O’Grady says publication is essential tool for reps and employers
The guide, now in its 30th year, warns of a ‘hostile’ political climate to health and safety that has resulted in the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) being prevented from making proactive visits to many workplaces to check that employers are working in ways that don’t put their staff at risk.
The government has cut the HSE budget by 35 per cent, and local authority safety inspection teams are also working with substantially reduced funding, at a time when the UK’s safety record appears to be getting worse.
In 2010/11, the latest figures available, there was a 16 per cent increase in deaths across all workplaces, with some industries such as construction (22 per cent) seeing an even bigger rise.
The TUC says that the current upward trend in workplace fatalities will be not be reversed unless there is an increase in the enforcement of health and safety law in all workplaces.
That is why union safety reps and anyone with a practical interest in health and safety should have a copy of the 2013 edition of Hazards at Work, says the TUC.
The 448-page guide has 24 chapters on the common hazards and causes of ill health at work and advice on how to assess and prevent them. These include practical measures on how to deal with bullying, stress, violence, working time, occupational cancer, and biological hazards.
Hazards at Work contains HSE and other guidance, extensive checklists, case studies and web resources.
This year’s edition also contains a new chapter on people in ‘vulnerable’ categories, such as young employees, shift workers, agency workers and disabled workers.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “This guide is an essential tool for union safety reps and employers and has never been more badly needed.
“The government seems determined to water down health and safety laws despite recent increases in workplace fatalities. It seems incredible that ministers seem unconcerned by the cut in the number of workplace inspections at a time when more people are dying and getting injured at work.
“Protection is more important now than ever and this book is one of the best tools for understanding, assessing and dealing with health and safety issues.”
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