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Enforcement news archives 2004-2007

Recent enforcement news

Britain: Hats off for safety sanity clause
Workplace campaigners have delivered a seasonal message to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) wishing the watchdog a merry Christmas and a well resourced new year. Santa hat clad revellers assembled last week outside HSE’s London HQ.
Battersea Crane Disaster Action Group news releaseFACK news release
Hazards news, 22 December 2007

Britain: Train driver manslaughter rap quashed
The Court of Appeal has quashed a train driver’s 17-year-old conviction for manslaughter. ASLEF member Bob Morgan was convicted on two counts of manslaughter on 3 September 1990; the union said the original conviction had not taken into proper account that the signal was defective and had been passed at danger on four previous occasions by different drivers.
ASLEF news release
Hazards news, 15 December 2007

Britain: Boss jailed after death cover-up attempt
Company boss Steven Christopher Smith from north Wales has been jailed for two and a half years for manslaughter and perverting the course of justice after the death of employee Paul Christopher Alker, 33, in a workplace fall. Smith did not provide the right harnesses, but after Mr Alker plunged to his death, he went out and bought the safety equipment, put them on the roof, and blamed Mr Alker for not using it.
HSE news releaseDaily Post
Hazards news, 8 December 2007

Britain: Offshore safety on a 'knife-edge'
Safety is on a “knife-edge” in some parts of the North Sea oil industry, MPs have been warned. The admission from Health and Safety Executive (HSE) chief executive Geoffrey Podger followed two platform fires and a damning report on offshore safety standards in November 2007.
BBC News Online
Hazards news, 8 December 2007

Britain: HSE accused of inspection-by-phone
An inspection foreman has accused the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) of ignoring serious safety problems after it refused to visit a dangerous workplace and took “telephone action” instead. The source told trade paper Contract Journal that HSE ignored his plea for a personal visit after he raised serious concerns over health and safety standards at the structural steel firm where he had worked.
Contract JournalJust who does HSE protect? Hazards magazine, number 100, 2007
Hazards news, 8 December 2007

Britain: CCA slams ‘meaningless’ enforcement review
The Centre for Corporate Accountability (CCA) is calling on the Health and Safety Commission (HSC) to undertake a new review of the circumstances when its inspectors should prosecute. It says the conclusions of the Health and Safety Executive’s review of its prosecution policy are “meaningless” as crucial evidence has been overlooked.
CCA news release and background papers
Hazards news, 1 December 2007

Britain: TUC scathing on new safety laws review
The TUC has said the government should stop pandering to negligent law-shy employers, and instead put its focus on protecting vulnerable workers from illness and injury. The comments came after Chancellor Alistair Darling this week launched a “major review” of safety laws, “focusing on small and low risk businesses.”
BERR news release and Improving outcomes from health and safety: A call for evidence [pdf] Alistair Darling’s speech to the CBI conference
Hazards news, 1 December 2007

Britain: Corporate killers must face mega-fines
Companies whose neglect results in deaths should face fines running to hundreds of millions of pounds, government law advisers have said. A corporate accountability group, however, has said the Sentencing Advisory Panel (SAP) proposed penalties are still “simply too low.”
CCA news release • Sentencing guidelines news release [pdf]Sentencing guidelines website
Hazards news, 24 November 2007

Britain: Call for tough action on safety ‘crime wave’
There must be tougher enforcement action to tackle a workplace health and safety “crime wave”, the TUC has said. TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “Evidence shows the most effective way to change behaviour is strong enforcement action, supported by advice and guidance.”
TUC news releaseCCA news releaseFACK news release
Hazards news, 24 November 2007

Global: Unions and enforcement are the safe option
Rigorous enforcement backed up by active unions is the best way to deliver safety at work, a new World Health Organisation report has concluded. ‘Employment conditions and health inequalities’ says contrary to the current fashion for deregulation, regulations are not the problem.
Employment conditions and health inequalities: Final report, WHO, 2007 [pdf] • The report is a contribution to the WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health
Hazards news, 17 November 2007

Britain: Courts protect wonga much better than workers
The courts disqualify company directors risking cash hundreds of times more often than directors risking people’s health and safety, a major study has found. Research for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) published this week reported that since the introduction of a director disqualification act in the mid-80s only a handful of directors have been disqualified for breaching health and safety laws compared to over 1,500 each year for breaches of financial rules.
University of Warwick news releaseA survey of the use and effectiveness of the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986 as a legal sanction against directors convicted of health and safety offences, RR597, HSE, 2007, summary page and full report [pdf]
Hazards news, 17 November 2007

Britain: Refinery blows one day after HSE visit
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has started an investigation into a fire at an oil refinery that saw flames shoot 100ft (30m) into the air. HSE inspectors had been at the site on Tuesday, the day before the fire, carrying out routine checks.
BBC News Online
Hazards news, 3 November 2007

Britain: Unions want more than guidance
Unions have welcomed new guidance from the Institute of Directors (IoD), but have said there should also be legal safety duties on directors. TUC head of safety Hugh Robertson welcomed thte guide, but said “we need a clear legal duty on directors” and Tony Woodley, Unite joint general secretary, said: “Government is right to say there is an obligation on employers but instead of that being moral and ethical, in other words voluntary, it should be compulsory and enshrined in law.”
Unite news release
Hazards news, 3 November 2007

Britain: Directors publish voluntary code
Company directors have published their own voluntary guidelines to good boardroom safety practice. The Institute of Directors (IoD) says the new guidance will remind directors it is their responsibility to lead on health and safety and establish policies and practices that make it an integral part of their culture and values.
HSE news release and new director leadership webpages
Hazards news, 3 November 2007

Britain: Directors must be made to be safe
Boardrooms must be compelled to take workplace health and safety seriously, a new union-backed report has concluded. ‘Bringing justice to the boardroom’, prepared for construction union UCATT by the Centre for Corporate Accountability, says there has been a “complete failure” of the voluntary approach to reducing injuries and fatalities in the workplace.
UCATT news release and full reportCCA news release and background materials
Hazards news, 3 November 2007

Britain: Your money or your life
The government is giving a greater priority to enforcing financial regulations than ensuring the safety of UK workers, the union representing Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspectors has warned. Responding to official HSE fatality statistics, Prospect said it is unacceptable that the organisation responsible for enforcing health and safety law has been facing year-on-year real term cuts and dwindling staff numbers while the Financial Services Authority (FSA) has seen a rise in both funding and staff over the same period.
Prospect news release
Hazards news, 10 November 2007

Britain: HSE faces nuclear inspector shortage
The government is so short of nuclear inspectors that the programme of new reactors being planned may have to be put on hold, leaked papers show. The business secretary, John Hutton, has warned Gordon Brown that the government has only five inspectors working on the design assessments of the three types of reactors being considered for Britain, with an additional 35 inspectors are needed to be in place within 16 months.
The GuardianHazards enforcement webpages
Hazards news, 27 October 2007

