence at the defence select committee on 12 July, Unite told MPs that outsourcing of services frequently creates a two tier workforce, with new starters recruited on vastly inferior terms and conditions from workers who were ‘TUPEd’ over on MoD contracts, retaining their existing contracts.
Unite news release. Defence select committee inquiry. Risks 1005.
Hazards news, 14 July 2021

Bangladesh: Factory boss charged with murder after deadly fire
A factory owner in Bangladesh has been arrested and charged with murder after 52 people, including children, died in fire that broke out on 8 July. Abul Hashem, the owner of Hashem Foods, and four of his sons were among eight people detained on 10 July.
IUF-AP statements on the fire, inaction by the company prior to the fire, call for justice and child victims. Daily Star. New Age. South China Morning Post.  Morning Star. BBC News Online and related story. Risks 1005.
Hazards news, 14 July 2021

Britain: Firm caught out using banned asbestos
A manufacturing firm has been fined for using banned asbestos components imported from its sister company in China. Power Link Machines (UK) Ltd pleaded guilty to criminal safety offences after the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) was informed the company was using gaskets within its generator sets that contained asbestos.
HSE news release. Risks 1004.
Hazards news, 7 July 2021

Britain: Warehouse services firm fined after worker electrocuted
A warehouse management solutions company has been fined after an employee was electrocuted while servicing an air compressor. Maidstone Magistrates’ Court heard that on 8 December 2017, Logistex Limited employee Andrew Meade was carrying out pre-planned maintenance on an air compressor at a distribution centre in Gravesend, when he was electrocuted.
HSE news release. Risks 1004.
Hazards news, 7 July 2021

Asia: Campaigners inflict major blow on asbestos trade
After many years of campaigning, the global ban asbestos campaign has chalked up a major win as a top funder of infrastructure work said no to the fatal fibre. The Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has amended its Environmental and Social Framework to exclude asbestos containing materials from AIIB-financed projects.
APHEDA news release. AIIB revised Environmental and Social Framework, 2021. Risks 1003.
Hazards news, 30 June 2021

Belgium: Union concern after migrant site workers die
Construction unions have expressed serious concerns after five workers were killed and another nine were injured at a site in Antwerp, Belgium. The tragedy occurred on 19 June after a section of a school building under construction collapsed, pulling down the scaffolding supporting it.
BWI news release. The Guardian. Brussels Times. Risks 1003.
Hazards news, 30 June 2021

Britain: Car firm convicted after apprentices get chemical burns
A car dealership has been fined after two apprentices suffered chemical burns. Leicestershire Magistrates’ Court heard how on 15 March 2018 two apprentices were working at Mercedes-Benz of Northampton, cleaning the vehicle ramps in the workshop using a chemical from an unlabelled barrel.
HSE news release. Risks 1003.
Hazards news, 30 June 2021

Britain: British Airways hit with £1.8m serious injury fine
British Airways has been fined following a vehicle collision at Terminal 5 of Heathrow Airport with left a worker with serious crush injuries. Southwark Crown Court heard that on 16 March 2018, an employee was struck by a tug pulling a train of dollies, the vehicles used to transport baggage around the airport and was knocked under another passing tug with dollies loaded with luggage.
HSE news release. Get Surrey. Risks 1003.
Hazards news, 30 June 2021

Australia: Mine fire report fingers contract work hazards
An inquiry into a “terrifying” accident last year in which five mineworkers sustained serious burns has found that labour hire and contract work is “entrenched” in the Queensland coal mining industry and has recommended that employers and labour suppliers bear joint responsibility for safety compliance.  The Queensland Coal Mining Board of Inquiry's final report into an incident at Anglo American's Grosvenor coal mine in May last year concludes that “there is a perception among coal mine workers that a labour hire worker or contractor who raises safety concerns at a mine might jeopardise their ongoing employment.”
Report Part 2, Queensland Coal Mining Board of Inquiry, Terry Martin SC and Andrew Clough, May 2021. Workplace Express. National Resources Review. Mirage News. Risks 1002.
Hazards news, 23 June 2021

Global: Governments back ‘urgent’ workplace safety action
A resolution on ‘a human-centred recovery from the Covid-19 crisis’ adopted unanimously by governments at the International Labour Conference (ILC) this month includes wide-ranging calls for action to improve occupational health and safety. The ILC resolution is supportive of efforts to improve ratification of and adherence to relevant international instruments, including existing International Labour Organisation (ILO) fundamental rights at work, which cover child labour, forced labour, freedom from discrimination, and the right to organise and to collective bargaining.
Resolution concerning a global call to action for a human-centred recovery from the COVID-19 crisis that is inclusive, sustainable and resilient, Record of proceedings, Record No. 5A, International Labour Conference –109th Session, 16 June 2021 [see 11B, page 5]. ILO news release.  ITUC news release. ITUC deputy general secretary Owen Tudor on twitter. ITUC/Hazards Fundamental safety factfile. Risks 1002.
Hazards news, 23 June 2021

USA: Smithfield Foods is sued over ‘false’ safety claims
Smithfield Foods was one of the first companies to warn that the US was in danger of running out of meat as coronavirus infections ripped through processing plants in April 2020 and health officials pressured the industry to halt some production to protect workers. The lawsuit filed by Food and Water Watch, a consumer advocacy group, notes: “Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, Smithfield has misled and continues to mislead consumers in the District of Columbia about the state of the national meat supply chain and the company’s workplace safety practices.”
Public Justice Food Project news release. Food and Water Watch versus Smithfield Food, Inc., Superior Court of the District of Columbia, 16 June 2021. New York Times. Risks 1002.
Hazards news, 23 June 2021

Britain: Tory MP called out on Grenfell safety snub
David Badillo, a union rep for the firefighters’ union FBU who was one of the first on the scene of the Grenfell Tower disaster, has challenged a Conservative MP over a visit to the local fire station. Kensington MP Felicity Buchan voted against implementing recommendations of the Grenfell inquiry despite representing the community affected by the tragedy.
FBU news release. Dave Badillo’s tweet. Risks 1002.
Hazards news, 23 June 2021

Britain: ‘Totally inadequate’ death factory boss escapes jail
A “totally inadequate managing director” of a wood mill where four people died in a blast has been given a suspended prison sentence. George Boden, 65, was given a nine-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, and fined £12,000; the company admitted a criminal safety offence last year and was fined £75,000.
BBC News Online. Stoke Sentinel. Manchester Evening News. Risks 1002.
Hazards news, 23 June 2021

Britain: Private security firm sentenced after employee attacked
Private security company G4S Care and Justice Services (UK) Ltd has been fined £250,000 after an employee suffered life-changing injuries when he was assaulted at a young offenders training facility in Milton Keynes. The secure care officer (SCO) at Oakhill Secure Training Centre suffered brain damage and had a plate fitted in his skull.
HSE news release. Risks 1002.
Hazards news, 23 June 2021

Britain: Amazon worker injury spikes linked to shopping events
Injuries to Amazon workers spike in the build-up to key sales dates like Prime Day, GMB research has shown. The union’s analysis of ambulance call outs to Amazon warehouses reveals an increase before Prime Day, Black Friday and Christmas.
GMB news release. Risks 1002.
Hazards news, 23 June 2021

Global: Amazon treats workers as ‘disposable’
“With its unrealistic and body-breaking productivity goals, and intrusive employee surveillance, Amazon treats workers as disposable items,” global union UNI has said. Commenting on Prime Day, it added: “The Amazon system is, by design, chewing workers in and spitting them out at a pace unparalleled in modern history.”
UNI news release. New York Times. Risks 1002.
Hazards news, 23 June 2021

Britain: Public support for union protection at Amazon
A new Unite poll of 2,000 UK residents found more than threequarters of respondents (76 per cent) believe Amazon workers should be able to join a trade union if they choose without interference from the company. The survey by Survation for the union found that for workers indirectly employed in the “gig economy” by Amazon, 74 per cent of the public believe Amazon also has a responsibility to provide them with fair working conditions.
Unite news release, Action on Amazon facebook page and hotline. Morning Star. Risks 1002.
Hazards news, 23 June 2021

Britain: Outrage at HSE defence of not ‘serious’ Covid ranking
The Labour Party has condemned the “outrageous decision” not to re-classify Covid-19 as a “serious workplace risk” following a review by Health and Safety Executive (HSE) bosses. After top management at HSE reconsidered the classification in April, the government work safety regulator announced on 16 June that it would not change, despite reports that giving this coronavirus a “significant risk” consequence descriptor — less severe than “serious” — meant HSE inspectors did not have the power to halt dangerous working.
Review of enforcement during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, HSE, 16 June 2021. Labour Party news release. Morning Star. Risks 1002.
Hazards news, 23 June 2021

