There are hundreds of laws designed to keep workers safe at work and still the HSE recorded over 150 deaths at work last year.
This figure does not include those who die in road or other transport accidents while carrying out their work, or the thousands who die from industrial diseases such as cancer, or from exposure to asbestos. Many others are injured or suffer long term, debilitating, illnesses which can also have a great impact on their families
GMB Safety Representatives work to make GMB members safer at work in around 25,000 UK workplaces where they work. These GMB Safety Reps are safety watchdogs who represent GMB members’ interests on health and safety matters.
Many of GMB’s nine regions have a full time Health and Safety Officer to support Regional Officers and members. We also have a specialist Health and Safety Department at our National Office.
This structure means GMB members have access to masses of health and safety information for them to use to help organise their workplace and make it safer for GMB members who work there.
GMB believes that health and safety need not be a complicated process only understood by ‘experts’. Indeed we believe that the people who are most likely to understand the risks associated with a particular job are those who actually do the work.
The starting point for the GMB approach to reducing accidents and ill health caused by work is to identify what can cause harm at work. This could be noise, asbestos, lifting heavy boxes, dangerous machinery etc. If we do not know what is causing harm we cannot begin to prevent it. Once the hazards have been identified the next step is to take action to eliminate or reduce as much as possible the risk of these things causing harm.
Look for the things that can cause an accident or damage health.
Stop using or doing whatever it is that could harm or cause ill health to GMB members. If this is not possible-
Look at ways to make the job safer. This could be through changing the ways the job is done, or by providing a barrier between the hazard and the worker. Once the job has been made as safe as possible, thought can be given to extra safeguards such as-
Masks, gloves and other protective equipment is the least effective method of preventing harm as it does not make the task itself any safer. But it should be considered once the hazard has been identified, and employers have tried to eliminate the risk and put control measures in place.
GMB is committed to providing our members with the best possible value for money and is continually working to promote safer workplaces.
All GMB members can expect:
You can view the most asked questions by clicking here
For more information on the roles and responsibilities of GMB Safety Representatives please click here
If you have any questions surrounding health and safety issues please use the contact form below