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found workers did more than 60 hours a week a third of the time. Staff mak-
ing the popular mp3 players also worked more than six consecutive days
25% of the time. Apple said the hours were ˜excessive™ and said its supplier
would now be enforcing a ˜normal™ 60-hour week. The California-based firm
said its internal review had found ˜no evidence of enforced labour™ or use of
child workers.


Health and safety
Health and safety rights issues are becoming more apparent, evidenced by alle-
gations that suppliers of organisations are reducing standards of health and
safety to below what would be considered legally acceptable. An example is
that it is thought workers employed in China™s jewellery trade are developing
deadly silicosis, due to working in poorly ventilated workshops (China:
Jewellery workers lung payouts fight Risks issue no 229 - 22 October 2005).
There is a general human rights view that organisations should: provide a
safe and healthy work environment; take steps to prevent injuries; provide reg-
ular health and safety worker training; make available a system to detect threats
to health and safety; provide access to bathrooms and potable water (UN Norms
Article 7). This risk issue is covered in more depth in Chapter 16.


Working practices
Working practices like discrimination, discipline, working hours, compensa-
tion, and the freedom of association and right to collective bargaining are cov-
ered in Chapter 14.


Oppressive regimes
There is much disagreement over the roles of organisations in countries viewed
as oppressive regimes, as there are arguments that this supports or props up the
regime, and the argument is that the leaving of western companies from South
Africa hastened the fall of the apartheid regime in South Africa. Companies
claim conversely that they are ˜engaging™ with the governments to alter their
actions and this is the best way to ˜reach™ them. So each case and country is
usually reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
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The general principle to think about adhering to is Article 21 of the
Universal Declaration on Human Rights which defines democracy as an essen-
tial human right.
Currently the US embargoed countries are Burma (Myanmar), Federal
Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro), North Korea, Syria (certain
financial transactions), Afghanistan (pre-occupation), The Balkans, UNITA
(Angola) with certain exceptions, Cuba, Iran, Iraq (pre-occupation), Libya and
Sudan.
Oppressive regimes are becoming a contentious issue, and companies that
operate in them will continue to feel increasing pressure from NGOs and gov-
ernments. In the US, companies are legally prevented from operating in some
countries (like Cuba). President Bush has recently signed the Burmese Freedom
and Democracy Act 2003, which states, ˜No article may be imported into the
United States that is produced, mined, manufactured, grown, or assembled in
Burma.™
There are concerns over China as well about the levels of democracy in the
country (as exemplified by Tiananmen Square) and Tibet over a range of labour
and health and safety issues. These have largely been overshadowed by the large
economic benefits the market presents as companies measure the risks to the
rewards. This can be seen by the number of media and communications compa-
nies who have tempered their otherwise independent editorial stances to gain
market share there. It is also to be noted that China has had cause to complain that
developed world companies setting up in China have not adhered to human rights
issues as well, as numerous companies have denied workers the right to Freedom
of Association and the Right to Organise and UN Conventions Nos 87 and 98.
Examples of risks include:

The Aliens Tort claims Act (ATCA) of 1789 has led to a case alleges a com-
pany™s complicity in the torture, rape and enslavement of villagers by the
armed forces of Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), in connection with an
oil and gas extraction project. Unocal owns a minority interest in the project,
which it purchased with knowledge that the Myanmar military would pro-
vide security for the job (EC Newsdesk, 13 May 2004);
Political pressure and boycotts of firms active in Burma are urging companies
there to pull out of Burma. Human rights activists are also releasing their
˜dirty lists™ of firms doing business in Burma;
An American oil giant stood trial in California for alleged human rights
abuses in Burma; and
The China National Petroleum Company (CNPC) invested $1 billion in
Sudan while already having $15 billion in debt. There were several attempts
to raise money by initial public offerings (IPOs) which seem to have received
ethical risk alerts and boycotts from many investment institutions. CNPC
eventually managed to raise funding with the sale of a new subsidiary called
Petro China in 2000. This IPO raised only about £3.4 billion which was one-
third of the expected amount after large price discounting by underwriters to
move the stock;
Chapter 15 “ Human rights outside the workplace 365



One of the main purchasers of Petro China stock was BP who was to receive
reputational damage as a result of this, as did Talisman, the Canadian oil
company who also faced legal action in the US as a result of operations there.

