We all know that the one major issue that coalesced workers into forming Trade Unions was workplace health and safety and the need to stem the deaths and serious injuries at work that plagued the beginnings of the industrial revolution.
Now, in 2018, health & Safety at work remains the one major issue above all that Trade Unions need to defend as Brexit and a Tory Government threatens the abolition of workers rights. Now it is time for all Trade Unions, not just the CWU to strengthen their Health & Safety structures and resources.
Here, Derek Maylor lists just some of the legislation that Trade Unions fought to bring to this country's statute books:.
Numerous pieces of legislation have been introduced over more than 200 years, covering a wide array of different industries, but their shared aim has been to ensure that workers can go home to their families safe and healthy at the end of each day. From the first workers 1802 Factory Act, this year 2018, commemorates significant legislative changes in:
- 140 years since the Factory and Workshop Act 1878. No child anywhere under the age of 10 was to be employed and compulsory education for children up to 10 years old was established.
- 140 years since the Threshing Machines Act 1878. First legislative steps directed towards safety in agriculture.
- 100 years since the establishment of the British Industrial Safety First Association (BISFA) to tackle workplace safety on a national scale. Statistics for 1913 showed that 3,748 death and 476,920 disablement claims had been paid, an increase of 25 per cent on the preceding year. Absorbing demobilised men back into the workforce was proving difficult.
- 90 years since the realisation that workplace safety starts in school education when more than 250,000 schoolchildren wrote essays in safety first competitions. More than 10,000 children attended a series of film lectures about avoiding accidents.
- 30 years since the introduction of Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations.
- 30 years since the awful Piper Alpha oil installation fire and explosion (167 fatalities).
- 30 years since the Clapham train crash (35 fatalities).
- 20 years since the first RoSPA Guidance Managing Occupational Road Risk (MORR) guidance published.
- 20 years since the Health and Safety (Enforcing Authority) Regulations.
- 20 years since the Control of Lead at Work Regulations.
- 20 years since the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (Amendment) Regulations.
- 20 years since the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations.
- 20 years since the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations.
- 20 years since the Control of Asbestos at Work (Amendment) Regulations.
- 10 years since the HSC/HSE merges to form one organisation
- 10 years since the Health and Safety (Offences) Act.
- 10 years since the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations.
- 10 years since the Health and Safety (Offences) Act 2008.
[this list is not exhaustive!]
NOSHC. (2018). A RoSPA National Occupational Safety and Health Committee (NOSHC) project). History of Occupational Safety and Health: www.historyofosh.org.uk