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Britain: Loco campaign sets improvements in train
Train cabs riddled with comfort and safety problems are being improved after a campaign by train drivers’ union ASLEF.
Risks 300
Hazards news, 31 March 2007

USA: Unions wear down Bush in protective gear victory
The Bush administration has said it will issue by November a final rule telling employers they must not charge for personal protective equipment (PPE). The action follows a lawsuit filed by national union federation AFL-CIO and the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) in January this year to force implementation of the eight-year delayed rule.
Risks 299
Hazards news, 24 March 2007

Britain: Union reverses unsafe Royal Mail austerity drive
Royal Mail has backtracked after postal union CWU revealed an end of year cost cutting exercise was undermining agreed safety procedures. The problem started when Royal Mail managing director Ian Griffiths introduced on 25 January a major “austerity” drive across Royal Mail Letters, with an internal memo instructing managers to cut all expenditure in the final weeks of this financial year.
Risks 295
Hazards news, 24 February 2007

Britain: Food firm injuries fall thanks to union role
Carlisle-based company Cavaghan & Gray has seen a dramatic fall in workplace injuries and dangerous incidents thanks to a new hazard spotting approach agreed with unions. The company, part of the Northern Foods group, struck a new deal agreed with Usdaw reps that resulted in the introduction of a zero tolerance campaign, based around a simple hazard/near miss reporting form.
Risks 295
Hazards news, 24 February 2007

Britain: Union reps really make a difference
Despite clear evidence that union reps make workplaces safer and more productive, they are seeing their careers damaged as a result of their unpaid role. Research this week from Personnel Today and the TUC reveals that 92 per cent of union reps - 38 per cent “definitely” and 54 per cent “possibly” - believe they could sacrificing their careers in order to represent their colleagues even though they enjoy a largely positive, professional working relationship with their organisations’ human relations departments.
Risks 292
Hazards news, 3 February 2007

USA: Construction firms push unions as safer choice
With the number of construction deaths on non-union sites skyrocketing, New York's largest building contractors’ association has launched a $1 million (£0.5m) ad campaign to underscore the importance of hiring union workers. The year-long media blitz is aimed at “public policymakers and real estate developers,” said Louis Coletti, president of the Building Trades Employers' Association (BTEA).
Risks 287
Hazards news, 16 December 2006

USA: Non-union workers at greater risk on site
Union members in New York are less likely to be injured or killed at work, US safety officials have said. Richard Mendelson, the Manhattan director for OSHA, decried the lax safety enforcement at construction sites, and acknowledged a connection between union presence and worker safety.
Risks 285
Hazards news, 2 December 2006

USA: Safety No.1 reason to join a union
American workers rank workplace safety as the top reason to join a union, according to new research. A poll by the Employment Law Alliance, a network of management side employment lawyers, found 63 per cent of workers surveyed identified health and safety as an important factor in deciding to join a union, followed by getting better benefits (60 per cent), obtaining higher wages (57 per cent) and increasing job security (54 per cent).
Risks 274
Hazards news, 16 September 2006

Australia: Protests as safety action is “criminalised”
Trade unionists from across Australia rallied on 29 August in support of more than 100 West Australian construction workers whose rowdy court appearance launched their fight against unprecedented fines for striking. Unions are warning that the industrial relations changes introduced by the federal government mean strike action on safety grounds has been “criminalised”.
Risks 272
Hazards news, 2 September 2006 • Hazards union effect webpages

Australia: Union prosecutes bank for not deterring robbers
An Australian bank has been forced to cough up Aus$145,000 (£59,000) in fines after a union took it to court for leaving workers at risk from violent robbers. Half of the fine from the current case will be paid to the official Workcover Authority and the balance to the union.
Risks 250
Hazards news, 1 April 2006

China: Premier stresses union role in work safety
Trade unions should and can play a major role in work safety supervision, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has said. Trade unions at all levels should be fully involved “especially in work safety supervision” to better safeguard workers' interests, the premier said.
Risks 248
Hazards news, 18 March 2006

Britain: Brent Council finds safety reps and committees make safer schools
Recently trained safety representatives are already making a
difference. A Brent NUT safety representatives survey, carried out in June 2005, showed that after just one day's training safety representatives carried out more than three times as many activities as untrained safety representatives. Now with more training they are transforming school safety.
Brent NUT
Hazards news, 15 March 2006