HSE ‘concocted’ complacent Covid ranking
An evidence review by Hazards magazine is strongly critical of HSE’s defence of its ‘significant’ consequence descriptor for work-related Covid-19. It concludes: “There are genuine grounds for concern that HSE concocted arguments of convenience to define a pandemic in the workplace as something less than ‘serious’, to fit a narrative decided elsewhere by government,” adding “in doing so workers were sacrificed.”
Rubbed out, Hazards magazine, number 153, 2021. An evidence review into the deadly failures of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) throughout the pandemic, Hazards magazine, 10 April 2021. Risks 1002.
Hazards news, 23 June 2021

Britain: Government’s ‘reckless’ sick pay shocker killed workers
Evidence the UK government deliberately suppressed information on how workers could be temporarily furloughed on 80 per cent of their wages when forced to self-isolate due to Covid-19 has exposed a “reckless” approach that has “cost lives”, Unite has said. The union was commenting after emails obtained by the Politico website revealed that in January and February this year — when the second wave was surging —  the Treasury instructed senior government officials to conceal from the public how a little-known part of the furlough scheme could be used to access isolation sick pay, as the cost of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme soared.
Unite new release. Politico. Risks 1001.
Hazards news, 16 June 2021

Britain: One worker in ten ‘forced back into workplace’
Bosses are blatantly ignoring official Covid guidance by forcing staff back into workplaces, a TUC poll has revealed. The TUC comments came as the government put back the planned 21 June easing of restrictions in England for another four weeks until 19 July, reiterating its work from home if you can guidance.
TUC news release. Prime minister’s office news release. NHS Confederation news release. BBC News Online. Morning Star. Risks 1001.
Hazards news, 16 June 2021

Britain: Bell foundry fined over lead exposure
Britain's last traditional bell foundry has been fined £13,333 after workers were exposed to potentially harmful lead dust during restoration work. The men were carrying out repairs at St Peter's Church in Barton-upon-Humber on behalf of the John Taylor Bell Foundry when the incident happened.
HSE news release. BBC News Online. Risks 1001.
Hazards news, 16 June 2021

Australia: Targeting exploited riders will led to deaths
The Transport Workers’ Union in Australia has slammed the New South Wales (NSW) state government’s new food delivery laws, saying the targeting and punishment of exploited riders will add to the deadly pressures they face. NSW minister for better regulation Kevin Anderson revealed riders will receive unique identification numbers and be targeted by police in compliance blitzes.
TWU news release. NSW government news release. Sydney Morning Herald. The Guardian. Risks 1000.
Hazards news, 10 June 2021

Global: Shame of ‘scandalous’ child labour figures
A reversal in the long-term downward trend in child labour shames the world, the global union confederation ITUC has said. The new joint ILO and UNICEF report warns that progress to end child labour has stalled for the first time in 20 years, with the total number of children in child labour increasing by over eight million in the period 2016-2020, while the absolute number of children in hazardous work rose by 6.5 million.
ITUC news release. UNICEF news release. ILO news release, related release, video and ILO-UNICEF report, Child Labour: Global estimates 2020, trends and the road forward.  The Guardian. Risks 1000.
Hazards news, 10 June 2021

India: Many dead in India chemical plant fire
At least 18 workers have died in a fire at a chemical plant on the outskirts of the western Indian city of Pune. Some 37 workers were trapped inside the SV Aqua Technologies factory when the blaze started in the afternoon of 7 June.
Pune Mirror. BBC News Online. Hindustan Times. Risks 1000.
Hazards news, 10 June 2021

India: Court backs unions on carmaker Covid safety
An Indian court has ordered safety agencies to visit carmakers in the southern state of Tamil Nadu to draw up uniform safety guidelines for workers during a new and devastating wave of Covid-19 infections. Unions acting on behalf of workers at the Indian unit of Renault-Nissan had asked the Madras High Court for operations to be halted, saying social distancing norms were being flouted and the risk to their lives outweighed the health benefits provided by the company.
Saltwire. Risks 1000.
Hazards news, 10 June 2021

Britain: Site giant fined after worker crushed to death
A construction company has been fined £700,000 over its criminal safety failings after one of its employees was crushed by a dumper truck. John Cameron, who was in his early 60s, was working for BAM Nuttall during the building of an electricity substation at Blackhillock, near Keith in Moray, Scotland.
BBC News Online. Risks 1000.
Hazards news, 10 June 2021

Britain: Employment rights talk, but no employment rights action
Unions have said the government’s announcement about a new workers’ rights watchdog will not have a meaningful impact if it isn’t accompanied by new employment rights. Mike Clancy, general secretary of the civil service union Prospect, said said improvements to employment protection were also needed, calling for the government “to end the delay and bring forward the Employment Bill.”
Usdaw news release. RMT news release. GMB news release. Prospect news release. BEIS news release. Risks 1000.
Hazards news, 10 June 2021

Britain: Biggest construction project recognises ‘fundamental’ safety
Unions and employers on Europe’s biggest construction project have signed a declaration recognising occupational health and safety as a ‘fundamental’ right at work. Unite signed the joint declaration with EDF Nuclear New Build at the Hinkley Point C (HPC) site in Somerset.
BWI news release and declaration. ITUC campaign and fundamental safety factfile. Risks 1000.
Hazards news, 10 June 2021

Britain: Union action kills off electrician deskilling plans
A plan by two major building firms that union members warned could have led to dangerous deskilling of electrical work on site has been abandoned. The union Unite welcomed confirmation by contractors Balfour Beatty and NG Bailey that they remain committed to the existing Joint Industry Board (JIB) agreement and the training of fully qualified electricians on the Hinkley Point C (HPC) project, dropping plans to introduce training standards for a new position of ‘electrical support operative’.
Unite news release and 28 February statement Hinkley Point C and Threatened Deskilling of Electricians. Balfour Beatty Bailey joint venture (BBB JV) statement. Risks 1000.
Hazards news, 10 June 2021

Bangladesh: Garment safety transition accord extended
Negotiations on the future of the 2018 Transition Accord on labour standards in the Bangladesh garment sector are to continue after global unions and international fashion brands agree to a three-month extension. The deal between global unions UNI and IndustriALL and a negotiating committee representing leading fashion brands must still be signed by the individual brands.
IndustriALL news release. UNI news release. Risks 999.
Hazards news, 2 June 2021

Britain: Covid firm fined after worker seriously injured
Kepak Group Limited (formally 2 Sisters Red Meat Limited), a food firm hit by large scale Covid-19 outbreaks, has been fined £600,000 for criminal safety breaches after a worker was seriously injured. A company’s safety record should be taken into account when deciding on enforcement action over Covid breaches, including prosecution, under HSE’s Enforcement Management Model, however neither firm faced prosecution or sanction following major outbreaks.
HSE news release. Risks 999.
Hazards news, 2 June 2021

Britain: Waste firm convicted after traffic marshal is killed
Grundon Waste Management has been convicted of a criminal health and safety offence after traffic marshal Kiril Karadzhov was hit and killed by a waste lorry at a construction site at the former BBC Television Centre. In November 2020, construction logistics provider, Wilson James Limited, was fined for its role in the incident and fined £850,000 plus £11,750 in costs.
HSE news release and earlier news release. Materials Waste Recycling. Risks 999.
Hazards news, 2 June 2021

Britain: Director fined after teen injured in fall from height
Company boss Wayne McKnight has been fined for criminal safety breaches after a 17-year-old worker fell from a mezzanine floor to the ground below. McKnight, trading as RJE Construction, pleaded guilty to a criminal breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2015 and was fined £500 and ordered to pay costs of £1,300.
HSE news release. Risks 999.
Hazards news, 2 June 2021

Britain: Many new school buildings ‘have combustible insulation’
Dozens of schools have been built using combustible insulation since the material was banned on high-rise apartment blocks after the Grenfell Tower disaster, raising fears for safety. More than 70 schools are likely to have used plastic foam insulation, which burns, since it was banned on residential buildings over 18 metres in height in December 2018, according to industry research.
The Guardian. Risks 999.
Hazards news, 2 June 2021

Britain: FBU protects ‘vital’ fire safety apparatus
The firefighters’ union FBU has successfully overturned a policy it said would have “endangered firefighters’ lives and undermined public safety.” The policy proposed by London Fire Brigade (LFB) would have allowed firefighters fighting a fire in a tall building, to be deployed without breathing apparatus (BA) including an air supply.
FBU news release. LFB statement, 25 May 2021. Risks 999.
Hazards news, 2 June 2021

Britain: New Amazon safety tech is a dangerous admission
Amazon has finally admitted it has a workplace safety problem after introducing new health and safety technology to one of its warehouses, GMB has said. A site in Yorkshire has been chosen by the online giant to trial technology in its UK operations which it says will support safer ways of working - including automated guided vehicles and robot sorters.
GMB news release. Morning Star. Hackney Gazette. Risks 998.
Hazards news, 26 May 2021