Britain: Site employers quibble but don’t act
The construction group given responsibility by ministers to lead a site safety drive after fatalities took a dramatic upturn has admitted it cannot tackle the problem until it gets its own house in order. Work and pensions secretary Peter Hain has charged the health and safety task group of the construction industry’s Strategic Forum, composed of the major players in the industry, to come up with ideas to improve safety practices in the sector by the end of 2007.
Hazards magazine news report
Hazards news, 20 October 2007

Ireland: Watchdog to pursue 'trouble free' firms
Just because a firm does not report any accidents, doesn’t mean accidents are not occurring there, Ireland’s safety watchdog has said. The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) says companies with a history of not reporting or under-reporting workplace accidents are about to come under additional scrutiny, in marked contrast with the approach taken by Britain’s Health and Safety Executive.
HSA news release
Hazards news, 6 October 2007

Britain: New HSC chair wants boardroom action
The new chair of the Health and Safety Commission (HSC) has called for more board level engagement and ownership on health and safety issues. Judith Hackitt - who has previously served time as a HSC commissioner - has held top posts in chemical industry lobby groups, including a stint as director general of the Chemical Industries Association.
HSE news release and Judith Hackitt profile
Hazards news, 6 October 2007

Britain: Minister backs jail for health worker abuse
The government is injecting £97 million into hospital security, to help protect staff from intimidation and violence. The money, which will be spread over four years, will ensure better security in hospitals, including improved training for staff to deal with aggressive behaviour.
DH news releaseUNISON news release
Hazards news, 29 September 2007

Britain: Wide support for ICL/Stockline inquiry
Unions and health and safety experts have backed a call by HSE union Prospect for a full inquiry into the ILC/Stockline disaster.
STUC news releaseStatement from the authors of the ICL/Disaster report
Hazards news, 29 September 2007

Britain: HSE union calls for ICL disaster inquiry
The union representing staff in the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has called for a public inquiry into the ICL/Stockline factory explosion in Glasgow in May 2004 that killed nine workers and seriously injured 40.
Prospect news releaseBBC News OnlineICL/Stockline disaster website
Hazards news, 29 September 2007

USA: Mine tragedy was ‘an unnatural disaster’
The coal mine collapse last month that killed six miners and three more workers involved in a rescue attempt was ‘an unnatural disaster’, a US commentator has said. The Mountain Eagle’s Tom Bethell, in a 29 August editorial, said: “Robert Murray, a mine owner obviously in need of clinical help, insisted from day one that the August 6 cave-in at his Crandall Canyon Mine in Utah was a natural disaster, triggered by an earthquake that no one could have anticipated.”
The Pump Handle • Federal Register, volume 68, page 53041, 9 September 2003 [pdf]AFL-CIO Now update on Senate hearings into the Crandall mine disaster
Hazards news, 8 September 2007

Britain: Baggage handling firm picks up a fine
A firm that last year failed in an employment tribunal bid to wriggle out of an improvement notice issued because of inadequate airport manual handling measures has now been fined for ignoring a Health and Safety Executive manual handling notice. Manchester Airport ground handling company Menzies Aviation (UK) Ltd pleaded guilty to safety offences and to failing to comply with an improvement notice.
HSE news releaseHSE back pain webpages
Hazards news, 8 September 2007

Britain: Inspection cuts could cost lives
Proposals to limit on-the-spot safety inspections could result in increased workplace deaths and injuries, the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) has warned. Safety professionals’ organisation IOSH warns that a draft code of practice for regulators proposes that random inspection should only be a small element of a regulator’s programme, used to test its processes, and recommends that regulators “allow or even encourage economic progress and only intervene when there is a clear case for protection.”
IOSH news release • Code of Practice for Regulators – A Consultation, Cabinet Office: draft code [pdf]
Hazards news, 8 September 2007

South Africa: Threats to inspectors must end
Construction industry employers must allow labour inspectors onto their construction sites to carry out inspections or face “the full might of the law”, South Africa’s labour minister has said. Membathisi Mdladlana called on employers to cooperate after an inspector was threatened with death by an employer after issuing a notice to stop dangerous work at a construction site.
Hazards news, 1 September 2007

Britain: Asbestos dumper gets his assets frozen
A Bradford man jailed in March for illegally dumping asbestos and excavation waste has had his assets frozen in the first case of its kind. The Assets Recovery Agency (ARA), working with the Environment Agency (EA), obtained restraint orders to freeze properties belonging to 60-year-old William Reidy and related to the illegal activities of his demolition business Space Making Development.
Assets Recovery Agency news releaseTelegraph and Argus
Hazards news, 25 August 2007

Britain: Safety warning on Tory’s red tape cuts
The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) has called on the Conservatives to “completely re-think” before considering sweeping cuts to ‘red tape’, a move IOSH says could reduce competitiveness and end up costing lives. The safety professionals’ organisation said that it believes repealing the Working Time Regulations could lead to “a UK where worker-exploitation becomes rife.”
IOSH news release
Hazards news, 25 August 2007

Britain: Tory plan for red tape 'tax cut'
Tory leader David Cameron is looking at plans to cut £14bn in red tape and regulation for UK businesses – and some safety measures are in the firing line. The plans have been put forward by John Redwood - one of the most senior figures on the Tory right and chair of the party’s Economic Competitiveness Policy Group - who called them “a tax cut by any other name.”
TUC news releaseConservative Party Freeing Britain to compete webpages and Economic Competitive Policy Group full report [pdf]
Hazards news, 25 August 2007

USA: Boss used homeless to remove asbestos
A US contractor who hired homeless men to remove asbestos without proper protective gear has been sentenced to 21 months in prison. John Edward Callahan, 56, had pleaded guilty earlier this year to a Clean Air Act violation – but because he doesn’t have the resources was not fined or required to pay for medical monitoring and treatment of the men he'd exposed to asbestos.
Roanoke Times
Hazards news, 11 August 2007

USA: Two jailed after fatal site plunge
A Brooklyn judge has sentenced the two owners of a construction company to the maximum penalty of six months in prison for causing the death of a worker who was not equipped with a safety harness when he fell from a scaffold. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) had cited the firm as recently as March 2007 for defective scaffolding at another New York work site - and that the defendants have ignored the $34,000 (£17,000) fine.
NY Daily News
Hazards news, 11 August 2007

Britain: Make the punishment fit the crime
Safety professionals’ organisation IOSH has said last week’s £121.5 million fine for British Airways for illegally fixing fuel surcharges provides a stark contrast to the fines handed out by the courts for health and safety offences. The combined fines total for all safety convictions secured by HSE in 2005/06 was less than a fifth the fine incurred by BA for the single breach of financial rules.
IOSH news release
Hazards news, 11 August 2007