USA: Top lifesaving device in mines? A union
January’s mine tragedy in West Virginia, USA, which left 12 miners dead and one critical, has prompted serious questions about what makes mine safe. A report in Slate online magazine said: “The real obstacle to safety reform is that miners no longer have a powerful union sticking up for them.”
Risks 244
Hazards news, 18 February 2006

Australia: Fifteen things you should know safety
If you thought knowing about risks and laws was the key to making your workplace safe, think again. The first thing you need to know is how as a union you can get the organisation and influence to put things right, according to a 15 point checklist for union reps.
Risks 244
Hazards news, 18 February 2006

Britain: Involve workers, minister tells local authorities
Local authorities should make union and worker involvement a “key element” of their work programme, safety minister Lord Hunt has said. He added: “Our ambitions for lower rates of injury and ill-health cannot succeed without the participation and vigilance of those who work with the risks and their representative organisations, the unions.”
Risks 238
Hazards news, 7 January 2006

Britain: Non-union workplaces clueless on consultation
An investigation by Health and Safety Executive (HSE) boffins into workforce participation in non-union workplaces has found most are clueless when it comes to consultation rules and there is very limited participation from the workforce as a whole.
Risks 237
Hazards news, 17 December 2005

Britain: Accidents plummet in paper firm
A paper company working with print union Amicus has achieved a massive cut in workplace accidents. Amicus says an effective employer and trade union partnership had reduced accident rates by 63 per cent and improved health and safety at St Regis mills.
Risks 233
Hazards news, 19 November 2005

Australia: Reducing union site access is deadly
The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) has warned that federal government plans to restrict union access to construction sites could result in more deaths. Official studies in Australia have also confirmed a marked union safety effect.
Risks 228
Hazards news, 15 October 2005

Britain: Report confirms unions save lives on site
A report for a top Health and Safety Commission (HSC) committee has confirmed the lifesaving impact of unions and safety reps in the construction industry.
Risks 220
Hazards news, 20 August 2005

New Zealand: New union safety reps have saved lives
A 60 per cent reduction in workplace fatalities is a vindication a safety law that resulted in thousands of new union safety reps in New Zealand, a top union boss has said.
Risks 214
Hazards news, 9 July 2005

Britain: HSE research shows safety reps work
A Health and Safety Executive report has confirmed the “positive link” between the presence of union safety representatives and levels of health and safety awareness and performance.
Risks 214
Hazards news, 9 July 2005

USA: Union irons out laundry firm’s resistance
A US union campaign to organise a major laundry company with a poor safety record has scored a notable victory. Textiles union UNITE HERE targeted ABN AMRO, the finance company backing Angelica Corporation, in the run up to the 28 April Workers’ Memorial Day this year.
Risks 212
Hazards news, 25 June 2005

USA: Unions make workplaces healthier says CWA
Unions can have a dramatic impact on every aspect of workplace health and safety, says US union CWA. CWA executive vice president Larry Cohen commented: “Our health and safety work clearly distinguishes what it means to work union, whether pushing for safety and health improvements in a lead acid battery plant, a hospital, on the police force, or as an outside technician or service rep.”
Risks 211
Hazards news, 18 June 2005

TUC report confirms unions are good for you
An August 2004 report from TUC shows that UK unions are you best defence against work-related accidents and ill-health. Report author, TUC head of safety Hugh Robertson, said: “This report confirms in simple and clear terms that safety representatives are one of the most significant factors in improving the safety culture of an organisation. While unions have known this for along time, we need employers to look at the evidence and start accepting the huge impact that consultation can make.”
The union effect, TUC briefing, August 2004 • Risks 168, 7 August 2004

USA: Unions cut costs, grief and injuries says motor giant
A union drive for safer car production at General Motors (GM) has led to a greatly improved safety record and better industrial relations - and massive cash savings for the company. The United Auto Workers union (UAW) says the Detroit-based automaker now has among the lowest number of workdays lost to injury among major automakers in the US.
Risks 119, 16 August 2003

USA: Unions take the strain
Union members with strain injuries are far more likely to receive compensation and less likely to suffer damaging social consequences after a work-related injury than non-union workers, says the American Journal of Industrial Medicine.
Tim Morse and others. The relationship of unions to prevalence and claim filing for work-related upper-extremity musculoskeletal disorders, American Journal of Industrial Medicine, volume 44, Issue 1, pages 83-93, 2003 [abstract] Risks 115, 19 July 2003