Britain: Bus win means walk out on remote sign-on is off
Planned London bus strikes slated for 25 May were called off after the operator Metroline agreed to halt a remote sign-on process Unite warned would lead to fatigue, lack of access to welfare facilities and other hazards. The dispute involving more than 4,000 bus drivers was prompted by Metroline’s plans to introduce the controversial system, in which drivers do not report to a depot but meet a bus along a route, such as at a bus stop.
Unite news release. Risks 998.
Hazards news, 26 May 2021

Britain: MP gets ‘slap on the wrist’ for sexual misconduct
In any normal employment setting the “inappropriate and predatory” behaviour of MP Rob Roberts would probably have been classed as gross misconduct and seen him fired, the civil service union Prospect has said. The union was commenting after the Conservative MP for Delyn was found by an independent panel to be guilty of sexual misconduct and suspended from parliament for six weeks.
Prospect news release. Independent Excerpt Panel report, 25 May 2021. BBC News Online. Risks 998.
Hazards news, 26 May 2021

Britain: Employers ‘massively under-reporting’ Covid deaths
The number of people who have died of work-related Covid-19 is being “massively under-reported” by employers, according to a new TUC report. ‘RIDDOR, Covid and under-reporting’ highlights a huge discrepancy between Covid work-related deaths reported by employers and data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and Public Health England.
TUC news release. RIDDOR, Covid and under-reporting , TUC, 23 May 2021. The Observer. Morning Star.
Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013. Risks 998.
Hazards news, 26 May 2021

Britain: Boss jailed for failing to report lost leg
A builder has been imprisoned for 24 weeks after he failed to report a serious incident at a construction site which led to a worker’s leg being amputated. Trading as Surrey Conversions, Paul Adams pleaded guilty to a criminal breach of the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR) and was handed a 24-week jail sentence and was ordered to pay costs of £2,033.
HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 997.
Hazards news, 19 May 2021

Zimbabwe: Safety campaign in small-scale mining
Campaigns by trade unions, civil society organisations and mine affected communities in Zimbabwe are seeking to improve the deadly working conditions of miners by formalising artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM). IndustriALL, the global union for the mining sector, says with no other source of income, over one million miners, or 14 per cent of the country’s labour force, continue to look for minerals, especially gold, to eke out a living.
IndustriALL news release. Risks 996.
Hazards news, 13 May 2021

Canada: Renewed call to hold deadly employers to account
Canada’s unions are marking the anniversary of the 1992 Westray mining disaster by calling for negligent employers to be held accountable in the event of a workplace death or injury, through effective enforcement of the Westray law. The first known criminal probe into a Covid-19 workplace outbreak occurred in January when the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) initiated a criminal investigation into the 10 May 2020 death of Benito Quesada, a worker at the Cargill meat packing plant in High River, Alberta.
CLC news release. Risks 996.
Hazards news, 13 May 2021

Global: Companies urged by UN to protect seafarers
A wide-ranging human rights checklist has been issued to businesses in the maritime industry to protect seafarers stranded on ships due to new Covid-19 variants and government-imposed travel restrictions. The joint initiative by the UN Global Compact, the UN Human Rights Office, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has created a Human Rights Due Diligence Tool for cargo owners and charterers.
UN news release. Risks 996.
Hazards news, 13 May 2021

Britain: Plan to boost workers’ rights absent from plan
The TUC has accused the government of ‘rowing back’ on its promise to boost workers’ rights, after ministers failed to include an employment bill in the Queen’s Speech. Commenting on the decision to exclude the bill from the 11 May Queen’s Speech, TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said “the government has rowed back on its promise boost to workers’ rights by not bringing forward its long overdue employment bill.”
TUC news release. Queen’s Speech, 11 May 2021. GMB news release. Unite news release. NUJ news release. Prospect news release. BBC News Online. Risks 996.
Hazards news, 13 May 2021

Britain: Union safety first call as train cracks stop services
The cancellation of train services after cracks were found in the high-speed fleet show the need for rigorous safety controls, rail unions have said. Eight trains in the fleet were taken out of service last week after the hairline cracks were discovered. Great Western Railway (GWR) said the cracks were found during routine maintenance of two of its Hitachi 800 trains and added “possible issues” had been discovered on another six trains, which had been withdrawn from service while an investigation was carried out.
RMT news release. TSSA news release. BBC News Online. Risks 996.
Hazards news, 13 May 2021

Britain: RMT accuses rail firm Abellio of cutting corners on safety
Rail union RMT has accused ‎Abellio of playing fast and loose with safety on its trains. The union said that during industrial action the company has been using unqualified ‘scab labour’ to act as a second person on trains responsible for fare collection, despite these volunteers lacking the knowledge, experience and safety competencies required of the job.
RMT news release, related news release and petition. Risks 996.
Hazards news, 13 May 2021

Britain: ‘Remote sign-on’ prompts more bus action
London bus operator Metroline’s decision not to drop permanently its controversial ‘remote sign-on’ policy will lead to five days of strike action that will cause serious disruption to services in the capital, Unite has said. The union announced 48 hours of strike action by more than 4,000 bus drivers will take place on Tuesday 25 May and Wednesday 26 May, to be followed by a 72-hour strike from 7 June to 9 June.
Unite news release. Risks 996.
Hazards news, 13 May 2021

Britain: Inquest into Covid death of Belly Mujinga welcomed
An inquest is to be held into the death of rail worker Belly Mujinga, more than a year after she died of Covid-19. North London Coroner Andrew Walker, in a ruling welcomed by Belly’s union TSSA, said there was reason to suspect that Ms Mujinga’s death was “unnatural.”
TSSA news release. Morning Star. Risks 996.
Hazards news, 13 May 2021

Britain: Under 1-in-200 workplaces inspected during pandemic
Just 1-in-218 workplaces have been inspected by a workplace safety regulator during the pandemic, a TUC analysis has revealed The TUC’s research, covering the period from March 2020 to April 2021, was released ahead of indoor hospitality reopening on 17 May.
TUC news releases. The TUC Action Plan to reform the labour market enforcement system, May 2021. Risks 996.
Hazards news, 13 May 2021

USA: Union report shows 275 US workers killed a day
In 2019, 5,333 working people were killed on the job and an estimated 95,000 died from occupational diseases, according to a new report from the US national union federation AFL-CIO. ‘Death on the job: The toll of neglect’ reveals that every day, on average, 275 US workers die from hazardous working conditions.
AFL-CIO news release and report, Death on the job: The toll of neglect, 4 May 2021. Report summary. Risks 995.
Hazards news, 6 May 2021

Europe: Huge fall in labour inspections raises Covid risk
The number of labour inspections has collapsed across Europe over the last decade, leaving workplaces less prepared for the Covid-19 pandemic. New research from the Europe-wide trade union confederation ETUC reveals that safety inspections have been cut by a fifth since 2010, falling from 2.2 million annual visits to 1.7 million.
ETUC news release. Risks 995.
Hazards news, 6 May 2021

Britain: Firefighters honour 2,300 fallen colleagues
Firefighters across the UK held a minute’s silence at midday on 4 May for Firefighters’ Memorial Day, in memory of more than 2,300 firefighters who have died in the line of duty. Firefighters and control staff stood outside their stations and workplaces and sounded their sirens to commemorate the fallen firefighters, including two serving UK firefighters who have lost their lives to Covid-19 over the last year.
FBU news release and Firefighters’ Memorial Day website. Risks 995.
Hazards news, 6 May 2021

Britain: Bosses still cash in as their workers die
Calls are growing for an end to the practice of paying executives health and safety bonuses if none of their employees die on the job, as an analysis revealed the average value of a human life in some boardrooms under such schemes is as little as £33,000. The research, by the shareholder advisory firm Pensions & Investment Research Consultants (PIRC), looked at annual reports from 38 FTSE 350 companies in which at least one person died at work between 2015 and 2019 and found that at least two had not reported docking their top executive’s bonus at all after employees died, while those that did imposed an average cut of £33,628 – the equivalent of less than 1 per cent of the executive’s total annual pay.
The Guardian. Risks 995.
Hazards news, 6 May 2021

Britain: HSE condemned for going easy on offshore criminal
Offshore union RMT has responded with concern to the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) light-touch action after a serious safety incident in the offshore decommissioning sector. The safety offences came to light in 2020 when a video was circulated of a dangerous occurrence during decommissioning work carried out by contractor Ocean Kinetics on the Buchan Alpha rig in waters off Shetland.
RMT news release. Energy Voice. Shetland News, including the video clip. Risks 995.
Hazards news, 6 May 2021

Britain: Official figures hide thousands of work Covid deaths
Official worker fatality figures are hiding thousands of work-related Covid deaths, the union GMB has said. Just 111 people died at work during the year to 31 March, according to HSE figures, but GMB said according to the government’s own statistics, at least 8,000 working age deaths have been linked to Covid in England and Wales in 2020.
GMB news release. Risks 995.
Hazards news, 6 May 2021

