National Hazards Conference 2019 – Friday 26th to Sunday 28th July 2019, at Keele University, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire: Cleaning Up Toxic Work

National Hazards Conference 2019 – Friday 26thto Sunday 28th July 2019, at Keele University, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire:  Cleaning Up Toxic Work:


Dear Colleagues,

The 30th National Hazards Conference takes place at Keele University, from Friday 26th to Sunday 28thJuly 2019 and the CWU is once again pleased to be supporting and sponsoring this unique and popular event for Trade Union Safety Representatives.

Hazards Conference is the UK’s biggest and best educational and organising event for trade union safety reps and activists. It consists of a mixture of plenary sessions, meetings and a comprehensive workshop programme. It gives delegates the opportunity to exchange experience and information with, and learn from, safety reps and activists from other unions, sectors and jobs across the UK.

2019 is the TUC Year of Young Workers. Additionally, the theme for 2019 International Workers Memorial day was Dangerous Substances. Both these themes will be prominent at this year’s conference.

Toxic work exposes workers, and their unborn children to dangerous substances: including dust, asbestos, silica, pesticides, cleaning products and other chemicals, fumes, diesel and gases. All of which can have life-threatening and life- long consequences.

Toxic work is also about unhealthy working conditions, lack of dignity and increased vulnerability being experienced at work. Too many workers are subjected to intolerable pressures. They are micro managed, tracked, tagged and some even now microchipped! Workers’ every movement and bodily function is being monitored and controlled in too many work places. Some workers even have to tolerate toilet breaks being timed, restricted and even denied.

Unacceptable disciplinary actions and punishments are meted out for normal bodily functions and woe betide those workers who need reasonable adjustments because of disabilities, illness, periods, pregnancy or menopause.

Workers face discrimination, bullying, sexual harassment and violence and their mental health is suffering in both the short and the long term. Insecure and zero hour contracts are rife, and some workers are employed on a week by week basis with no employment security, no regular income and they live in fear of losing their jobs as well as suffering from ill health and injuries at work, which they dare not complain about.

This conference will address all these important health and safety issues and provide delegates with the knowledge, confidence, and organising skills to challenge and change them.

The booking form is up on the Hazards Campaign website now:

Also on the Hazards Campaign website sign up for updates on the right hand side of the page.

Hazards 2019 Workshops, Seminars & Meetings:

The opening plenary session with keynote speakers is on Friday evening and the closing plenary is on Sunday morning. There is a short Saturday plenary. Saturday is a day for workshops, seminars and meetings ending with campaign sessions.

The final plenary on Sunday will pull it all together and send safety reps off with more tools in the kit. The workshops, seminars and meetings are themed to provide a concentrated examination of all the key issues. Read the form carefully before you fill it in. Contact the organisers if you need help or further information.

There are three Themes to choose. Choose 2 workshops and one reserve. Also choose one Meeting. There will also be a Campaign Session on the Saturday afternoon which delegates can sign up for at registration. Two weeks before Hazards conference begins, Delegates will be posted the programme and more details to supplement the brief outline on the attached registration form.

Below are the outline details of the Conference keynote meetings and workshop sessions:-

Hazards Conference Keynote Meetings: 

Choose ONE Meeting and enter No. 1, 2 or 3 in the box on the Registration form

Meeting 1: Toxic Workplaces—Challenging the normalisation of precarious working conditions 

Many workers are facing zero hours contracts, a bullying and hostile work place, unrelenting pressures, sexual and violent attacks and a general disregard and disrespect of workers. Looking at the full impact on workers’ health and how we can support the safety and health of workers in these vulnerable mostly non-unionised workplaces and challenge employers’ efforts to make precarious low paid work the new normal.

Meeting 2: Toxic Workplaces—Preventing deadly exposures @work @home @school

Every year in the UK hundreds of thousands of workers are made ill, and tens of thousands are killed by hazardous substances. Every one of these illnesses and deaths is preventable. This meeting will discuss which workers are at risk of exposure, discuss the current legislation and examine where there need to be improvements and changes, examine the impact on UK of recent legal changes at European level and UN Human Rights recommendations on toxic substances and waste proposals and consider improving effectiveness of workplace organisation, Toxics Use Reduction, Zero carcinogens, Air Pollution campaigns, and how to reduce toxic exposures.

Meeting 3: Toxic Workplaces— Fixing a broken Health and Safety System? 

Deregulation and austerity have broken our health and safety system. HSE and LA inspector numbers and resources have been cut and their enforcement role limited. How is this affecting our health and safety in work-places? Do we need to look at different models of Occupational Health and Safety enforcement? And how can we use the Hazards Campaign Manifesto to create a health and safety system fit for workers to create decent jobs and decent lives for all, and ensure that our health and safety is not put at risk wherever we work?

Hazards Conference Workshops (Select two plus one reserve from your chosen theme)

Theme 1 Workplace Organisation

01 Reps’ functions and employers’ duties

Detailed examination of employers’ duties, and safety reps’ functions. Looking at how we ensure safety reps are able to carry out their functions and be more effective.

02 Safety Committees: what do we need?

Looking at how we ensure safety committees work effectively and proactively. Ways to ensure that health and safety issues are not marginalized and are dealt with as part of the bargaining agenda.

03 Resources and creative action for safety reps

Examining the resources available for safety reps and how they can be used to support their role. Creative action, effective newsletters, posters and leaflets using social media and what makes the most successful campaigns.