Britain: Cost-cutting accident boss jailed
A “cunning” businessman whose cost-cutting and “callous” disregard for safety led to a near fatal accident involving one of his workers has been jailed for six months and ordered to pay £90,000 compensation to the victim. Shah Nawaz Pola had denied being responsible for a Bradford building site where Slovakian worker Dusan Dudi suffered what were thought to be non-survivable injuries when he was struck by a concrete lintel.
Yorkshire PostTelegraph and Argus
Hazards news, 11 August 2007

Britain: Unite calls for more honest offshore statistics
Health and safety statistics for the offshore oil and gas sector from all sources should be combined and released “in a more open, honest fashion” as the current system is obscuring most fatalities, offshore union Unite has said. The union say HSE statistics show just two fatalities in the sector in 2006/07, but the 11 deaths reported to other UK agencies go unmentioned.
Unite news releaseHSE news releaseOffshore safety statistics bulletin 2006/07
Hazards news, 11 August 2007

Finland: SAK says get tough on safety crimes
Finland’s largest union confederation wants longer jail terms possible for workplace safety crimes. SAK says penalties should be comparable with those in force for environmental and economic crimes.
Trade Union News from Finland
Hazards news, 4 August 2007

Britain: Cash-starved HSE fails to probe major injuries
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is failing to investigate hundreds of the most serious workplace accidents every year because of a lack of resources, safety campaigners have found. Figures obtained by the trade union-backed safety magazine Hazards show that an increasing number of major injuries which should according to HSE rules require investigation are overlooked because of “inadequate resources”.
What gorilla? Rising deaths, enforcement scandal, consultation farce, useless statistics, Hazards magazine, Number 99, 2007 • Hazards enforcement webpages
Hazards news, 4 August 2007

Britain: Work deaths fall out continues
Work fatality figures released last week and described by TUC as “dreadful” have led to more calls for extra resources for the beleaguered Health and Safety Executive. Prospect negotiations officer Mike Macdonald said HSE “cannot meet its public expectations to advise, inspect and enforce workplace health and safety so that Britain’s 28 million workers have confidence they will not be injured or killed at work.”
Prospect news release
Hazards news, 4 August 2007

Britain: Enforcement reduces deaths says site union
Construction union UCATT is demanding that Britain’s safety watchdog learn a lesson from its Irish counterpart when it comes to construction safety. The union has also called for top Health and Safety Executive (HSE) bosses, who announced last week a massive hike in construction deaths, to “consider their positions”.
UCATT news release
Hazards news, 4 August 2007

Britain: Let-off for directors takes shine off new law
Unions and campaign groups have given a lukewarm welcome to the new corporate killing law, saying the omission of explicit legal duties on and penalties for company directors is a major flaw. Alan Ritchie, general secretary of construction union UCATT, said it was “a hollow victory.”
UCATT news releaseUnite-Amicus news releaseFACK news release
Hazards news, 28 July 2007

Britain: Corporate killing law finally passed
The long awaited corporate killing law is to take effect next year. TUC general secretary Brendan Barber gave the law a qualified welcome, saying: “Even though unions wanted the bill to make individual directors personally liable for safety breaches and penalties against employers committing safety crimes to be tougher, we hope it will mean the start of a change in the safety culture at the top of the UK's companies and organisations.”
Ministry of Justice news releaseTUC news releaseDetails of the new Act
Hazards news, 28 July 2007

Britain: Urgent action call as deaths soar
Deaths at work are at a five year high, new figures from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) show. Statistics for 2006/07 released on 26 July show 241 workers died, up 11 per cent from 217 deaths in 2005/06.
HSE 2006/07 statistics reportTUC news release
Hazards news, 28 July 2007

South Africa: Unenforced laws leave work unsafe
Lenient, poorly enforced occupational safety laws are allowing companies to get away with inadequate safety measures, the Southern African Institute for Occupational Hygiene has said. Deon van Vuuren, the institute's president, said most firms did not carry out risk assessments every two years, as required by law, because government inspections rarely took place.
Business Report
Hazards news, 21 July 2007

Britain: HSE move will ‘haemorrhage key expertise’
Plans to relocate the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) policy division will damage its ability to advise Whitehall, fail to produce promised savings and risks haemorrhaging key expertise within the safety organisation, HSE unions have warned. Prospect and PCS members protested outside HSE’s London HQ on 17 July.
Prospect news release
Hazards news, 21 July 2007

Britain: Fate of work deaths law in the balance
The fate of a bill to allow companies to be prosecuted where gross negligence leads to the death of employees or members of the public is in the balance after the Lords voted for a fourth time to extend its scope to include deaths in custody. The corporate manslaughter and corporate homicide bill could fall if it does not become law by 19 July.
House of Lords debate on the Bill, 9 July 2007Parliament website tracking progress on the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Bill
Hazards news, 14 July 2007

Britain: Business wants regulated workplaces
A government push for less workplace regulation and enforcement is the opposite of what works and what businesses want, two new reports suggest. Findings of an 18-month inquiry published this week by Tomorrow’s Company, a group of prominent corporate leaders, calls for more, and better, regulation to reward environmentally and socially responsible companies and a report published on 4 July by The Work Foundation, concluded “re-regulation” and not deregulation that had led to the positive changes to the labour market without any credible evidence of damage to economic performance, while unemployment had remained relatively low.
Tomorrow’s Company news releaseTomorrow's global company: Challenges and choices – executive summary [pdf] • The Work Foundation news release • 7 out of 10: Labour Under Labour 1997-2007 [pdf] • The case for safety regulation and enforcement - Hazards enforcement webpages
Hazards news, 7 July 2007

USA: Call for three strikes policy for safety crimes
In the wake of an unprecedented 29 construction-related deaths in New York City over the last year, contractors and union leaders joined forces in mid-May to urge passage of a tough three-strikes-and-out penalty system that would ban repeat offenders from obtaining building permits for five years. The penalty is part of a comprehensive set of construction industry reforms sought by the groups that includes strengthened safety laws in an effort to protect the public and city construction workers.
Contractor magazine
Hazards news, 30 June 2007

Britain: HSC urged to act on directors’ safety duties
The failure of the Health and Safety Commission (HSC) to press the government to change the law and introduce safety duties on company directors is being challenged by the Centre for Corporate Accountability (CCA). In a letter to HSC chair Bill Callaghan, the safety charity argues that HSC must follow through its December 2005 decision to support a change in the law and introduce safety duties on company directors.
CCA news release • Text of the letter to the HSC chair [pdf]
Hazards news, 30 June 2007

Britain: Crane collapse firm get safety notice
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has served a prohibition notice on the owners of the crane that collapsed in Croydon earlier this month. Select Plant Hire Company Ltd, the Kent-based company that owned the tower crane and which is part of construction giant Laing O'Rourke, has been served a notice banning them from erecting cranes without properly trained staff.
HSE news releaseBattersea Crane Disaster Action Group
Hazards news, 23 June 2007

