Thursday, August 26, 2010

Safety Matters: Pre-employment health checks, asbestos in schools and risky work fines

Nothing much is supposed to happen in August but check out this week’s TUC weekly on-line bulletin  “Risks”.

Pre-employment health checks are to become illegal under the Equality Act in October. Employers will not be able to ask health questions or make medical checks on job applicants before offering them the job. This will make it far more difficult for them to discriminate against the disabled since they would then have to “justify” why they are withdrawing a job offer after they discover someone has a disability.

Excellent news!

Waltham Forest Council Ace UNISON health & safety rep, Su Manning is mentioned also for “hammering” her employer over HSE enforcement notices about their failure to carry out checks over asbestos and legionnaire disease in schools (schools????? I kid you not)

Another important advance reported was that the Appeal Court has ruled that it was legal for courts to give firms big fines over significant (risky) safety failures which could (but luckily didn’t) have resulted in large numbers of people being killed.

This is fundamental to the H&S principle that prevention is much, much better than cure.

(picture I took of disturbed and crumbling asbestos pipe lagging in a library basement used as a storage area during a trade union safety inspection in 2003)

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