Britain: Government fire adviser pick a 'harbinger of doom'
Firefighters must be ready to fight ‘tooth and nail’ for their service, the FBU has said, after a service slashing fire boss was appointed as a government adviser on forthcoming reform to fire and rescue services in England. The firefighters’ union was commenting on the selection of former National Fire Chief’s Council (NFCC) chair and service slashing former fire chief Roy Wilsher as the person who would advise the Home Office ahead of a white paper, due later this year.
FBU news release. Risks 994.
Hazards news, 28 April 2021

Britain: Transport operator fined £1.5m after worker electrocuted
Tyne & Wear Metro operator Nexus has been fined £1.5m after a maintenance worker was electrocuted. Nexus pleaded guilty at Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Crown Court following the death of John Bell at the company’s South Gosforth depot on 6 July 2014.
ORR news release. Construction Enquirer. Newcastle Chronicle. Risks 994.
Hazards news, 28 April 2021

Britain: Director evades jail after a decade of crimes
A buy to let property developer and company director have been fined for poor health and safety standards on a construction site in Cardiff. JNR Developers Limited pleaded guilty to a criminal safety offence and was fined £32,000 plus £8,000 costs and Mehrded Chegounchei, who has been guilty of safety crimes spanning a decade, pleaded guilty to a criminal safety breach and received a six month custodial sentence, suspended for 12 months, and was ordered to undertake 80 hours of unpaid work.
HSE news release. Risks 994.
Hazards news, 28 April 2021

Britain: Action call as agriculture deaths show steep increase
An analysis of workplace deaths in agriculture by Unite has shown a steep increase in fatalities in the sector. Figures for the period April 2019 to March 2020 - show there were a total of 20 deaths in the agricultural sector, but according to the Health and Safety Executive’s fatality list for 2020/21, by the third week of February there had already been 33 deaths, an increase of 61 per cent.
Unite news release. Health and Safety Executive fatality list for 2020/21. Morning Star. Risks 994.
Hazards news, 28 April 2021

Britain: ‘Work should support life – not endanger it’, says IOSH
IOSH, the largest organisation of safety professionals’ worldwide, says 28 April’s International Workers’ Memorial Day is a reminder of the importance of the role played by the occupational safety and health profession in protecting workers. Jimmy Quinn, president of IOSH, said: “IOSH has always advocated that the best approach is prevention first.”
IOSH news release. Risks 994.
Hazards news, 28 April 2021

Global: Why unions make a stand on 28 April
As workers around the world who have lost their lives to workplace accidents and disease are commemorated on 28 April, trade unions are pressing two key demands to save lives, says the global union confederation ITUC. First, it says occupational health and safety must be given the status of a fundamental right by the International Labour Organisation (ILO); the second priority is for Covid-19 to be classified as an occupational disease.
ITUC news release. ITUC photostory – Why occupational health and safety must be a fundamental right at work. EN | ES | FR. ITUC/Hazards 28 April fundamental factfile. Risks 994.
Hazards news, 28 April 2021

Global: Union frees seafarer after years on abandoned ship
Seafarer Mohammad Aisha last week boarded a plane en route to his native Syria, ending a four-year battle where he was forced to live on an abandoned ship in the Suez Canal while the vessel waited to be sold. He is free because the global seafarers’ union ITF offered to have one of its union representatives in Egypt take Mr Aisha’s place and become the legal guardian of the vessel.
ITF news release. The Independent. Risks 994.
Hazards news, 28 April 2021

Global: Work to keep garment factories safe must continue
In the wake of the Rana Plaza factory collapse in 2013, in which over 1,100 garment workers died, the groundbreaking Bangladesh Accord was created. The legally binding agreement has transformed factory safety in Bangladesh’ garment industry, saved lives, supported freedom of association and increased collective bargaining.
UNI news. IndustriALL news release and related story. Thomson Reuters Foundation Op Ed. Toronto Star. Related news: CLC news release. Clean Clothes Campaign news release. Risks 994.
Hazards news, 28 April 2021

Britain: Wrongly accused Post Office worker took his own life
A former post office worker killed himself after he was wrongly accused of stealing. Martin Griffiths, who took his own life in 2013 at the age of 59, was one of many post office workers who died with convictions against their names and whose lives were “irreparably ruined” after they were wrongly prosecuted by the Post Office.
Evening Standard. BBC News Online. The Guardian and related story. Morning Star. More on work-related suicide.
ACTION! Use the Hazards e-postcard to tell the HSE to recognise, record and take action to prevent work-related suicides. www.hazards.org/hsesuicide Risks 994.
Hazards news, 28 April 2021

Britain: PM must set timetable for Covid-19 public inquiry
The TUC is calling for an immediate public inquiry into the handling of the Covid-19 pandemic. The TUC says that alongside scrutinising the quality of decision-making across the pandemic response in government, the public inquiry must specifically look at infection control and workplace safety, including the failure to provide adequate financial support to self-isolate, PPE availability for health and care staff and other frontline workers throughout the crisis, the effectiveness of test and trace, and the failure to enforce the law on workplace safety.
TUC International Worker’s Memorial Day activities. TUC report calling on the government to introduce tough new measures to ensure that before lockdown restrictions are eased, all employers assess the risks of their staff team returning to work outside the home. TUC Yorkshire and Humber news release. BBC News Online.  
Napo news release. NUJ news release. PCS news release.  POA news release. UCU news release.
Check out what’s going on worldwide on 28 April 2021. Risks 994.
Hazards news, 28 April 2021

Britain: PM ‘bodies pile high’ allegation adds to pressure
The prime minister’s alleged comment that he would rather see ‘bodies pile high’ than approve a third lockdown shows why a public inquiry is needed now, the union GMB said. The GMB – which represents hundreds of thousands of frontline key workers – says the PM must come clean on why they were put in harm’s way and why he thinks it’s ok to let them die.
GMB news release. BBC News Online. Morning Star. Risks 994.
Hazards news, 28 April 2021

Britain: Contract dispute coffee factory labelled ‘toxic’
Conditions for staff working at the JDE coffee factory in Banbury are becoming unsafe because of increasing pressure on workers, staff have warned. JDE (Jacobs Douwe Egberts) workers have voted for industrial action in protest at a 'fire and rehire' process that aims to force them to accept different contracts.
Unite news release. IUF news release. Banbury Guardian. Risks 993.
Hazards news, 22 April 2021

Britain: Food delivery firms must address rider safety concerns
Food delivery companies such as Deliveroo should be forced to investigate accidents and address risks facing their Scottish couriers, according to campaigners. The call comes as the Workers’ Observatory – an Edinburgh project supporting fast food couriers – prepares to launch a manifesto in response to rider safety concerns such as traffic hazards.
The Ferret. The Workers’ Observatory. Risks 993.
Hazards news, 22 April 2021

Britain: Rail disaster report shows need for action
An interim report into the crash at Stonehaven in Aberdeenshire which claimed the lives of three people – driver Brett McCullough, 45, conductor Donald Dinnie, 58, and passenger Christopher Stuchbury, 62 – and in which six other people were injured has exposed Network Rail’s failures, unions have said. The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) report on into the 12 August 2020 tragedy exonerated the driver of the train and has found it was caused by “debris washed onto the track near Carmont, Aberdeenshire, following heavy rainfall.
Interim report by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch. ASLEF news release. RMT news release. TSSA news release. BBC News Online. Risks 993.
Hazards news, 22 April 2021

Britain: RMT launches 'No cuts at Network Rail' campaign
Rail union RMT has launched the latest phase of its campaign to derail Network Rail plans that could increase risks and result in thousands of job losses by September. The union says the move would result in a “wholescale dilution of safety standards, including a halving the frequency of safety critical maintenance work.”
RMT news release and campaign webpage. Risks 993.
Hazards news, 22 April 2021

Britain: Network Rail fined for injuries after ignoring safety warnings
Network Rail has been fined almost £700,000 after pleading guilty to a criminal safety offence that left an employee with serious burns after safety warnings were ignored. The worker suffered third degree and mixed depth burns in a fire at the at Godinton substation in Kent at the end of 2018.
ORR news release. Risks 993.
Hazards news, 22 April 2021

Britain: Nothing smart in government motorways response
The UK government’s changes to the way it runs Smart and All Lanes Running (ALR) motorways will not remedy serious problems unless it also addresses staffing shortages among the traffic officers and a lack of capacity at the regional operating centres responsible for road safety, the union Prospect has warned. Garry Graham, Prospect deputy general secretary, commented: “Technology can identify breakdowns but you need an operator in an ROC to spot the problem, and then you need traffic officers to resolve it.”
Prospect news release. DfT written statement to parliament. BBC News Online. Risks 993.
Hazards news, 22 April 2021

