On 28 April UNISON will launch its Safety in Numbers campaign to increase the number of health and safety reps we have in the workplace. The launch coincides with International Workers’ Memorial Day, the day when UNISON joins trade unionists and campaigners around the world in ‘remembering the dead and fighting for the living’.
The UK government is attacking and undermining good health and safety practice.
Budgets for health and safety enforcement have been slashed, employers need report fewer injuries to their workers, unannounced inspections of so called ‘low-risk’ workplaces have been stopped and there are ongoing attempts to make it more difficult to win compensation once injured.
Up to 50,000 workers die each year from their work – most from work-related illnesses. Many more are injured or made ill in cases such as these:
- the UNISON member and care worker who was attacked by a teenager with a history of violence and sexually inappropriate behaviour. He should have been placed in a secure unit, but instead was able to attack her on five separate occasions, causing injuries that have left her unable to work;
- the healthcare worker who lost 80% of the sight in one eye after being spat at. The service user, an adult with challenging behaviour, had a reputation for spitting but the NHS trust had failed to put in place adequate measures;
- the school caretaker who was injured in a fall of three metres onto a concrete floor and was left with an injured hand, neck, ankles, and knees. Unable to return to work full time after the incident, he eventually had to retire;
- numerous members who are exposed to violence, bullying behaviour, stress, asbestos – and much more.
All this makes the role of UNISON health and safety reps even more vital, and is why the union is urging members and activists to get involved in its Safety in Numbers campaign.
Further information on UNISON’s Safety in Number campaign can be found here