Britain: Top EU court backs UK safety law
The European Union's top court has dismissed charges that Britain broke EU laws by limiting how far companies need to go in ensuring the health and safety of their employees. The European Commission had argued in the European Court of Justice that a British regulation saying employers must ensure the health and safety of workers only “so far as is reasonably practicable” did not fully comply with EU rules.
ECJ news release [pdf]HSE news releaseEuropean Commission news releaseCase C127-05 European Commission v United Kingdom
Hazards news, 23 June 2007

Britain: Brown told to act on workplace safety
Gordon Brown must act to improve workplace health and safety when he becomes Labour leader and prime minister, a leading union safety adviser has said. Dave Feickert says safety improvements in Britain have stalled, enforcement is being undermined and the important additional contribution that could be played by union safety reps is being ignored.
Compass Online
Hazards news, 26 May 2007

South Africa: Move to intensify inspections at work
South African workplaces need more and better inspections and greater input from unions if their poor safety record is to be improved, the country’s top labour official has said. Department of Labour director general Vanguard Mkosana warned employers that the department is to intensify inspections of workplace law compliance throughout the year.
South Africa Department of Labour news releaseHazards enforcement webpages
Hazards news, 19 May 2007

Britain: Firm pays for ignoring enforcement notices
A defunct construction firm has been fined £6,000 after failing to comply with Health and Safety Executive (HSE) improvement notices. Harry Kindred (Newcastle) Ltd, which is now in receivership, pleaded guilty to four breaches of health and safety law.
Risks 306, 19 May 2007
Hazards news, 19 May 2007

Britain: Directors consult on directors’ duties
Top bosses organisation the Institute of Directors (IoD) has launched a consultation on new guidance spelling out the safety role of company directors. In parallel with this process, TUC and unions are continuing their campaign for new legally binding safety duties on company directors.
Directors' Duties on Health and Safety at Work - A public consultation by the Institute of Directors • Draft IoD guidance [pdf]
Hazards news, 19 May 2007

Britain: Unite calls for action on enforcement
A dramatic increase in workplace deaths shows the need for more resources for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and a reversal in the downward trend in enforcement, Britain’s biggest union has said. Unite, the union formed this month from the merger of TGWU and Amicus, made the call after latest provisional figures showed workplace fatalities in the construction industry increased last year by over 30 per cent, a figure it suggests HSE has attempted to cover up.
Amicus news releaseCCA news release including text of the HSE internal memo • HSE news release Hazards enforcement webpages and HSE is broke’ feature which first revealed HSE chief executive Geoffrey Podger’s concern about the prosecutions shortfall
Hazards news, 12 May 2007

Australia: Safety suffers after government attack
Industrial relations reforms in Australia have resulted in widespread breaches of occupational health and safety law, official figures shows. Almost a third (30 per cent) of all Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs) – individual contracts introduced by the right-wing Howard government in a bid to undermine unions – allow workers no rest breaks during their scheduled hours of work.
Risks 302, 21 April 2007

Britain: Ignore HSE enforcement notice and pay
A company director and a building firm have become the latest to receive safety penalties for ignoring HSE enforcement notices.
Risks 302, 21 April 2007

Britain: HSE union asks ‘who will enforce new rules?’
Health and Safety Executive (HSE) union Prospect has raised serious questions about the resource-depleted watchdog’s ability to enforce the new construction safety regulations. It says HSE, the body responsible for inspecting workplaces, is already reeling from massive job cuts and faces a further drive to find 15 per cent cost savings over the next three years.
Risks 302, 21 April 2007

USA: OSHA digs a hole for its deregulation push
A US law designed to make removal of protective legislation easier has instead proven that safety laws do in fact save lives. A US Department of Labor safety watchdog OSHA evaluation of the impact of the construction standard on excavations and found it had “reduced deaths from approximately 90 per year to 70 per year” while “overall construction industry activity when adjusted for inflation has increased 20 per cent,” said assistant secretary of labor for OSHA Edwin G Foulke Jr.
Risks 301, 7 April 2007

Britain: Train bosses should pay for Paddington
Unions have described the £4m imposed on Network Rail after its safety blunders contributed to the 1999 Paddington rail crash as “an insult”, with the penalty for crimes committed by a now defunct private company Railtrack being paid from the public purse. ASLEF general secretary Keith Norman called for the fines imposed on Network Rail to be taken from the bonuses of senior managers.
Risks 301, 7 April 2007

Britain: Network Rail fined £4m for Paddington crash
Network Rail has fined £4m after a court found it responsible for a catalogue of failures that resulted in the Paddington rail crash, which left 31 people dead and 400 injured. In court, Mr Justice Bean said: “The fine must be a constant and lasting reminder to the management of the company and to others involved in the railways of the paramount importance of safety and to prompt attention to any identifiable risk.”
Risks 301, 7 April 2007

Britain: HSE ‘failure’ on consultation angers unions
The decision by the government’s safety watchdog not to recommend a duty on employers to consult with safety reps has been condemned by the unions TGWU and Amicus.
Risks 301, 7 April 2007

Britain: Union concern as work deaths soar
A dramatic increase in workplace fatalities has led to a union call for more safety reps and for harsher penalties on deadly employers. The call comes after Risks revealed last week that 124 workers had died in the six months from April to September 2006.
Risks 301, 7 April 2007 • Hazards deadly business webpages

Shusssssh. Don’t mention the “e” word
The top dog at the UK’s workplace safety watchdog has said flexibility and partnership are its new watch words – but has steered clear of the whole enforcement role. Geoffrey Podger, chief executive of the Health and Safety Executive, told the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) conference last week: “If we are going to ensure the world of work is as safe and as sustainable as possible, then we need to be flexible enough to respond effectively to the challenges as they arise.”
Hazards online, 4 April 2007 HSE News release

USA: Regulation by litigation is the new order
Legal action is becoming the major factor forcing safety action in the US as the official safety watchdog is revealed increasingly to have little appetite for the job. The claim, by Professor David Michaels of the George Washington University School of Public Health and previously a top US occupational health expert in the Clinton administration, comes after a report on the BP Texas City refinery blast by the US Chemical Safety Board (CSB), which censured the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for its failure to inspect refineries or require safety improvements.
Risks 300, 31 March 2007Hazards BP safety news and resourcesHazards enforcement webpages

Britain: Safety survives as a council enforcement priority
Health and safety will remain one of the top regulatory priorities for local authorities, a government backed review has concluded. The final report of the Rogers Review, released as part of the Chancellor’s budget statement and accepted by the government, has set five priorities for local authority regulatory services.
Risks 300, 31 March 2007