USA: Meat plant line speed-up thrown out by court
In a major victory for workers in America’s pork industry, a federal district court in Minneapolis has ruled that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) acted unlawfully when it eliminated limits on the speed at which plants run their slaughter lines without considering the increased risk of injury to workers. “The court’s decision recognised that Trump’s USDA violated basic principles of administrative law when it refused to consider the impact of its actions on plant workers and claimed, contrary to its longstanding practice, that it was not allowed to do so,” said Adam Pulver, the Public Citizen attorney who serves as lead counsel on the union UFCW-backed case.
UFCW news release. Public Citizen news release. Daily Kos. Risks 992.
Hazards news, 14 April 2021

USA: Amazon grovels after pee-in-vans denial
Amazon has apologised to a US politician for falsely denying its drivers have been forced to urinate in plastic bottles. Mark Pocan, a Democrat from Wisconsin, referenced Amazon making “workers urinate in water bottles” in a tweet; the official Amazon Twitter account then replied: “If that were true, nobody would work for us,” but then apologised after evidence emerged of drivers having to urinate in bottles.
Amazon statement and Amazon twitter exchange with Rep. Pocan. BBC News Online. Risks 992.
Hazards news, 14 April 2021

Britain: Waste firm fined £1m over binman's death
A waste contractor has been fined £1m after a young refuse collector was killed under his own bin lorry. Kane Beard, 22, from Daventry, Northamptonshire, was working in a four-person crew when he died from head injuries after falling under the reversing lorry on 8 April 2016.
HSE news release. BBC News Online. Northampton Chronicle. Risks 992.
Hazards news, 14 April 2021

Britain: Covid toll shows the need for investment in work safety
The high numbers of Covid-19 deaths linked to exposures to the virus at work reveal “the abject failure of too many to keep workplaces safe,” the union GMB has said. The union points to official figures that show that 31,000 the suspected cases of occupational exposure to coronavirus were reported to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) between 10 April 2020 and 13 March 2021.
GMB news release. Risks 992.
Hazards news, 14 April 2021

Global: ‘Fundamental’ health and safety moves a step closer
A significant step towards making occupational health and safety a fundamental workers’ right has been taken at the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Governing Body, an influential committee comprised government, employer and union delegates. On 23 March, governments at the governing body’s meeting overwhelmingly supported a call from worker members to move ahead with the process.
ITUC news release. Collegium Ramazzini statement. Risks 991. Hazards news, 31 March 2021

Global: US to seize PPE over labour and safety abuses
The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency has ordered the seizure of disposable gloves made by Malaysia's Top Glove company. The order said CBP had sufficient information to believe that Top Glove uses forced labour in the production of disposable gloves; the firm was forced to shut more than half of its 28 factories in November 2020 after almost 2,500 employees tested positive for coronavirus.
BBC News Online. Risks 991.
Hazards news, 31 March 2021

Germany: Firms to face justice for safety violations abroad
Germany could force companies to take responsibility for any labour or environmental abuses in their global supply chains. The law passed by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet, and which still needs approval from the country’s parliament, was spurred by a deadly fire in a textile factory in Pakistan and a devastating dam collapse at a Brazilian iron ore mine, both of which had links to German companies.
The Local Germany. India Times. Risks 991.
Hazards news, 31 March 2021

USA: Proof Amazon knows drivers forced to pee in bottles
A denial by Amazon that its delivery workers have been forced to pee in bottles or poop in bags was shot down last week when a leaked internal memo revealed the company has been aware of the problem for at least several months. Documents provided by employees at Amazon to the Intercept showed that an email sent in May 2020 admonished workers for urinating in bottles and defaecating in bags while on the job.
The Intercept. The Guardian. Risks 991.
Hazards news, 31 March 2021

USA: Amazon makes drivers sign spy in the cab consent
Amazon drivers are being forced to sign “biometric consent” forms to continue working for the retailing giant. Cameras being introduced to vehicles across the US would use artificial intelligence to access drivers' location, movement, and biometric data. 
Vice. Risks 991.
Hazards news, 31 March 2021

Britain: DB Cargo fined £200,000 after amputation
DB Cargo has been fined £200,000 after pleading guilty to a criminal safety offence that saw a worker lose his arm at the Dollands Moor freight yard in 2018. Terry Currie, then aged 43 and working as a shunter, suffered life changing injuries including the amputation of his right arm, when a freight train collided with his vehicle on a level crossing at the yard on 4 September 2018.
ORR news release. Risks 991.
Hazards news, 31 March 2021

Britain: Unite campaign for a ‘new deal’ for Amazon workers
A major newspaper and digital advertising campaign to alert Amazon workers to a new Unite confidential whistleblowing hotline has been launched by the union. It says Amazon workers can blow the whistle and expose poor treatment free from reprisals by contacting the hotline freefone or online.
Action on Amazon Campaign. Call 08000 14 14 61 in the UK or 1800 851 268 for the Republic of Ireland; twitter @ActionOnAmazon and Action on Amazon facebook page. BBC News Online. The Mirror. Risks 991. 31 March 2021

Britain: RMT set for nationwide rail dispute
RMT is moving onto a “national dispute” footing with Network Rail after it was revealed the government controlled company is planning thousands of job cuts by September and a wholesale dilution of safety standards, including a halving the frequency of safety critical maintenance work. The attack on jobs and safety comes on top of an attempt by the company to implement an open-ended pay freeze on Network Rail workers and a wide-ranging attack on working conditions, the union said.
RMT news release. Risks 990.
Hazards news, 23 March 2021

Britain: Site worker killed by high pressure jet of grease
Specialist plant hire firm Ruislip Plant Ltd has been fined for a criminal safety offence after a worker was fatally injured while undertaking maintenance on a piling rig. Reading Crown Court heard that, on 13 May 2014, Ben Wylie was assisting Ruislip Plant director Noel Kearney, who has since died, with the maintenance of a high-pressure grease track adjusting mechanism at a construction site in Maidenhead.
FACK news release. HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 990.
Hazards news, 23 March 2021

Britain: Contract changes will make British Gas 'less safe'
Contract changes being imposed by British Gas will make the work ‘less safe’, the company’s skilled engineers have warned. Thousands of British Gas workers responded to a GMB survey on the planned contract changes, with 87 per cent of respondents saying that the reduced times allocated for jobs would make them less safe.
GMB news release. Risks 990.
Hazards news, 23 March 2021

Britain: Tesco accused of ‘morally bankrupt’ fire and rehire tactics
Tesco is facing a legal challenge to its ‘morally bankrupt’ fire and rehire tactics. Thompsons Solicitors issued High Court proceedings against the supermarket giant, supported by the retail union Usdaw.
Thompsons Solicitors news release. Usdaw news release. Risks 990.
Hazards news, 23 March 2021

Britain: MPs and industry leaders back better workers’ rights
Ahead of the anniversary of the UK’s first lockdown, a poll of MPs and industry leaders on their post-pandemic priorities has found strong support for improving workers’ rights and for better sick pay. Unite, which commissioned the Survation poll, says that the findings should see the government 'seize the initiative' and move to outlaw the horrific practice of fire and rehire.
Unite news release. Survation poll of MPs and business leaders. Risks 990.
Hazards news, 23 March 2021

Britain: MPs told the virus put a spotlight HSE funding crisis
The experience of the pandemic has shone a spotlight on the underfunding of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), MPs on the Commons Work and Pensions Committee have been told. Mike Clancy, the general secretary of Prospect, the union representing health and safety inspectors at the HSE, made the comments at a committee session on 17 March.
Prospect news release. Work and Pensions Committee oral evidence, 17 March 2021. Risks 990.
Hazards news, 23 March 2021

Britain: ‘Damning verdict’ on failure to prevent bus driver deaths
Evidence an earlier lockdown last year would have saved bus drivers’ lives is a “damning verdict on the failure to protect vulnerable key workers,” Unite has said. The union, which represents over 20,000 bus drivers in London, was commenting on a March 2021 report from University College London (UCL), which found that 80 per cent of the bus workers who died of Covid-19 in the first wave had ceased work by 3 April 2020.
Unite news release. UCL news release. Report of the second stage of a study of London bus driver mortality from Covid-19, UCL Institute of Health Equity, 19 March 2021. BBC News Online. Risks 990.
Hazards news, 23 March 2021

Britain: ‘Rogue bus service’ probed for serial safety breaches
The ‘rogue bus service’ run by Go North West in the Greater Manchester area is under investigation for serial Covid-19 safety failures and breaches of other vital safety regulations. Go North West, which is part of the multi-billion pound Go Ahead group, launched its ‘rogue bus service’ rather than seek a negotiated settlement to the dispute with Unite, over plans to fire and rehire its bus drivers on vastly inferior terms and conditions.
Unite news release. Risks 990.
Hazards news, 23 March 2021

Global: IFJ reveals 65 journalists died at work in 2020
The circumstances in which 65 media workers died last year while doing their jobs has been revealed in a new report from the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ). The global journalist union’s federation detailed how they had been victims of targeted attacks, bomb attacks and crossfire incidents in 16 countries.
IFJ news release. Risks 989.
Hazards news, 16 March 2021

