The GMB union yesterday issued a challenge to local authorities – improve your health and safety performance and meet the targets set out in the Governments Revitalising Health and Safety strategy. Revitalising Health and Safety sets out how the Government intends to tackle accidents and ill health at work. For the first time ever as part of the initiative the Government has set national targets for reducing death and injury at work.
In the GMB’s comments to the new Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Local Authority Forum the union has challenged authorities to:
- Jointly sign up, with safety representatives and the HSE, to a safety audit system that commits authorities to manage and resource health and safety properly.
- Ensure that every supervisor and manager is trained on health and safety issues and that they are able to manage and prioritise risks.
- Look at their occupational health provision and prioritise rehabilitating sick workers rather than looking to dismiss them under their capability procedure.
- Look at their systems for managing contractors. This means awarding contracts on the basis on quality and proven commitment to health and safety and training rather than lowest price.
Mick Graham, GMB Public Service National Secretary said “Independent research shows that where trade union Safety Representatives are consulted and involved in decision making on health and safety issues then the accident rate is 50% lower than where managers alone make the decisions”.
He added, “HSE want local authorities to be exemplars of best practise. Yet last year alone 5 local authority workers died at work and 21,393 suffered serious injuries. We want all stakeholders to sign up to best practise standards and the GMB pledges today to work in partnership with any authority that is serious about improving health and safety and will involve its workforce in seeking better standards”.