Health, Safety & Welfare Proposals – Labour Party Workers Rights Manifesto – General Election 2019
With the General Election upon us it is only the Labour Party that has given any consideration to the vitally important issue of Health, Safety and Wellbeing at Work. This has been set out in great detail in the “Labour’s Workers Rights Manifesto” section of the Election Manifesto. Within this, a Labour Government commits to bring about the biggest extension of rights for workers that the UK has ever seen, ensuring that making working people’s lives better will be at the heart of what a Labour Government will do in power and will not allow UK law to fall below EU law, something that is a real risk under the Tories.
Making Workplaces Healthier and Safer
In summary, in relation to health and safety, a Labour Government will:-
- Bring UK law into line with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Health and Safety Convention standards and the European Social Charter.
- Strengthen enforcement with a new Workers’ Protection Agency.
- Set up a Royal Commission to review the law on health and safety at work to revise the UK’s dated legislation, making it fit for now and the future.
- The Royal Commission will make provision for work stress, mental health, the impact of new technology and new materials, and ensure that injury, illness and death from work is reduced to the minimum and that when it does occur the burden does not fall disproportionately on workers and their families.
- The Royal Commission will make sure every worker has access to basic facilities such as rest and access to toilets and toilet breaks and will review the law to prevent sick or injured workers being unreasonably disciplined or subject to capability procedures as a means to dismissal.
- Overhaul and strengthen the Working Time Regulations 1998 (as amended 2007) and introduce a better work life balance.
- Ensure that public-facing workers are protected by toughening the law against abuse and violence. Requiring employers to create and maintain workplaces and working conditions free from harassment, abuse and violence, including “third party harassment” of workers in public facing roles such as health, retail, bus driving and postal workers.
- Require employers to make reasonable adjustments to assist those going through the menopause.
- Introduce a Government backed Reasonable Adjustments Passport scheme to help disabled people and strengthen Access to Work support.
- Make sure trade union safety reps are able to take enough time off to perform their union-related duties and undertake training.
- Ensure employers uphold their obligations to consult with recognised trade unions and their Safety Reps.
- Introduce a maximum temperature for workplaces.
- Ensure all workplaces are covered by health and safety legislation.
- Examine how health and safety protection for outdoor workers is delivered.
- Put mental health on a par with physical health in workplaces.
- Introduce ‘roving safety reps’ for workplaces.
- Introduce the right for trade union health and safety reps to inspect workplaces and employers other than their own.
- Allow workers to bring civil cases for breaches of statutory health and safety regulation.
- Defend workers’ ability to recover legal representation costs from negligent employers and keep the right for workers to be represented and recover their costs in cases of employer negligence leading to injury at work.
- Strengthen protections for pregnant women.
- Strengthen the protection for whistle-blowers because such actions protect others.
- Increase workplace inspections and prosecutions on workers’ behalf.
- Introduce tougher penalties for employers who break the law or fail to comply with tribunal orders.
- Introduce Directors’ personal responsibilities in law and liability for offences.
National Health, Safety & Environment Officer