The Workers Union is stepping up its campaign to secure ‘vast improvements’ in health and safety provisions for factory staff.
A recent spate of news stories has refocused attention on this issue, with several workers sustaining serious injuries in industrial accidents.
Of equal concern is the information supplied by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), that reveals a quarter of workers in this country do not know how to raise a complaint relating to safety at work.
Chief spokesperson for The Workers Union, said: ‘Health and safety legislation started some 46 years ago with the Health and Safety at Work Act, 1974. We’ve had nearly half a century to put adequate safeguards in place, and yet still we see reports of people sustaining terrible injuries in the workplace. We completely understand that many employers do their best to mitigate potential dangers, but there are also a band of firms who’re happy to drive their staff to “get the job done” without worrying about cutting corners. Our own research has highlighted that this is a particular problem for those working in low-paying industries such as parcel delivery, food delivery and healthcare, where standards of welfare are often lower and greedy bosses threaten to withhold pay if a job is not completed on time. This leaves staff who are already operating in under resourced circumstances no choice but to engage in potentially unsafe practices.
‘Brexit has been marketed to the British people as an opportunity to “take back control” and enjoy higher standards of protection at work, so let’s see Boris and co. deliver promises rather than empty bluster. Firms who flout the rules should be dealt with appropriately and their staff given regular health and safety training – including refreshers on how to flag safety issues. It’s not enough to say ‘it’s in the policy documents’ – there needs to be a widespread commitment to putting staff safety at the top of the agenda.
‘We also need to understand how the Prime Minister’s recent announcement about suspending health and safety laws due to the Coronavirus outbreak fits into this picture. Thinking this through and engaging in sensible dialogue with unions, employers and public services is the only way to produce a coherent, managed response that supports our economy and protects the health of the population.’
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