Britain: Dramatic rise in workplace fatalities
There has been a dramatic rise in workplace fatalities at work, official figures show. Statistics for the six months up to the end of September last year released this week by the Health and Safety Executive show 124 workers died in the six month period, compared to 212 in all of 2005/06 - if the same trend continued until the reporting year ends this month, it would push the fatalities figure to a five year high of 248 deaths, up 17 per cent on last year.
Risks 300, 31 March 2007HSE fatal injury statistics update and tablesHazards enforcement webpages

Britain: You can help TUC win on penalties!
The TUC is urging all union reps and campaigners to back a proposal for more serious safety penalties on dangerous employers. The call comes in response to a Labour Party 'Labourspace' online competition to find the best work-related campaigning issue.
VOTING IS EASY! Back the TUC 'Give safety some teeth' campaign and vote for serious safety penaltiesBackground on the campaign

Britain: Call for new journalist killing law
News company ITN has launched a campaign to create a new crime of wilfully killing a journalist. The call comes four years after the death of ITN reporter Terry Lloyd. A coroner ruled in 2006 that Mr Lloyd, 50, was unlawfully killed by troops and called for charges against them.
Risks 299, 24 March 2007International News Safety Institute website and new ‘War, journalism and stress’ trauma self-help website for journalists

Britain: Unions demand rethink on safety reps’ rights
Proposals from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) that safety reps should have no new consultation rights despite such measures being supporting overwhelmingly in a national consultation have led to union consternation and the deferral of a final decision. A TUC spokesperson said: “We urge the HSC to respect the views of those employers, safety representatives and safety professionals who responded to the consultation exercise and implement the proposed changes as soon as possible.”
Risks 299, 24 March 2007

Europe: Europe catches UK’s deregulation obsession
The UK government has welcomed a decision by governments from across the European Union “to follow the UK's lead and reduce red tape arising from EU law by 25 per cent”. EU heads of government agreed a target to reduce administrative burdens by 25 per cent by 2012, in 13 policy areas, including company law, health and safety and transport, which have been identified by the European Commission as imposing the largest administrative burdens on business.
Risks 298, 17 March 2007

Britain: Large rise in site deaths linked to safety cuts
A dramatic rise in deaths in the construction industry must shame the government into reversing cuts in the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the unions UCATT, PCS and Prospect have said. Latest figures reveal that 74 people have died on building sites already this year, an increase of 14 per cent on the 2005/06 figure of 59 deaths – and the figure could rise as the reporting year only ends on 31 March.
Risks 298, 17 March 2007

Britain: Firm pays £250,000 after worker’s electrocution
Civil engineering giant Balfour Beatty has been has been told to pay over £250,000 in fines and court costs following the fatal electrocution of a rail worker near Basingstoke. Balfour Beatty Rail Infrastructure Services pleaded guilty to safety offences at Winchester Crown Court.
Risks 297, 10 March 2007

Britain: Vote now for serious safety sanctions!
The TUC wants you to back a proposal for more serious safety penalties on dangerous employers. The call comes in response to a Labour Party ‘Labourspace’ online competition to find the best work-related campaigning issue.
Risks 297, 10 March 2007Background on the campaign • Back the TUC ‘Give safety some teeth’ campaign and vote for serious safety penalties

Britain: Sleeping lorry driver jailed for crash deaths
A lorry driver has been jailed after four people died in a motorway crash caused when he fell asleep at the wheel. German Andreas Klassen, 51, had contravened EU regulations on hauliers' working hours and pleaded guilty to four charges of causing death by dangerous driving and was jailed for five years.

Risks 296, 3 March 2007

Britain: Network Rail admits failures led to train smash
Network Rail admitted this week that maintenance failures caused the 23 February Cumbria rail crash, killing Margaret Masson, an 84-year-old passenger, and injuring dozens. Responding to the publication of an interim investigation, the company said it was “devastated” and apologised unreservedly “to all the people affected by the failure of the infrastructure.”
Risks 296, 3 March 2007

Britain: Community service for ignoring HSE safety notice
A builder has been fined and given community service for failing to carry out work properly, leading to the collapse of a shop in Elland, West Yorkshire. Shabir Naseem was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after the incident. Naseem, 47, trading as SH Builders, was sentenced to 200 hours community service and fined £7,500 with costs of £7,190.58 for breaching a prohibition notice which ordered him to stop work.
Risks 295, 24 February 2007

Britain: Usdaw slams “short-sighted” safety watchdog
Retail union Usdaw has written to the chief executive of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Geoffrey Podger slamming plans to scrap one of just two inspectors responsible for developing national safety policies in the food and agriculture sector. The food manufacturing sector has a much higher than average accident rate but budget cuts at the HSE has led the safety watchdog to axe one of the inspectors working with trade union and employer organisations to develop safe working initiatives.
Risks 295, 24 February 2007

Britain: FSA fine exposes HSE’s missing teeth
Scottish union federation STUC has expressed fury that the work safety watchdog does not have the same power to lay down hefty sentences enjoyed by the equivalent City financial watchdog. Following the fine of £980,000 imposed by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) on the Nationwide Building Society after a laptop containing confidential customer information was stolen, the STUC said breaches of finance rules are more likely to attract meaningful sanctions than those imposed on organisations that kill or maim their workers.
Risks 294, 17 February 2007Hazards deadly business webpages

USA: Bush takes stranglehold on safety watchdog
President Bush has signed a directive that gives the White House much greater control over the rules and policy statements that the government develops to protect key areas including public health, workplace safety, the environment and civil rights. Representative Henry A Waxman, a Democrat and the chair of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, said: “The executive order allows the political staff at the White House to dictate decisions on health and safety issues, even if the government’s own impartial experts disagree,” adding: “This is a terrible way to govern, but great news for special interests.”
Risks 292, 3 February 2007

Canada: Old safety system ignores new workplaces
Workplace safety inspections in Canada are out of whack with the reality of the modern workplace environment, a TV investigation has found. Reporters found inspections were up to 10 times more frequent in traditional workplaces than in non-traditional ones and found that government inspections are also following a traditional five-day, nine-to-five schedule, while an increasing number of people are working outside the traditional nine-to-five shifts, and their likelihood of having an accident increases during those periods.
Risks 292, 3 February 2007

Britain: Union anger as HSE cuts paper handling guide
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has withdrawn its guidance on transporting paper safely, in spite of opposition from the union Amicus. Tony Burke, Amicus assistant general secretary said: “Amicus has opposed the withdrawal of this guidance on the basis it was not being replaced by any effective, alternative guidance, thus leaving our members in the industry unclear about what they should do.”
Risks 291, 27 January 2007