BRITAIN: Safety chief praises "immensely beneficial" union role
Britain’s top safety boss has praised the union role that leads to lower accident rates in union workplaces. Health and Safety Commission chair Bill Callaghan said: "The impact of trade unions on workplace health and safety is immensely beneficial. We know that the presence of a recognised union lowers the accident rate by a quarter compared with non-union establishments."
Risks 110, 14 June 2003

AUSTRALIA: Unions organise for safer work
Australia’s trade unions have resolved to put organising at the centre of their health and safety strategy. An Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) seminar this week attracted representatives from over 20 unions and labour councils around the country and "confirmed the fundamental importance of good occupational health and safety to all workers, and its central role in union organising."
Risks 107, 24 May 2003 • OHS Repsand UnionSafebriefings on the seminar recommendations

BRITAIN: Workers can make the difference
The construction industry’s awful safety record will only be improved if construction employers respect and engage with the workforce and embrace trade unions, George Brumwell, general secretary of construction union UCATT, has warned.
Risks 107, 24 May 2003

USA: Union reverses car plant’s unsafe route
A General Motors plant that had one of the group’s worst accident rates achieved a dramatic safety turnaround thanks to union know-how.
Risks 102, 19 April 2003

AUSTRALIA: Safety is a hot organising issue
A top Australian union webzine has called for workplace safety to be an organising focus for trade unions. Workers Online editor Peter Lewis say occupational health and safety is divorced from the day-to-day activities of industrial negotiations and the forward looking organising agenda. "But talk to workers, and it's the issue at the forefront of their minds," he says in an editorial this week. He adds that a recent poll of members of the construction union CFMEU "found 71 per cent believed protecting workers' safety was an important union service - way ahead of wages and conditions."
Risks 60, 29 June 2002

Training - 60% of safety reps not getting enough
The majority of union safety reps are not getting the training they need, according to a new TUC report - and it says the lack of training could be leading to thousands of major injuries every year. A survey of safety reps for the report, Training and action in health and safety, found that after attending the advanced Stage II course, 89 per cent of safety reps had initiated health and safety initiatives on returning to work.
Risks 57, 8 June 2002 • TUC news release

Britain:Union recruits 6,000 new members by standing up for safety
A lengthy industrial dispute has resulted in the civil service union PCS winning safety improvements and 6,000 new members. In a letter to members, the union says: "By raising the PCS profile as an active, campaigning union, we have won 6,000 new members in DWP - bringing in extra income and strengthening us in future negotiations and campaigns on your behalf."
Risks 47, 30 March 2002, and Risks 49, 13 April 2002

Australia: Unions seek the legal right of entry to workplace
Discussions between unions and the Western Australia state government could result in "roving union officials" having a right to enter workplaces to investigate safety.
January 2002 briefing document, Unions Western Australia

Britain: Ready to roll! TUC Worker Safety Adviser pilot
On 28 January 2002, the first ever Worker Safety Advisers began their training at the TUC's National Education Centre. The Worker Safety Adviser pilot is designed to test the effectiveness of providing employers with advice on worker involvement and participation where there are no safety reps or representatives of employee safety. Of course we already know that workplaces with union safety reps and joint union/management safety committees have half the major injuries that workplaces without consultation do - this pilot will test whether similar results can be obtained with external union representatives.
TUC news release, January 2002WSA job description

Australia: Union safety reps hailed as best way to improve work safety
Workplace health and safety representatives are the unsung heroes of workplace safety, say unions in the Australian state of Victoria. Leigh Hubbard, Trades Hall Council secretary, said the current crop of occupational health and safety representatives would be the ones to identify the workplace epidemics of the future.
VTHC news release, 19 June 2001

USA/Global: Measuring up for safety
The Triangle of Prevention developed by American union the OCAW aims to stop industrial injuries and illness before they happen. The three sides of the triangle: Training on Systems of Safety and Incident Investigation, Full-Time Health and Safety Reps and Measuring And Tracking Incidents.
ICEM Global, No.1, 1998

USA: AFL-CIO survey: American public likes unions more and more
Unions are winning the public relations battle against corporate mud-slinging, according to a recent survey conducted for the US labour federation AFL-CIO. And the American public has more confidence in unions on health and safety than on any other issue.
Excerpt from Graphic Communicator, GCIU, March-April 2001

Britain: Safety reps are vital - official
Health and Safety Commission chair Bill Callaghan has said: "The partnership approach is vital to this initiative, while the role of safety reps is the clearest example of how it can work in practice. This is not a point for debate - workplaces with safety reps and effective safety committees have up to 50 per cent fewer injuries than those that don't."
HSE news release, 20 July 2000


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