Safety reps key to HSC-TUC drive

Campaign to cut workplace accidents sees shopfloor reps as
central figures in partnership approach to health and safety


The profile of the shopfloor safety rep is set to be raised
as a health and safety campaign launched by the TUC and the Health and Safety
Commission emphasises their importance in 
preventing workplace injuries.


And HSC chairman Bill Callaghan has hinted that he intends
recommending to the Government that employee involvement in workplace safety
should be made compulsory.


 The workplace
accident rate has been cut by more than 50 per cent over the past 22 years,
preventing over a quarter of a million injuries and saving countless lives,
according to TUC general secretary John Monks.


The TUC and the HSC are urging unions and employers to work
together to improve safety standards in the workplace. They say 20,000 major
workplace injuries a year could be prevented and 300,000 days of sickness
absence avoided if unions and employers in every organisation operated the same
sort of partnership approach to health and safety that exists in the best


Speaking at the TUC’s Partners in Prevention conference in
London, Callaghan stressed the vital role of the shopfloor safety rep in
meeting these standards.


"Workplaces with safety reps and effective safety
committees have 50 per cent fewer accidents than those that don’t possess them.


"I would like to see employee involvement in all
workplaces and the HSC will shortly be making recommendations to ministers on
this issue."


Callaghan reassured employers that the issue will not be
addressed in a confrontational manner.


"This is a time for consensus, not confrontation,"
he said. "All partners in the health and safety equation must remain open
to new ideas and approaches. The status quo is not an option."

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