04 Supporting health and safety reps

Some Trade Union reps face victimisation when trying to support their members and also suffer from their own work-related stress. Looking at how we support safety reps and the preventative measures that can be put in place to protect reps from being harmed.

05 Workplace inspections

The workshop focuses on preparing for regular workplace inspections; explains the resources and tools you need, plus checklist development; recording and reporting the results of the inspection and follow-up action.

06 Investigating incidents and injuries

Good investigation ensures problems are identified and further harm is prevented. This workshop will look at key steps for incident investigation, and give you the tools you need to undertake inspections effectively.

Theme 2 Dealing With Risks 

07 Identifying Hazards/Risk, Hierarchy of control 

Risk assessment is the statutory foundation for employer working practices. Employers’ duties, how to carry out risk assessment, the hierarchy of control and failures. Examining ways to ensure safety reps play an effective role.

08 Violence faced by workers 

Workers are facing increasingly violent situations in their working environment, e.g. care, emergency services, teachers, hospitality, retail and lone workers etc. This workshop examines solutions, and good practice in keeping us all safe at work.

09 Manual Handling and Musculo-Skeletal Disorders, MSDs 

Manual Handling includes lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling, carrying, moving, holding or restraining an object, animal or person. This can cause MSDs, the most common cause of occupational ill health and over 1/3 of reported injuries, leading to long-term pain and disability, so we look at prevention.

10 Air pollution—external and internal 

Exposure to a cocktail of chemicals at work, home, and in the environment is making us ill. We need a strategic approach to eliminating and reducing our exposure using REACH, COSHH and air pollution campaigns.

11 Sex and gender sensitive health and safety 

Men and women face different risks at work due to their biological sex, gender segregation of jobs and lack of research on women’s occupational health. Examination of what this means and how sex and gender sensitive risk assessment and organisation can prevent harm and inequality.

12 Driving is a hazardous profession 

Long hours, heavy and precarious loads, lack of welfare, bullying and poorly maintained vehicles. Delivering to inaccessible buildings, tracking and surveillance. How we challenge the hazards and reduce the risks.

Theme 3 Challenging Employers’ agenda 

13 Toxic Use Reduction 

No hazard No risk: challenging employers to eliminate the most hazardous carcinogens, mutagens and reproductive toxins first, substitute safer chemicals in the production process, redesigning products/processes to use less toxic chemicals. Explanation of Toxic Use Reduction methods and outcomes.

14 Influencing the Agenda on Occupational Illness 

Many OHS schemes are being introduced by employers, diverting attention from collective preventative action. Looking at how trade unions can re-focus action on prevention and ensure unions and safety reps are involved not excluded.

15 Getting enforcement to work for us 

Government restriction on enforcement limits what inspectors can do. There are fewer HSE and Local Authority inspectors, fewer proactive inspections. But what are they still doing and how safety reps can get help from inspectors when we need it.

16 Intensification of work and workplace bullying 

Work is being intensified, creating a hostile, bullying working environment and causing long term physical and mental harm. Identifying and challenging the hazards causing us real harm at work.

17 Work Related Stress—mapping and the management standards 

Looking at effective work-stress prevention policies. Using mapping to challenge employers to introduce effective risk assessments using the Stress Management Standards, and effective prevention methods.

18 New technology and new ways of working 

Identifying the hazards and risks from digital technologies, including musculo-skeletal disorders, stress, surveillance and control. How does the law help, how to assess the risks and organise to prevent harm.

How to apply for Hazards 2019 

See attached Registration Form. The closing date for applications is Friday 5th July 2019.

Choose 2 workshops plus a reserve within one of the Themes, and one Meeting. Put your choices in the appropriate boxes on the form. Arrange your delegate fee, complete the registration form, and send it to Hazards together with your cheque payable to Hazards 2019. If you want to pay by BACS contact Hazards for their account details to make the payment.


Hazards will acknowledge your application within a few days of receiving it. If applicants don’t hear from the organisers within two weeks of sending in their form, contact the organisers (contact details below).

Conference timings and registration 

Friday 26th July, 1.00 -7.30pm – Delegate registration

Friday 26th July, 7.30 – 9.00pm – Hazards opening plenary

Saturday 27th July, 7.30 – 9.00 am – Delegate registration

Sunday 28th July,12.30pm – Conference Close (followed by packed lunch)

For more information, clarification or queries, contact:-

Hazards 2019
C/o Greater Manchester Hazards Centre
Windrush Millennium Centre
70 Alexandra Road
Manchester M16 7WD
Telephone: 0161 636 7558
Fax: 0161 636 7558

So there’s a lot to find out, discuss and debate, and a lot to do to defend health and safety and safe workplaces and our union organisation. Attend the Hazards Conference to hear and learn more about the problems we face and what needs to be done.

Full details are contained in the attached pdf Conference Registration Form. Hard copies will be distributed to Branches and Regional Health and Safety Forums.

For more conference event information about the programme visit the 2019 Hazards Conference pages on the Hazards Campaign website at:

For clarification or queries, contact Hazards at: telephone 0161 636 7558 or e-mail:

Yours sincerely


Dave Joyce
National Health, Safety & Environment Officer

19LTB298 National Hazards Conference 2019 – Friday 26th to Sunday 28th July 2019


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: