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Hazards 110, April-June 2010

6-7 Once in a lifetime A decade ago, the Health and Safety Executive could be expected to turn up at the average workplace once every few years. But unpublished official figures obtained by Hazards show workplaces are now lucky to see the pared back watchdog once in a working lifetime - which means serious criminal safety breaches are going unseen and unchallenged. more

8-9 The bottom line Do the money markets care when a mine explodes and 29 workers die? Or a refinery blast kills 15? Not a bit, warns Hazards, which is why the possibility of jail for top company directors could give them something other than the share price to think about. more

10-17 News in brief Deadly Royal Mail ‘got off light’. TV footage helps convict death firm. Brain damage directors fined £1,000. Businessmen behaving badly. TUC challenge on ‘good work’. Job action gets workers back better. Worker get radiation flashbacks. Hurting workers on the cheap. ‘Interventions’ at deadly waste firms. Arson victim was a safety criminal. Green construction is no safer. Serial offender trumpets safety ‘milestone’. Shorter hours the key to a better future. Irritable bowel caused by bad shifts. Unpaid overtime at ‘extreme’ levels.

Centrepages Fit for purpose? For many employers there are two categories of employee – ‘workers’ and, for those who happen to be sick, ‘shirkers’. But under a new fit note system your doctor has different options, and can say you are either unfit or kinda-sorta-fit for work. Hazards examines the possibilities and pitfalls. more

20-21 Samsung’s shame After the leukaemia death this year of 23-year-old Samsung worker Park Ji-yeon, the company went on Twitter to offer sympathy. But the electronics giant, which is being blamed by campaigners for a cancer cluster in its Korean factories, is insisting Samsung’s problem is not one of chemicals, but of communication. A Hazards photofile. more

22-23 Better talk? Worker involvement is currently the biggest thing in health and safety, says the TUC. But Hugh Robertson, the union body’s head of safety, warns the positive chatter from enforcers and employers is not always translating into meaningful consultation at the workplace. morecartoon

24-33 Unions and campaigns Site firms scoop blacklisting awards. Blacklisting regulations are ‘too weak’. Blacklister case exposes law flaws. Work is a top whistleblower concern. Vulnerable workers in danger. How wrong is a piece of string? Worker injured saving pupils. Faulty brakes and faulty bosses. What price on your life? Public sector sick myth destroyed. Sick more likely to be in work. Unions win safer needles rules. Hands up for toilet breaks at work. BP accused over rig safety. Chemicals linked to breast cancer. Case means more asbestos payouts. Lead poisoning leads to fine. Belated action on asbestos illness. Help for interns at work. HSE campaign on slips and trips. Docs act on unhealthy NHS supplies. Serial killer Biffa doesn’t seem to care.

34-35 International news Canadian union prosecutes death firm. Killing workers is not fine. Deadly mine had poor safety record. Driven to suicide by work.

Backpage We didn’t vote to die at work. A campaigning poster from Hazards. more








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Hazards 110 Back page

Graphic: Andy Vine


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