USA: Regulator lays out Covid enforcement plan
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the US government’s federal safety regulator, has launched a national emphasis program (NEP) focusing enforcement efforts on companies that put the largest number of workers at serious risk of contracting the coronavirus. The move, in response to President Biden's executive order on protecting worker health and safety, also targets employers that retaliate against workers for complaints about unsafe or unhealthy conditions, or for exercising other rights protected by federal law.
OSHA news release and National Emphasis Program – Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Department of Labor news release. Risks 989.
Hazards news, 16 March 2021

Britain: Waste firm fined after horrific bin worker death
A waste collection company has been fined nearly £2 million after  binman Peter Coleman, 54, was killed when he was dragged under the wheels of his runaway lorry. The F&R Cawley Ltd lorry was found to have had two defects - a faulty set of brakes on the second axle, and a disabled mechanism intended to stop bins being lifted while the lorry was in gear.
BBC News Online. Watford Observer. Risks 989.
Hazards news, 16 March 2021

Britain: Global firm fined after chemical spill
A global engineering firm has been fined after a hazardous chemical spill left four workers suffering serious health symptoms. Poole Magistrates’ Court heard how, on 9 October 2017, between 150 and 200 litres of a chemical preparation including highly hazardous hydrofluoric acid spilled across a large area of the factory floor of Nasmyth Technologies Limited’s fabrication division, and that four workers with no training and inadequate personal protective equipment (PPE) and respiratory protective equipment (RPE) suffered ill-health in the clean-up, included an asthma attack, a severe headache, nausea, sore eyes and throat.
HSE news release. Dorset Echo. Risks 989.
Hazards news, 16 March 2021

Global: UK shipping firm can be sued for shipbreaking death
A shipping company that sold on a defunct vessel for scrapping will have to face a claim by the widow of a Bangladeshi man who died while breaking up the ship. An attempt by Maran (UK) Limited to have the claim struck out by the Court of Appeal failed, and followed an earlier high court judgment also in favour of the widow.
Leigh Day news release and Court of Appeal judgment, 10 March 2021. Risks 989.
Hazards news, 16 March 2021

Britain: IOSH backs ‘fundamental right’ to safety
The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) has said health and safety should be treated as a ‘fundamental right’ at work. The world’s biggest safety professionals’ organisation was commenting after it signed up to the United Nations (UN) Global Compact.
IOSH news release.
More on International Workers’ Memorial Day, 28 April 2021. Risks 989.
Hazards news, 16 March 2021

Britain: The safety of workers is secondary to Rees-Mogg
Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Leader of the House of Commons, has been condemned for putting the safety of workers in Westminster below his ‘bizarre’ sense of tradition. The criticism by civil service union Prospect came after Rees-Mogg rejected a report by parliament’s Restoration and Renewal Sponsor Body recommended that in order to renovate parliament safely, a full decant to alternative premises should be undertaken.
Prospect news release and related release. Restoration and Renewal Sponsor Body news release and full report. Risks 989.
Hazards news, 16 March 2021

Britain: Workers’ court on Covid delivers guilty verdicts
The UK governments, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and employers have been found guilty of a series of charges relating to deadly negligence in addressing the workplace risks posed by Covid-19. The verdicts, returned at a Workers’ Court on the 11 March anniversary of the start of the pandemic, conclude the combined failures led to the preventable deaths of tens of thousands of workers and members of the public.
Hazards Campaign news release. Video record: Court verdict and concluding remarks; jury deliberations; and witness statements. Risks 989.
Hazards news, 16 March 2021

India: No progress on workplace health and safety crisis
‘Incessant’ industrial accidents in India show that no progress has been made in improving occupational health and safety, IndustriALL has said. The global union’s compilation of accidents reported in the press since India’s lockdown ended in May 2020 shows that “the shockingly high accident rate in India’s factories, chemical plants and mines continues,” it said
IndustriALL news release. Risks 988.

Hazards news, 11 March 2021

Global: Work health and safety must be fundamental
A death toll from work hazards that claims five lives every minute of every hour of every day around the world demonstrated the scale of the problem. That’s why, says Owen Tudor, that the International Labour Organisation (ILO) conference agreed two years ago that occupational health and safety should become a ‘fundamental right at work’.
ETI blog and ETI member supporting health and safety as an ILO fundamental right. More on International Workers’ Memorial Day, 28 April 2021. Risks 988.
Hazards news, 11 March 2021

Britain: Foundry fined £500k after workers hit by vibration disease
A multinational building products giant has been fined £500,000 after its workers developed debilitating hand arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) caused by their jobs. Newcastle-under-Lyme Magistrates’ Court heard that three employees at the Saint-Gobain Construction Products UK Limited foundry in Telford were diagnosed with HAVS in 2016, but the company did not identify each employee’s daily exposure to vibration and did not measure cumulative exposures from using different vibrating tools throughout a shift.
HSE news release. Risks 988.
Hazards news, 11 March 2021

Britain: Capita slashes firefighters at Clyde naval bases
Unite has raised ‘major’ safety concerns following plans by Capita to reduce the number of firefighters based at the Faslane and Coulport nuclear naval bases. The union has been notified that Capita, which won the outsourced contract last year, is set to reduce the specialist fire safety crew by eight positions, or 15 per cent.
Unite news release. Risks 988.
Hazards news, 11 March 2021

Britain: UK government has downplayed work Covid risks
The risk of Covid-19 transmission in the workplace remains significant but is being dangerously downplayed by the UK government, new research has concluded. A report from the Institute of Employment Rights (IER), written by 11 specialists in occupational health and safety and labour law, calls for measures including more resources for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and enhanced rights for union safety reps.
IER news release and recommendations. HSE and Covid at work: A case of regulatory failure [preview], IER, March 2021. Purchase details.
SHP Online. Left Foot Forward. Personnel Today. Risks 988.
Hazards news, 11 March 2021

Britain: England's fire services cut by £140m since 2016
Government funding for fire and rescue services in England has been cut by £139.7m since 2016/17, the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has revealed. The new analysis of the 2021/22 local government finance settlement shows a reduction in funding for fire and rescue services of 13.8 per cent in cash terms over the five years since the last local settlement, leaving fire and rescue services exposed as they face emerging threats from flooding, wildfires and the Covid-19 pandemic.
FBU news release. Risks 987.
Hazards news, 3 March 2021

Britain: Zombie firm resurrected and fined for death
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) ordered the restoration of a defunct roofing contractor to the Companies House register ahead of a court hearing that saw the firm receive a six figure fine following a fatal fall. Basildon Crown Court heard how on 25 February 2018 Jonathan Moore, 34, an employee of R4 Industrial Roofing Cladding Systems Ltd, fell more than 10 metres to the concrete floor below, sustaining fatal injuries
HSE news release. Construction Enquirer. Risks 987.
Hazards news, 3 March 2021

Britain: Let off for bosses after worker dies in revolving drum
Waste recycling firm Stonegrave Aggregates, its director and site manager have been sentenced after pleading guilty to criminal safety offences that saw employee Simon Hogg, 47,  die and a second employee seriously injured when a large rotating drum was switched on with the two workers inside. Site manager David Basham, 60, was sentenced to six months in prison suspended for a year; company director Bruce David Whitley, 61, was given a 12-month community order, and the firm was fined £200,000 and ordered to pay £48,952.90 in prosecution costs.
HSE news release. The Gazette. BBC News Online. Risks 987. Hazards news, 3 March 2021

Britain: Severe scalding injuries left worker suicidal
A chemical company has been fined £560,000 after scalding water ‘erupted’ over a father-of-two at its Scottish plant, scarring him for life. Colin Brockie suffered burns to his right arm and leg, partial burns to his left foot, and burns to his left leg and groin in the incident at Calachem in Grangemouth, Scotland and had suicidal thoughts and saw a psychologist for 18 months after suffering the injuries.
HSE news release. Daily Record. Falkirk Herald. Risks 987Hazards news, 3 March 2021

Britain: Health and safety is ‘key’ to reopening the economy
The success of economic recovery is dependent on maintaining workplace safety for everyone - but to achieve that we need a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) that is properly resourced, HSE union Prospect has stated. Mike Clancy, the union’s general secretary, said: “For less than half the cost of the failed Eat Out to Help Out scheme, the government could reverse all of the cuts to HSE so that it was fully funded for the rest of the parliament.”
Prospect news release. Risks 987.
Hazards news, 3 March 2021

Britain: Confusion over rethink on low HSE Covid risk ranking
Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has disputed claims that bosses have privately agreed to review the classification of Covid-19 as a ‘significant’ workplace risk. However, it is now believed several HSE board members pressed successfully for the review, after voicing concerns that inspectors felt constrained from using their full enforcement powers to keep workplaces safe.
The Mirror. Risks 987.
Hazards news, 3 March 2021

Qatar: Thousands of migrant construction workers die
More than 6,500 migrant workers from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have died in Qatar since it won the right to host the World Cup 10 years ago, an investigation by the Guardian has found. Using information compiled from official sources, it estimates an average of 12 migrant workers from five south Asian nations have died each week since December 2010.
The Guardian. Risks 986.
Hazards news, 24 February 2021

