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LTB:Safety Rep Rights - HSC Rejects New Rights For Reps.

20 Jun 2007, 13:51

Dear Colleagues,

Safety Representatives Rights - HSC Rejects New Rights For Safety Reps:
The Health and Safety Commission (HSC) has decided at its meeting this month that there will be no new rights for union safety reps. The decision had been deferred at HSC's March meeting after a bid by the TUC and all major Unions including the CWU to get two new rights for Safety Reps inserted into the Safety Representatives and Safety Committees Regulations on 'a formal involvement of Safety Reps in risk assessments' and 'a statutory duty on employers and managers to respond in good time to safety representatives representations'. These proposals were strongly supported in a formal consultation on the issue but against the weight of opinion were rejected by the HSC who supported the opposition to change put up by the employers federations.

The TUC and major Unions expressed anger and bewilderment at this decision and the TUC called for separate discussions with employers' organisations in a bid to resolve the issue. However, in subsequent talks with the TUC, both CBI and manufacturers' lobby group EEF would not support any new rights at all. Subsequently at this month's meeting of the HSC, the Commission agreed that there would be no change to the Safety Reps' regulations or the related Approved Code of Practice - the two approaches that would have given legal back-up to any new rights. Work on revising guidance, which has no enforceable 'evidential' legal status, will however, continue. The decision was opposed by the Trade Union commissioners on HSC.

The TUC issued a statement following the decision, endorsed by the CWU that we fail to understand how this decision could be made in the face of overwhelming support for change expressed by respondents to the recent consultation exercise, but whatever the decision, this issue will not go away. The TUC and Unions will continue to raise it again and again, not only with the HSC but also with Ministers and Politicians. We know that improved rights for Safety Reps not only make sense, but are desperately needed. The consequence of this decision is more injuries and illnesses.

On 18 June the National HS&E Officer Dave Joyce met Health and Safety Minister Lord McKenzie of Luton where the above issues were raised and which was followed up in a letter to the Minister.

The TUC has now asked all affiliated Unions for examples of where safety representatives have not been consulted on a risk assessment or any examples of where an employer had not responded to a safety representative in good time and it has had health and safety consequences in respect of accidents, injuries and fatalities as a result.

Please find attached a copy of the HSC report "Worker Involvement - Outcome of discussions with Social Partners" - HSC/07/47, paper to HSC meeting, 5 June 2007.

If you wish to submit a "Case Study" on a failure by your management to consult on risk assessments or failure to respond to a Safety Rep which led to injury, ill-health, near miss or fatality in a workplace - Send the report to the CWU Health, Safety & Environment Department for sending on to the TUC.

20 Jun 2007, 20:01

I am not surprised at the HSE failure to give any added new rights to Safety Representatives.

The reason I think is down to this government who have repeatably cut the HSE Budgets and the numbers of Inspections and Enforcements over the Years.

I have personally as an Area Safety Representative witnessed and seen the lack of willingnesses of Environmental Officers to use enforcement notices over the years.

The reason is down to cost it takes 3 Weeks to issue an Enforcement Notice as it is a Legal Document.(Cost Money).

The HSE tactic is to advice company's who are not complying with the Law rather than take legal Action.

So much for the Workers rights New Labour Old Tory

CWU Safety Representatives do a terrific Job within Royal Mail they take the flak from both Management and some of our members.
The fact remains that it is recognized by the TUC where their is a Safety Representative in a Company their is a 50% reduction in accidents

:Applause :Applause :Applause

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