The Health & Safety world of Trade Union Safety Reps and of the wider Health & Safety community will be rejoicing today, as ‘one of our own’ is given the recognition she deserves for a life-long commitment to health and safety at work, which is surpassed by non!
Hilda Palmer of Greater Manchester Hazards Campaign (GM Hazards) and Families Against Corporate Killers (FACK) has been voted as 2020’s ‘Most Influential Person In Health & Safety’ for her work as a Health and Safety campaigner, supporting families who find themselves on the wrong side of health and safety failures and crimes.
The prestigious health and safety professional body, Safety & Health Practitioner (SHP) in announcing their list of the most influential people in health and safety, voted for by Union Safety Reps and H&S professionals, recognised Hilda for her personal dedication and tenacious ability in fighting for justice and supporting Trade Unions and their Safety Reps.
For many, she is not only the most influential H&S Advocate of 2020, but is one of their key reasons for their involvement in defending the heath & safety of those in their workplace, and in developing their own careers in health and safety.
This year, the SHP Awards received an overwhelming amount of votes in this category, and Hilda Palmer came out on top!
The list of candidates for the award, included some very high profile individuals, which makes Hilda’s winning the award even more outstanding:
*Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Advisor to the Government
*Lawrence Waterman OBE, British Safety Council, Maria Winters, Head of Safety, TfL
*Louise Ward, Health, Safety and Environment Director, Siemens
*Kevin Robinson, CEO, Safer Highways
*Dr Karen McDonnell CFIOSH, OHS Policy Adviser, RoSPA
*Louise Hosking, Director, Hosking Associates Ltd. IOSH President-Elect
*Dame Judith Hackitt, Chair, Make UK, The Manufacturing Organisation and leader of the ISSG
*Dr Shaun Davis, Global Director of Compliance and Sustainability (Compliance, Security, Safety, Health, Environment), Royal Mail
*Sarah Albon, Chief Executive, HSE
This is how SHP announced Hilda Palmer as the most influential person in Health and Safety 2020:
Hilda is a campaigner and facilitator of Families Against Corporate Killers, supplier of International Workers’ Memorial Day (IWMD) resources. During the coronavirus pandemic, the Hazards Campaign put on a series of virtual calls, featuring trade union health and safety officers, reps and activists, to discuss how lockdown can be brought to an end using a Zero-COVID strategy and providing guidance on how to keep people safe at work.
Due the nature of Hilda’s work and what she stands and campaigns for, what came through from many of the voters was that Hilda is a person many wish they had not had to meet, but now that they have, she has empowered them to try prevent their misfortune happening to another family.
For over 30 years Hilda Palmer has been campaigning for safer workplaces, via the Hazards Campaign, and has been educating people nationwide to push for improvements. She has promoted changes in law, getting behind individuals who want to launch campaigns and has highlighted and promoted awareness around emerging issues.
Hilda supports families who find themselves on the wrong side of health and safety failures to access justice and get answers as to why their loved ones were killed at work. She is a tireless campaigner for workers’ health and safety, highlighting the failures of employers, ineffective enforcement, continuing excessive deregulation, toxic workplaces, workplace stress and many other health and safety issues that are causing injury, ill-health, disease and deaths at work.
She has played a key role working with trade unions to challenge government and regulators, fighting for people’s rights.
Words like, ‘committed’, ‘class act’, ‘superlative’, ‘dedication’, ‘selfless’, ‘inspirational’, ‘hard work’, were used by voters to describe Hilda.
On hearing of her recognition, Hilda told SHP:
“Thanks so much for all those who voted for me. Over 33 years I have met, spoken to and worked with thousands of people and many of them have inspired and influenced me.
I am not fond of individual awards as we all stand on the shoulders of giants and achieve things by working together. I am pleased to accept this award for all the inspirational, brave FACK Families fighting for justice to prevent others from losing loved ones to negligence of health and safety at work. The Founder FACKers, including Louise Taggart, a winner of this award in 2018.
The heroes of workplaces – unions safety reps, who make workplaces twice as safe and who are working overtime now to try to make workplaces COVID-secure. All my wonderful colleagues at Greater Manchester Hazards Centre, especially the management committee and Janet Newsham, who took over from me three years ago and is truly incredible.
Our colleagues fighting for justice for asbestos victims in Greater Manchester Asbestos Victims Support Group and all colleagues in Hazards Campaign, far too many to mention, Andy Watterson and Scottish Hazards and especially Hazards Magazine Editor Rory O’Neill who is a real inspiration to us all, especially now during pandemic.
Every year on 28 April, International Workers Memorial Day, which Hazards Campaigner Tommy Harte brought to the UK in early 1990s and which I have done a lot to promote, we remind the public of why people die at work, not due to freak accidents or rare diseases, but because some employers do not care sufficiently to comply with the law and Government’s let them get away with it.”
Hilda concluded by saying:
“No-one should ever die just for going to work to earn a living, and we will always Remember the Dead and Fight for the Living.”
SHP Most Influential is brought to you as part of the wider SHP Awards, in collaboration with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Independent Asbestos Training Providers (IATP), and recognises those who are successfully creating sound health and safety cultures in their organisations, or the profession at large.
Previous winners include Karl Simons, in 2019, Louise Taggart, in 2018 and John Green, in 2017.
Source: HSP / Unionsafety