Britain: HSE union calls for enforcement resources and action
Maintaining workplace health and safety and controlling any spike in Covid-19 case numbers will be vital to economic recovery and protecting jobs in 2021, safety inspectors’ union Prospect has said. A joint statement by the union’s general secretary, Mike Clancy, and Prospect’s branch in the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) calls for the Covid workplace risk ranking to be moved from up from ‘significant’ to ‘serious’, which would “remove the shackles preventing inspectors from using enforcement to bring an activity to an immediate stop where their opinion supports such ac
Hazards news, 24 February 2021

Britain: Welsh firms ignore Covid rules, HSE ignores safety reps
Most employers in Wales have not been fully following the Welsh government’s Covid Workplace Guidance and the safety regulator is routinely bypassing union safety reps, Wales TUC/YouGov monthly polling of workers has found. Commenting on the poll findings, Wales TUC policy office Joe Allen said long-term funding cuts to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) made it “more important than ever that workers’ voices are captured in the enforcement process – so that, despite the limited resources, inspectors can get as full a picture as possible.”
TUC blog. Risks 985.
Hazards news, 17 February 2021

USA: Deadly chicken plant accused of intimidating workers
Meat plant workers who were injured or lost their jobs after a fatal accident in the US last month have been intimidated and denied necessary medical care, workers’ rights advocates have reported. A liquid nitrogen leak at a Foundation Food Group poultry plant in Gainesville, Georgia, killed six people in January and hospitalised at least 11 others.
The Guardian. Risks 985.
Hazards news, 17 February 2021

Morocco: Supply chain pressure behind factory disaster
A 14-year-old girl was among the 28 garment workers killed in a factory disaster in Tangier, Morocco, on 8 February. The illegal facility, which was flooded, operated in an underground garage in a residential area with 130 workers, most of them women.
Solidarity Center news release. Morocco World News. Risks 985.
Hazards news, 17 February 2021

Britain: Report shows need for direct employment on sites
Unite has welcomed a report supporting a major increase in direct employment in the electrical contracting sector, with the report concluding this could have a positive effect on safety and employment conditions. The report prepared by Howard Gospel, emeritus professor of management at King’s College London, is based on interviews with over 50 experts, industry materials, government reports and peer-reviewed academic research.
Unite news release.  Electrotechnical JIB news release and report, Direct Employment - A Study of Economic Business and Social Outcomes, Electrotechnical JIB, February 2021 [full report and summary]. Risks 985.
Hazards news, 17 February 2021

Britain: HSE refuses to close Covid-risk workplaces
The government’s health and safety watchdog has failed to shut down any workplaces that put employees at risk of coronavirus even though there have been over 3,500 outbreaks at work since the start of the pandemic. An analysis of the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) enforcement database reveals there have been no Covid-related prohibition notices, which allow inspectors to immediately halt activity in workplaces deemed injurious or damaging to health, since last March.
The Observer. Morning Star.
HSE Enforcement Management Model (EMM) Operational version 3.2. Risks 985.
Hazards news, 17 February 2021

Britain: Covid rule-breakers face jail - except employers
The UK government has this year threatened 10-year prison terms for people who lie about their travel history, imposed £800 fines for people who go to house parties and paid for adverts that warn a takeaway coffee or chat on a park bench could “cost lives”. At the same time, writes Financial Times columnist Sarah O’Connor, “the Health and Safety Executive, the UK regulator responsible for workplace safety, has not brought a single prosecution against an employer for breaking Covid-19 rules.”
Financial Times. Risks 985.
Hazards news, 17 February 2021

Britain: Campaign raises ‘extreme concern’ over HSE role
The national Hazards Campaign has said it “is extremely concerned about the HSE’s response to the Covid pandemic in the workplace generally, and more specifically about recent published revelations that the HSE designated Covid-19 not as a ‘serious’ workplace risk but rather as a ‘significant’ risk.” The campaign, in a 16 February open letter to HSE chair Sarah Newton and chief executive Sarah Albon, said it could not understand “how a disease that is ‘highly contagious’, the consequences of becoming infected are, in the words of the prime minister, ‘deadly’, which can leave infected workers with long-term life-changing and life-shortening ill health, leads to thousands of deaths, thousands of sick days and disabilities, can be classified as ‘not serious’ just a ‘significant workplace risk’.”
Hazards Campaign open letter. ASLEF news release. Risks 985
Hazards news, 17 February 2021

Britain: Covid work death serial law breaker not prosecuted
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has blasted Perth and Kinross Council over a series of criminal safety breaches at a waste recycling depot following a deadly Covid-19 outbreak - but has opted not to prosecute. Binman Scott Hunter, 52, died in hospital last month after an 18-day battle with coronavirus; his family said he tried to protect himself on his rounds using hundreds of pounds worth of cleaning equipment bought by his wife, Fiona.
The Courier and related story. Daily Record. Risks 985. Hazards news, 17 February 2021

Global: Saving lives at work is ‘fundamental’
Many governments and employers don’t think that being protected should be a fundamental worker’s right, the global union confederation ITUC has warned. This year, trade unions around the world will be pressing governments and employers to agree to put that commitment into practice, said ITUC general secretary Sharan Burrow, adding: “Making occupational health and safety a fundamental right at work — on a par with the prohibition of child and forced labour, discrimination at work, and the right to join a union, bargain collectively and ultimately to take strike action — wouldn’t solve every problem at work.”
ITUC news release. Medium.com.
Find out more about International Workers’ Memorial Day, 28 April 2021. #iwmd21 Risks 984.
Hazards news, 11 February 2021

Britain: Rail union warning after track worker is killed
The rail union TSSA has issued a safety warning after railway track worker Tyler Byrne was struck and killed by a train. The 30-year-old from Hampshire was struck by a service operated by South Western Railway (SWR) near Surbiton, Kingston, south-west London, shortly after 11:30 in the morning on 9 February.
TSSA news release. BBC News Online. Risks 984.
Hazards news, 11 February 2021

Britain: Worker fell to his death through fragile roof
A glass firm has been fined for a criminal health and safety offence after a worker fell to his death through an asbestos roof. Marius Andrus, 36, was carrying out snagging repairs to a roof above the “toughening area” at Pearsons Glass in Kirkdale, on 22 May 2017 when he plunged down six metres into an unnetted part of the factory.
HSE news release. Liverpool Echo. Risks 984.
Hazards news, 11 February 2021

Britain: Tile factory boss 'drove car at workers'
The boss of tile firm that has faced complaints over Covid safety drove his car at workers during a Christmas strike, the union GMB has said. The same manager at Marley Tiles, in Beenham, near Reading, then instructed a lorry driver to head straight for the picket line, GMB members have charged.
GMB news release. Risks 984.
Hazards news, 11 February 2021

USA: Nitrogen leak at poultry plant kills six workers
A liquid nitrogen leak at a US poultry plant killed six people on 28 January, and sent at least 11 others to the hospital, some in a critical condition. The incident occurred at the Prime Pak Foods plant near Gainsville, Georgia.
RWDSU news release. CSB statement. New York Times. Insurance Journal. The Guardian. BBC News Online. Whittier Daily News. Risks 983.
Hazards news, 3 February 2021

Britain: Sawmill worker fatally injured by conveyor collapse
A sawmill company has been fined after Roman Kokot, 32, was fatally injured when a lift conveyor collapsed on top of him. Hereford Crown Court heard how on 20 December 2017, two employees were working below a lift conveyor at Pontrilas sawmill in Hereford to remove wood debris.
HSE news release. Free Press. Risks 983.
Hazards news, 3 February 2021

Britain: Relief as new u-turn sees rights review dropped
UK government u-turns that saw ministers deny then admit they was considering downgrading workers’ rights have now seen the plans dropped. The latest reverse comes in the wake of a 25 January joint statement, where 12 unions warned they would fight Boris Johnson “tooth and nail” to stop any watering down of workers’ rights.
Unite news release. Community news release. Thompsons Solicitors news release. The Guardian. Morning Star. Personnel Today. Risks 983.
Hazards news, 3 February 2021

Britain: Government should publish rights rollback review
Unite is demanding that the UK government discloses the full impact of any rollback of workers’ rights. The union call comes in a letter from general secretary Len McCluskey to business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, who is overseeing the review. Unite has described efforts to cut rights as a 'bad bosses' charter' and a gift to rogue employers that will force workers to work longer hours, on lower pay and seriously undermine family life.
TUC news release. Unite news release. Usdaw news release. Labour Party news release. The Mirror. Risks 982.
Hazards news, 28 January 2021

