Everyone has the right to work in a healthy, safe environment. Unite offers the latest training, information and advice to representatives, members and employers to ensure that best practice is followed, creating healthier, safer working environments for everyone. For more information on these areas, see the links below.







Time to Clear The Air


Health and Safety Engineers,

Healthscope (UK) Ltd - Occupational Health & Safety

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Firm "fined" £2 over death of worker

This month's SHP reports on the conviction of a company for breaches of safety law which led to an explosion, the death of one worker and seriously injured three others. The Company Aintree based North West Aerosols was fined £2 in Liverpool Crown Court on June 8 2008 (not 1808).

The reason for the "low" fine was that after the accident the company directors put the business into voluntary administration. Despite the fact that the Prosecution reported that the explosion was "both "foreseeable and preventable" and that the Judge said it was "an accident waiting to happen" no action was taken against the former directors responsible for the company. The HSE did investigate and found that there was not enough evidence under existing laws to take action against anyone.

Families Against Corporate Killers (FACK) held a vigil outside the court. FACK campaign for company directors to be given positive legal duties over health & safety and to be held accountable for this.

A director of a company may be sent to prison for fiddling the accounts but not for inadequate health and safety polices which result in people being killed. This is not justice.

Check out the BBC report and video of the explosion (and the fire-ball)

I almost forgot - the firm also had to "pay" another £1 in costs!


Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy 60th Birthday NHS

Many, many happy returns also to our NHS on its 60th Birthday.

The National Health Service (NHS)with "free health care for all" officially began on Saturday 5 July 1948.

The UNISON banner is from St Georges Hospital branch, Wandsworth with the picture of South Wales miners son, Aneurin "Nye" Bevan.

Nye was the Labour Party Minister of health with responsibility for the formation of the NHS.



The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has dismissed a claim by the European Commission that the UK's Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 is in contravention of Council Directive 89/391/EEC on the introduction of measures to encourage improvements in the safety and health of workers at work.

The Commission claimed that the 1974 Act allows employers to avoid responsibility for workplace accidents because it states that health and safety measures need not be applied where such measures "would have been grossly disproportionate in terms of money, time or trouble when balanced against the relevant risk." This, according to the Commission, undermines the general principle that the employer is responsible for health and safety on their premises.

In coming to its conclusion, the ECJ has taken into account the fact that the 1974 Act must be viewed in the context of case law. In its application, the Commission had largely ignored the fact that the UK operates a common law system in which case law is critical to the legal interpretation of any primary or secondary legislation


Health and safety structure
Locally Unite, Amicus section has around 10,000 safety reps that are supported by branches, regions and national staff and resources. Safety reps deal with issues locally supported by their senior workplace reps. If you have a health and safety question and cannot find the answer in the links below you should contact your safety rep, your regional office or call Membership Department on 020 8462 7755 to find out your regional office contact details.

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