Its time to bring health and safety back to where it began, Robert Storey, an associate professor from McMaster University, told health and safety conference delegates at a panel discussion Friday night.
Occupational Health and Safety activists, past and present, have told me that it is time to bring OHS back into local unions where the movement first began, said Storey, speaking from his research interviews with dozens of activists and injured workers. They want OHS established as a core union issue ranking alongside wages, benefits and pensions.
Storey said the labour movement opening its doors to a new generation of OHS activist wingnuts and a concerted approach to the Internal Responsibility System were still not enough to rebuild the movement.
We need to remember what brought rank and file industrial workers, trade union leaders, and middle class, university educated political radicals together in the late 1970s was a shared belief that people did not go to work to get injured, diseased and killed!
Storey called the changes in the workplace over the last few decades a systematic and strikingly callous assault on workers.
Thirty years on, Occupational Health and Safety militants need to forcefully remind their bosses that their health is still not for sale, he said.