Britain: Work health watchdog “too under-resourced” to work
The body charged with protecting the occupational health of 29 million British workers is too under-resourced to operate effectively, the union representing official health and safety specialists has warned. Prospect, the union for Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspectors, scientists and specialists, says it is fearful that a current review of HSE’s Corporate Medical Unit (CMU) will spell its death knell at a time when the HSE is seeking to shed 250-350 jobs as a result of a funding shortfall.
Risks 290, 20 January 2007

Britain: Questions asked about Corus ‘justice’
The day steel giant Corus received what has been described as a “pinprick” fine for criminal safety offences which led to the deaths of three workers, three sub-contract migrant workers at another Corus plant were jailed and told they would be deported for working illegally in the UK. The cases have thrown into stark relief concerns about the adequacy of existing workplace health and safety penalties, with the father of one of the dead men backing a campaign calling for the jailing of company directors found guilty of deadly safety crimes.
Risks 288, 23 December 2006 Fack website Hazards deadly business webpages Hazards Corus webpage

Britain: Safety watchdog acts after union safety claims
A London food firm targeted by the union GMB after a series of safety violations has received an official safety warning. A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation at one of three London factories run by Katsouris Fresh Foods, owned by the giant Icelandic Bakkavör Group, has resulted in an improvement notice, after the safety watchdog found a machine that removed a worker’s finger tip was inadequately guarded.
Risks 288, 23 December 2006 Hazards migrant workers' webpages

Britain: Safety must stay top of the council agenda
Retail union Usdaw has said health and safety must remain top of the agenda for local authorities. The call follows the announcement of a government review of local council statutory responsibilities.
Risks 288, 23 December 2006

Britain: All sides say stop sniping at safety
Safety, enforcement, union and employers’ organisations have ganged together to call for an end to the “unremitting criticism” of health and safety and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
Risks 287, 16 December 2006

Britain: Blair unveils massive attack on ‘red tape’
Tony Blair has outlined 500 measures the government says will cut the £14bn cost of red tape to individuals, firms and charities. A number of safety measures are included in the plans, which aim to cut red tape by 25 per cent across all government departments.
Risks 287, 16 December 2006

Britain: HSC consults on safety structure reforms
The Health and Safety Commission (HSC) has published a public consultation document seeking views on merging health and safety oversight body HSC and its enforcement arm the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) into a single health and safety authority. HSC says a merger with HSE “will modernise our corporate governance and provide a stronger voice for health and safety.”
A stronger voice for health and safety - A Consultative Document on merging the Health and Safety Commission and Health and Safety Executive, CD210. Comments on the consultation should be sent to Ami Badmus, HSE, Rose Court, 2 Southwark Bridge, London. SE1 9HS. Closing date for comments, 5 March 2007.

Britain: Work safety system has saved over 5,000 lives
The UK’s workplace health and safety system has saved over 5,000 lives, according to a new official report. The Health and Safety Commission’s (HSC) Measuring up… Performance report 2006 estimates this is the number of lives saved since the introduction of the 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act, as a result of measures to reduce the number of workplace accidents.
Risks 286, 9 December 2006 Measuring Up… Performance Report 2006, HSC, December 2006

Britain: HSE action “too late” says grieving family
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) improvement notice came “too late”, a grieving family has said. The action to improve electrical safety on Camden council sites came two months after the electrocution of scaffolder Ralph Kennedy on a construction job.
Risks 285, 2 December 2006 Hazards deadly business webpages

Britain: Government promises to cut red tape
The government has delighted the business lobby by promising to slash red tape. Prime minister Tony Blair told the CBI conference this week he plans to order every government department to cut regulation by 25 per cent - the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is the UK’s second largest official regulatory and inspections body, after the Environment Agency.

Risks 285, 2 December 2006

Global: More inspections equals few injuries, lower costs
Beefed up health and safety inspection systems reduce costs and injuries, the International Labour Organisation has said. The ILO report proposes a series of measures designed to “reinvigorate”, modernise and strengthen labour inspectorates worldwide, including tripartite labour inspection audits to help governments identify and remedy weaknesses in labour inspection, the development of ethical and professional codes of conduct, labour inspection fact sheets, global inspection principles, and hands-on tools for risk assessment, occupational safety and health management systems and targeted training for inspectors.
Risks 284, 25 November 2006

Britain: Amicus slams falling enforcement
A major drop in official enforcement action could lead to an increase in work-related injuries and illnesses, the union Amicus has warned. Calling for more inspections, better enforcement and stronger laws, the union said the statistics from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) released last week show that enforcement notices and prosecutions have now fallen for the last three years.
Risks 282, 11 November 2006

Britain: Good news on safety, not on safety crimes
The TUC has welcomed new statistics showing a decline in the number of people injured or made ill by their jobs. But it has expressed alarm over a further fall in the number of employers being prosecuted for breaches of safety law, with a new TUC survey of union safety reps showing enforcement is the most effective way of ensuring employers comply with health and safety laws.
Risks 281, 4 November 2006

Britain: Accidents, ill-health and enforcement all fall
New Health and Safety Commission (HSC) figures show reported major injuries to employees in 2005/06 were down seven per cent on the previous year to 28,605, compared to 30,451 in 2004/05. The same statistics report reveals, however, that last year safety prosecutions taken by HSE again fell markedly, down by 23 per cent drop on the then record low previous year.
Risks 281, 4 November 2006

Britain: TUC explodes dangerous safety myths
The TUC has warned health and safety myths including schools banning conkers, safety inspectors banning ladders and acrobats being forced to wear helmets risk undermining genuine safety concerns.
Risks 280, 28 October 2006

Britain: Unions call for safety enforcement rethink
More unions have raised concerns about the strategy of the UK’s resource-strapped health and safety watchdog. In a “highly critical” submission to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), ollege and university staff union UCU says the health of thousands of its members “is being put at risk by a shift in the focus of the HSE from inspection and enforcement to the offering of guidance to employers.”
Risks 277, 7 October 2006

Britain: Action call to protect safety enforcement
Trade unions have called for action to prevent widespread job cuts in the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and have expressed concern at the shift from enforcement towards a more advisory HSE role. An emergency resolution from HSE unions Prospect and PCS passed by unions at last week’s TUC Congress expressed “deep concern” at HSE’s announcement that a funding shortfall means up to 350 jobs are to go by 2008.
Risks 275, 23 September 2006

Britain: Official safety inspections “in freefall”
The major workplace accident rate has increased as Health and Safety Executive (HSE) safety inspections, prosecutions, convictions, notices and contact time with firms have all plummeted, according to a new report. The Hazards magazine ‘Come Clean’ report predicted the announcement of widespread funding and job cuts in HSE, and warns that inspections are “in freefall”.
Hazards news update, 19 August 2006Full online report

Britain: Unions call for inspections not cuts
Unions have said the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) must be given the resources to maintain an effective workplace inspection and enforcement role.
Risks 270, 19 August 2006

