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1 CWU Conference 2009 Health and Safety meeting Hugh Robertson Senior Health and Safety Officer TUC

2 Organisation 150,000 safety reps Cover almost half of workers Need more young, women and black safety reps Know union involvement works (the union effect) More members and more safety representatives means safer workplaces.

3 Trade union involvement: Helps reduces injuries at work Leads to reductions in the levels of ill-health caused by work Encourages greater reporting of injuries and near-misses Makes workers more confident Helps develop a more positive safety culture in the organisation

4 Evidence Employers who had trade union health and safety committees had half the injury rate of those employers who managed safety without unions or joint arrangements Where there is a union presence the workplace injury rate is 24% lower than where there is no union presence

5 Why does the union effect work? Safety reps are trained They know the workplace Often see risks first They consult workers

6 Safety Reps trained TUC trains over 10,000 safety reps a year. A survey into the chemical regulations (COSHH) found that safety representatives were far more knowledgeable than their managers. 90% of safety representatives were aware of the main principles of the main chemical safety regulations. Over a third of managers had not even heard of the regulations. The survey also found that over 80% of safety representatives had received training in health and safety in the last two years, compared to 44% of managers.

7 We know the workplace HSE research said “Health and safety committee representatives provide a diverse channel for reporting events and hazards.” It added “union backing, even if it is just knowledge that additional support is available if required, is invaluable.”

8 Unions often realise the risks long before management Unions highlighted Asbestos Stress RSI Violence Nanotechnology

9 We consult Consultation with the workforce can have a considerable effect in changing the safety culture in a workplace

10 Union involvement makes a difference There have been a wide range of case studies that have shown the benefits of union involvement in health and safety.

11 Safety helps union recruitment 70% of new trade union members considered health and safety a “very important” union issue – more even than for pay. 98% of the public believe “people at work should have the right to be represented by a trade union if they want to on health and safety”

12 Problems Time off Training Lack of engagement by employers Access to resources/info Need more reps

13 Give us the tools The TUC wants to see a new approach to worker and union involvement. The new HSE strategy recognises the importance of both unions and consultation. The TUC has developed a charter outlining the main things that would transform health and safety in the workplace.

14 TUC Charter 1 All employers should be asked how they consult with their workforce A campaign to show employers the value of consultation and remind them of their legal obligations More support for safety representatives from the HSE A recognition that the union model is the most effective one in protecting the health and safety of workers Free access to all ACoPs and guidance for safety representatives Increased training for both HSE and local authority inspectors on the role and function of safety representatives. Greater enforcement of the consultation regulations Sanctions available against employers who deny safety representatives paid release for training Penalties against employers who victimise a safety representative A new legal duty on employers to respond to issues raised by safety representatives

15 TUC Charter 2 A duty on enforcing authorities to react to a complaint from a safety representative that their employer has not responded adequately A specific requirement on employers to consult safety representatives on risk assessments and controls arising out of them An extension of Regulation 8 to cover other industries with large numbers of short-term, temporary “self-employed” or freelance workers An extension of the ability of safety representatives to act outside their immediate workplace or employer in certain circumstances The right for safety representatives to stop unsafe and dangerous work taking place A legal requirement on all employers with more than 20 employees to have safety representatives and all employers with more than 50 employees to have a safety committee. Continuation of the Workplace Advisors scheme in construction A national worker advisor scheme for SMEs using union appointed and supported safety representatives

16 What we can do TUC Organisation campaign Organising approach to health and safety by unions – more members means safer workplaces Campaign for new rights Must also use the rights we have

17 Summary Unions make a difference More rights Better use of the rights we already have Use health and safety as an organising tool.

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