Britain: UNISON demands higher PPE ‘human rights standards’
UNISON has joined a push for a new law to prevent UK businesses and public services from sourcing from companies that violate workers’ human rights. Evidence has emerged throughout the pandemic that PPE suppliers to the NHS were tied to severe, widespread human rights violations of workers in the global south.
UNISON news release. Parliamentary briefing on a ‘Failure to Prevent’ law.
UNISON is encouraging union members to add their voice to a EU consultation on measures that would apply to UK headquartered companies by signing here. Risks 982.
Hazards news, 28 January 2021

Britain: Action needed as assaults on emergency workers soar
Urgent action is needed to address rising levels of violence directed at emergency workers, the union GMB has said. The union was commenting in the wake of new Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) figures on assaults against emergency workers linked to Covid-19.
GMB news release. CPS news release. BBC News Online. Risks 982.
Hazards news, 28 January 2021

Britain: Steel company fined after driver fatally injured
An Essex steel firm has been fined after a 47-year-old worker was fatally injured by steelwork, which fell from a telehandler forklift truck during loading. Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court heard how on 4 April 2019, Chris Sparks, an employee of South East Galvanizers Limited, had visited PCR Steel Ltd at their premises in Essex to collect a load, but was crushed when the balcony frame weighing approximately 400kg fell.
HSE news release. Risks 982.
Hazards news, 28 January 2021

Global: Call to end ‘humanitarian crisis’ at sea
A broad group of unions, companies and other organisations is calling for all countries to designate seafarers as key workers and implement crew change protocols to address a ‘humanitarian crisis’ at sea. The Neptune Declaration signed by over 300 maritime industry and human rights leaders is intended to pressure the industry to use its leverage to end the deepening crew change crisis.
ITF news release. Neptune Declaration and full list of signatories. Risks 982.
Hazards news, 28 January 2021

USA: Low paid workers face greatest Covid risk
Essential workers, especially in food and transportation industries, bear the greatest risk of death among Californians of working age, a study has found. “While we pay a lot of lip service to essential workers, when you see the actual occupations that rise to the top of the list as being at much more risk and associated with death, it screams out to you who’s really at risk,” said Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, a UCSF epidemiology and biostatistics professor who worked on the study.
Yea-Hung Chen, Maria Glymour, Alicia Riley, John Balmes, Kate Duchowny, Robert Harrison, Ellicott Matthay, Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo. Excess mortality associated with the COVID-19 pandemic among Californians 18–65 years of age, by occupational sector and occupation: March through October 2020, medRxiv 2021.01.21.21250266; doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.01.21.21250266  San Francisco Chronicle. Risks 982.
Hazards news, 28 January 2021

USA: Biden acts immediately to address work Covid risks
On his first full day as US president, Joe Biden ordered immediate action to address workplace Covid-19 risks. A 21 January executive order requiring “swift action” to address workplace risks notes: “Ensuring the health and safety of workers is a national priority and a moral imperative.”
AFL-CIO statement. Executive Order on Protecting Worker Health and Safety, President Joseph R Biden Jr, 21 January 2021.
National strategy for the Covid-19 response and pandemic preparedness, President Joseph R Biden Jr, 21 January 2021. Risks 982.
Hazards news, 28 January 2021

Britain: Covid outbreaks at all-time high, enforcement at new low
The week to 21 January saw the highest number of reported Covid outbreaks since the pandemic began, prompting the TUC to repeat its call for stricter rules and greater enforcement of the rules. TUC safety lead Shelly Asquith expressed dismay that in 2020, despite the pandemic, there had been significantly fewer Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspections compared to previous years, with just 0.1 per cent of cases investigated by HSE resulted in any official enforcement notices being served.
TUC blog and TUC guide to the protective union effect on workplace safety. Risks 982.
Hazards news, 28 January 2021

Global: Safety at work is a ‘fundamental’ right
The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed an occupational health crisis in workplaces worldwide. The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) says that occupational health and safety should be recognised as an International Labour Organisation (ILO) fundamental right at work – the decent, universally accepted and binding rights protecting all workers, everywhere.
28 April 2021 International Workers’ Memorial Day theme announcement (also in French and Spanish). ITUC Campaign Brief. Resources and updates will be posted on the ITUC/Hazards dedicated 28 April webpages: www.28april.org Risks 981. 20 January 2021
Hazards news, 20 January 2021

Britain: Government owns up to plan to weaken workers’ rights
In a reversal of an earlier denial, Kwasi Kwarteng has admitted reports that his department is planning to dilute UK workers' rights are correct. The business secretary has now confirmed the government is looking at scrapping some EU-derived labour laws.
TUC news release. Unite news release. GMB news release. ETUC news release. Labour Party news release. CIPD news release. Financial Times. Morning Star. The Guardian and related update. BBC News Online. Britannia Unchained. Risks 981. 20 January 2021
Hazards news, 20 January 2021

Britain: Scotland says no to ditching employment protections
The Scottish government and the country’s national union federation STUC have issued a joint call to the UK government to rule out the downgrading of employment protections. The move came after revelations that the UK government has asked the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to work up a package of deregulatory measures following the UK’s final departure from the European Union.
STUC news release. Risks 981.
Hazards news, 20 January 2021

Canada: Mounties to probe massive meat plant outbreak
Ariana Quesada, 16, walked into a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) detachment in High River, Alberta and filed a formal complaint asking police to investigate potential criminal negligence in the death of her father. Benito Quesada, a 51-year-old immigrant from Mexico supporting a wife and four children, was hospitalised with Covid-19 in mid-April, one of hundreds of workers at the town's Cargill meat plant infected with the coronavirus.
CBC News. Risks 980.
Hazards news, 13 January 2020

Korea: Union accuses steel firm of manslaughter
A pattern of fatal accidents at a global steel company will only be resolved when workers have the right to organise freely and participate in safety systems, the Korean Metal Workers’ Union (KMWU) has said. The KMWU had earlier indicated POSCO CEO Jeong-Woo Choi should the first person to be held accountable under a new corporate manslaughter law.
IndustriALL news release. Korea Times. Risks 980.
Hazards news, 13 January 2020

Britain: Jail terms after electrocution on farm
A farmer whose ‘reckless disregard’ of the dangers of trying to do electrical work led to the death of his partner in their caravan home has been jailed. James Atkin had denied the manslaughter of Deana Simpson by gross negligence – but was found guilty following a trial at Warwick Crown Court.
HSE news release. Coventry Telegraph. Risks 980.
Hazards news, 13 January 2020

USA: Trump’s air safety pick silenced safety whistleblower
Donald Trump’s pick to head the agency responsible for airline safety had, when an airline boss, used a psychological evaluation to ground and intimidate a pilot who raised safety concerns, an official investigation has found. The Labor Department ruling determined that before becoming head of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Steve Dickson participated in efforts by Delta Air Lines management to use the evaluation to retaliate against veteran pilot Karlene Petitt.
Wall Street Journal. Pulling Wings from Butterflies. Christine Negroni website and related story. Risks 979.
Hazards news, 4 January 2021

Britain: Urgent appeal to UN about threats to BBC journalists
An urgent appeal has been filed with three United Nations (UN) experts on behalf of all BBC Persian Service staff. The 18 December appeal, which is backed by both the BBC and the journalists’ union NUJ, details ‘serious and credible death threats’ made to BBC Persian Service journalists in recent months, and further harassment of both BBC Persian Service staff and their families, including freezing of journalists’ assets and online attacks.
NUJ news release. Doughty Street Chambers news release. Risks 979.
Hazards news, 4 January 2021

Britain: RMT calls for probe into bus and coach fires
A rising trend of bus and coach fires must be “thoroughly investigated”, transport union RMT has demanded. The call came after figures obtained by The Scotsman showed they increased for three consecutive years, with the RMT warning the figures obtained in Scotland are mirrored by a spate of fires on buses across the south west of England.
RMT news release. The Scotsman. Risks 979.
Hazards news, 4 January 2021

Britain: TUC calls on government to ‘plug the gaps’ in trade deal
The TUC has called on the government to urgently build on the UK-EU trade agreement, which it says “falls far short” of the deal ministers promised. The union body warned that the deal’s flimsy protections on workers’ rights would fail to prevent the government pursuing a deregulatory agenda.
TUC news release and report, The TUC’s ten-point plan to protect jobs, rights and public services after Brexit, 30 December 2020. Risks 979.
Hazards news, 4 January 2021

Britain: Covid causing a work-related death a day
The number of officially reported work-related Covid-19 deaths is running at one a day, over three times the rate for all other work-related fatalities, a new report has revealed. The report, which criticises the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), for ‘resignation and inaction’, notes: “As hundreds died and tens of thousands fell ill as a result of workplace exposures, HSE’s preferred response was to have a little word.”
No! No! No! Covid-19 deaths at 3.4 times the rate for all other work fatalities, Hazards, number 152, December 2020 and related ‘Fighting our corner’ safety reps’ poster.
Venting - Coronavirus risks are mostly up in the air, safety reps’ factsheet, Hazards, number 152, December 2020. Risks 979. 4 January 2021
Hazards news, 4 January 2021

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