Britain: HSE unions condemn dangerous cutbacks
Plans to drastically cut staffing and budgets in the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have been condemned by unions representing the safety watchdog’s staff. Prospect and PCS say the “crippling” cuts, which HSE chief executive Geoffrey Podger told staff are the result of budgeting blunders by the HSE board, will leave workers at greater risk.
Hazards news update, 19 August 2006

Britain: Blitz proves the union safety case
A Health and Safety Executive construction blitz which found most sites visited had potentially life-threatening work methods proves the case for enforcement and greater safety reps’ rights, the union Amicus has said.
Risks 264, 8 July 2006Hazards ‘Sure, we’ll be safe’ report on falling HSE inspections and enforcement

Britain: Stop the red tape whinge, TUC tells employers
The TUC has hit out at employers' groups that complain about the burden of “red tape” but exaggerate its cost and fail to state which regulations they would like to see abolished. It says that the deregulation campaign is based on “spin, smoke and mirrors” and a refusal to say which employment, consumer and environmental protection measures they want to abolish.
Risks 249, 25 March 2006

Britain: HSE in pact with employers’ body
The Health and Safety Executive has signed a “groundbreaking partnership agreement” with EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, which it says will promote effective health and safety management across manufacturing industries. HSE says the agreement is the first of its kind between the safety watchdog and another organisation.
Risks 242, 4 February 2006

USA: Mine tragedy exposes deadly Bush strategy
The Bush administration’s heavily touted shift to voluntary compliance measures on workplace safety has been implicated in the Sago mine tragedy. Among changes pushed through by the government has been a rebranding of mines safety inspectors as “compliance assistance specialists.”
Risks 239, 14 January 2006

Britain: Union shops enforcement sell out
An attempt by official safety enforcers to introduce self-regulation is the retail sector has been criticised as “misguided” by shopworkers’ union Usdaw. It says major retail chains, including Asda, IKEA, Sainsbury’s and Tesco, have all been fined for criminal breaches of safety law at the same time that the government is piloting a reduction in inspections.

Risks 237, 17 December 2005

Britain: Retail giants fined for safety offences
Sainsbury’s and IKEA have joined the list of major retail chains prosecuted this year for criminal breaches of safety law. The government is currently piloting a self-regulation approach in the retail sector, where top companies in the scheme are not visited by official safety enforcement officers.
Risks 236, 10 December 2005

Britain: TUC to HSE – inspect, enforce and regulate
The TUC says the Health and Safety Executive’s “simplification” response to the government’s “better regulation” drive should concentrate on making the safety system more effective rather than just attempting to reduce regulatory burdens on business.
Risks 235, 3 December 2005

Britain: Workers pay with their lives for deregulation
Workers are paying a high price for the constant government drive to “deregulate” business, according to a new report. The Crime and Society Foundation’s ‘Criminal Obsessions’ report says more than a thousand employees die in occupational fatalities each year, yet safety inspections are low and enforcement is lower still.

Risks 229, 22 October 2005

Britain: TUC concern at broken enforcement promise
The TUC has expressed grave concern at a dramatic drop in official workplace health and safety enforcement activity. Latest figures show the numbers of Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecutions taken and enforcement notices issued have fallen dramatically, despite repeated assurances from HSC chair Bill Callaghan that this would not occur under HSE’s “2010 and beyond” strategy.
Risks 229, 22 October 2005

Britain: Watchdogs say partnerships are the “the way forward”
Britain’s health and safety watchdogs have launched a new project to boost “partnerships” on health and safety with large organisations. The Large Organisation Project Pilot (LOPP) “is about customer-focussed and coordinated activities, aimed at finding the most effective approaches to partnership working with the aim of securing improvements in health and safety,” said the incoherent HSE acting chief executive Justin McCracken.

Risks 227, 8 October 2005

Bulgaria: Better enforcement delivers better conditions
A labour inspection clampdown in Bulgaria has led to a massive improvement in safety and working conditions. A report from the General Labour Inspectorate (GLI) said improved regular inspections and penalties led to a doubling of the number of employers adopting programmes to eliminate workplace risks between 2003 and 2004, and a clear drop in the number of workplace accidents.
Risks 226, 1 October 2005

Global: Deregulation is the treacherous choice
Regulation and enforcement are the best ways to ensure safe and healthy workplaces, top international union leaders have said. They called on the ILO to back a rights based approach, with trade union recognition and reasonable rights of access to workplaces to recruit, organise and represent on health and safety.
Risks 225, 24 September 2005

Britain: Firms could get safety inspection opt-out
A top government official has indicated some firms will soon be able to apply for self-regulation, opting-out of the official health and safety inspection system. Paul Millar, head of the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) retail enforcement pilot, said there were plans for a ‘traffic light’ system in which ‘excellent’ businesses, that demonstrated high standards through self-reporting, customer feedback or external accreditation, would not be inspected by health and safety and food safety inspectors.
Risks 225, 24 September 2005

Britain: Gangmaster backtracking throws a lifeline to criminals
Unions TGWU and GMB have warned that government pressure for the Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA) to limit pre-licensing inspections to those gangmasters deemed sufficiently “risky” means rogues will avoid detection and will be granted a licence to operate.
Risks 225, 24 September 2005

USA: Concern as US exports do-it-yourself enforcement
The rapid expansion of a voluntary alternative for firms who want to opt-out of formal safety inspection and enforcement is causing concern in the US and Europe.
Risks 222, 3 September 2005

Britain: Call for end of dangerous “deregulation fetish”
The government’s “deregulation fetish” will cost lives, a top workplace health and safety campaign has warned ministers. At the Hazards 2005 conference in Leeds last week, 580 safety reps, union safety officers and national union officials representing millions of workers agreed that the UK government’s push to reduce inspections and “red tape” on business so Britain can compete in the global marketplace will only succeed in making Britain a far more dangerous place to work.

Risks 218, 6 August 2005

Britain: Risk tolerance is the real workplace killer
In the week after safety minister Lord Hunt launched an online Health and Safety Executive (HSE) debate about “the causes of risk aversion in health and safety”, a series of tragedies have highlighted a far more pressing problem – deadly risk tolerance by employers.
Risks, 216, 23 July 2005

Britain: HSE continues move to a more advisory role
The Health and Safety Commission says it is seeking “the right balance of enforcement and advice”, in line with the enforcement-lite approach sought by the government and the Hampton report.
Hazards magazine, July 2005

Britain: Risk aversion row brewing
The Health and Safety Executive has launched an online debate “on the causes of risk aversion in health and safety,” a move which is certain to highlight divisions about what some see as a “business-friendly” shift in the safety watchdog’s approach.
Risks 215, 16 July 2005

USA: Safety enforcer "no longer much of a problem"
US rights to basic protection at work are being fatally undermined by the Bush government, latest evidence suggests. Mark Friedman, director of labour law for the US Chamber of Commerce, told the programme: "There is no reason why workers should have a voice in negotiating health and safety policy" because OSHA does not enforce against workers.
Risks 189, 8 January 2005

Britain: Workers can't be victims of the war on red tape
A government plan to reel in red tape must not remove safety protections, campaigners have warned. They were responding after Gordon Brown announced "the regulatory focus should be on advice not inspection."
Risks 186, 11 December 2004

Global: Strong enforcement action is the key to safety
A real threat of enforcement action by official safety agencies is the best way to secure improved safety standards, a major international review has found.
Risks 184, 27 November 2004

Britain: TUC call for new powers to save workers' lives
A further rise in workplace deaths and injuries exposes Britain's failing safety enforcement regime, says the TUC. TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "The fact that deaths and serious injuries at work have risen again this year is a damning indictment on the levels of safety and the enforcement regimes in British workplaces."
Risks 183, 20 November 2004

Britain: HSE board "eroding safety" say inspectors
Health and Safety Executive (HSE) frontline staff say cutbacks and a move to leaflet rather than legislate pushed through by senior management is eroding workplace safety. In a devastating indictment of top HSE bosses, 96.4 per cent of HSE inspectors, scientists and other professionals supported a "no confidence" motion in HSE's board.
Risks 183, 20 November 2004

Britain: HSE report shows a dramatic drop in enforcement
Health and safety enforcement dropped off dramatically last year according to latest Health and Safety Executive (HSE) figures. Total HSE enforcement action last year - prosecutions taken or HSE enforcement notices issued - dropped by approaching 1,000.
Risks 183, 20 November 2004

Britain: Commissioner calls for 50 more HSE inspectors for Scotland
A top union official is warning that any cuts to the Health and Safety Commission's budget could leave Scottish workers without the protection they deserve. Danny Carrigan, Amicus assistant general secretary, who represents Scottish workers on the Health and Safety Commission, told the TUC's safety conference this week he would be seeking an increase of 50 inspectors in Scotland to deal with the growing number of migrant and temporary agency workers.
Risks 182, 13 November 2004

Britain: TUC urges government to "give us the tools we need"
The TUC has called for dramatic improvements in the UK's approach to safety. Speaking at a TUC conference to mark 30 years of the Health and Safety at Work Act and the setting up of the Health and Safety Commission, TUC general secretary Brendan Barber outlined the four key requirements for healthy workplaces: resources; enforcement; rehabilitation; and consultation.
Risks 182, 13 November 2004

Britain: Health and safety "strong but failing," says GMB
GMB general secretary Kevin Curran has accused the government of having "spurned" another opportunity to improve health and safety in the UK. He warned that the government risked "sounding the death knell for tripartism, a departure from regulation and a further step towards supporting the pursuit of profit whatever the cost."
Risks 182, 13 November 2004

Britain: HSE union spells out the flaws in HSC safety plan
A briefing from HSE inspectors' union Prospect has spelt out point by point why the government is wrong not to accept the Work and Pensions Select Committee's call for more resources for HSE, more enforcement and more rights for safety reps.
Risks 181, 6 November 2004

Britain: Directors get off scot free, says CCA
The government's rejection of key recommendations of the Work and Pensions Select Committee is a "knee-jerk deregulatory" response, says safety justice watchdog CCA.
Risks 180, 30 October 2004

Britain: Government "green light for killing", says Prospect
The government's dismissal of a select committee call for adequate resources to safeguard UK workers will give rogue employers the green light to continue maiming and killing employees, the HSE inspectors' union Prospect has warned.
Risks 180, 30 October 2004

Britain: TUC dismay at safety's"missed opportunity"
The TUC has expressed dismay the government's "disappointing" response to a select committee report on workplace safety, particularly its rejection of a call for stronger enforcement and more HSE resources and safety representatives' rights.
Risks 180, 30 October 2004

Britain: Workplaces are unsafe and unseen
The lives of workers and members of the public are being put at risk because too few employers are receiving visits from official health and safety inspectors, according a new TUC safety survey. The interim findings show almost four in ten (39 per cent) of the union safety reps questioned by the TUC said that their workplace had never been inspected by either the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) or by a local authority safety inspector.
Risks 179, 23 October 2004

Britain: What should the safety watchdog do?
The Health and Safety Commission has kicked off the latest stage in its development of an "interventions strategy" - establishing the main techniques it will use as a regulator. The move comes amid fevered debate over the UK's future health and safety strategy, particularly the balance between enforcement and voluntary approaches.
Risks 176, 2 October 2004

HSE strategy shift threatens lives says Amicus

A sea change in strategy by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will reduce the number and frequency of workplace inspections, is reckless and will endanger lives, says the union Amicus.

Making companies safe, a new report commissioned by Amicus from the Centre for Corporate Accountability, reviews the UK and international evidence and concludes inspection and investigation backed by legislation are most effective in guaranteeing safety at work.

Yet the HSE are moving away from regulation and is instead favouring voluntary approaches, says Amicus. As well as being dangerous, says the union, the change of direction has been dictated by a lack of resources, which has forced a recruitment freeze and a reduction in the number of HSE inspectors and the frequency of inspections. On top of this, a Treasury-led review is looking at the possibility of conducting "targeted inspection programmes" that could exempt some companies from HSE inspections altogether.

Derek Simpson, general secretary of Amicus, said: "There is overwhelming evidence that the threat of legal action is the key driver for companies to improve their health and safety standards. The HSE's new focus on education and information through voluntarism is not enough unless backed by rigorous and effective enforcement action." He added: "Companies have to be compelled to act and the current low levels of inspection, enforcement and prosecution do not provide a sufficient deterrent to those who have little regard for the health and safety of their employees."

Amicus news releaseCCA news releaseMaking companies safe: What work? - introduction, main findings and full report [pdf]

softlawsEurope: Dutch unions boycott EU "deregulatory" safety conference Major union groups have boycotted a flagship European Union (EU) conference. Dutch union federation FNV and Christian union CNV says the conference, which took place in Amsterdam from 15-17 September, is a thinly veiled attempt to push a health and safety deregulation agenda. Risks 174, 18 September 2004

USA: Dramatic shift away from safety enforcement
The US safety enforcement agency is planning a dramatic shift towards more "voluntary protection programmes" (VPP) and away from inspection and enforcement. However, the official justification for the programme - that it saves lives and money - has been challenged in official reports.
Risks 173, 11 September 2004

Britain: HSC pushes forward with its enforcement-lite plan
The Health and Safety Commission (HSC) is pushing ahead with a controversial plan to provide advice "free from the fear of enforcement." The approach, criticised at this month's TUC Congress, is part of a new HSC strategy that has been descried by critics as "enforcement-lite" and "resource rationing".
Risks 175, 25 September 2004

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