Indigenous peoples
The rights of indigenous peoples have been raised to increased prominence by
the recent UN International Decade of the World™s Indigenous People, which
ran from 1995 to 2004. The UN estimates that there are in excess of 300 million
people that are considered to be indigenous by virtue of their being descen-
dants of the ˜original™ inhabitants of a specific geographical area (prior to exter-
nal settlement or colonisation).
There are numerous pressures upon these peoples as their ancestral lands
are being taken over and dominated by external occupation, conquest, or pur-
chase, or they are being forced to move from these areas. This effect is often
compounded by business interests in areas that are often rich in natural
resources. To help protect and develop the rights of these threatened groups the
Commission on Human Rights established the decade of indigenous peoples
and the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, which is an advisory body
to the Economic and Social Council.
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was
adopted by the Human Rights Council on 29 June 2006, details can be found at:
http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpfii/en/declaration.html
There are numerous other stakeholder groups that express views on
how businesses should engage with these communities on issues like economic
and social development, culture, resource exploitation, intellectual property
rights and the environment. These groups include the Indian Law Resource
Centre; Indigenous World Association; International Indian Treaty Council;
International Organisation of Indigenous Resource Development; National
Indian Youth Council; and the World Council of Indigenous Peoples.
Company case studies include:
Companies can become involved in the forced relocation of individuals and
communities, whether it is in the UK for road building and airport expan-
sions, or large overseas infrastructure projects. An example of this is BP plc™s
relocation of 127 families to a newly constructed village in Tangguh,
Indonesia;
Britain™s Vedanta Resources plc has faced thousands of tribal people armed
with bows and arrows protesting against an alumina refinery being set up in
eastern India. The protesters, along with environmental activists, marched to
the refinery site in the mineral-rich Lanjigarh area of Orissa state, and vowed
to stop the US$874 million project; and
A positive case study is that organisations can also be proactive in addressing
potential risks and even take the lead on these types of issues. An example of
corporate progression is that Alcan is advancing corporate practice by launch-
ing its own Rights of Indigenous Peoples policy; this is while the UN General
Assembly still considers adopting a Declaration on Indigenous Peoples.
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Useful web links
* Business and human rights:
www.business-humanrights.org
* Country risk research can be found at Impactt:
http://www.impacttlimited.com/site/5thanniversaryreport.pdf
* Global Reporting Initiative “ GRI: including a GRI content index and
guidelines:
http://www.globalreporting.org/reportsdatabase/
* International Labour Organisation:
www.ilo.org
* Social Accountability International “ SA8000 Standard of Human Rights
in the Workplace:
http://www.sa-intl.org/
* United Nations Development Programme:
www.undp.org
* United Nations “ Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR):
http://www.un.org/Overview/rights.html
* United States Department of State, Human Rights Reports (2001):
www.state.gov/g/drl/hr/
16
Health and safety in the workplace
16 Health and safety in the
workplace



CHAPTER OVERVIEW
All organisations are at risk from health and safety-related impacts upon
their businesses. These impacts can be significant and the direct and indi-
rect costs to businesses have been assessed as being 1.2% of the market
value of the 500 largest EU and US companies at risk from issues relating
to the health and safety of employees. 1.2% are also at risk from associated
historic liabilities of organisations and 1.4% are at risk from external
health and safety issues covered in the next chapter.
An outline of a sustainable health and safety risk management frame-
work is included at the end of the chapter.




Introduction
As discussed in Chapter 8 the world collectively breathed a great sigh of relief
on 1 January 2000, when the much anticipated and greatly feared Y2K bug
failed to bite, and the long predicted worldwide crisis never happened. In the
weeks leading up to the new millennium, even those of us who had convinced
ourselves that everything was under control and that no crisis would actually
occur, had quietly stashed away some extra cash and loaded up a bit more than
usual at the grocery store, just in case. In hindsight, many questions are being
asked about why we survived the stroke of midnight unscathed. Was it all just
a hoax? Was it misinformation? Or perhaps, was it due to the unprecedented
planning and testing of computers and computer-related equipment that had
taken place in preparation for the new millennium?
Those who believe that the Y2K bug was exterminated by the enormous
planning efforts of Corporate America think there is a lesson to be learned from
this experience; namely, there is no substitution for good planning. That con-
cept is certainly true when it comes to planning for and managing a crisis in the
environmental, health and safety (EHS) arena. Unfortunately, despite an organ-
isation™s best efforts, it is almost inevitable that somewhere, sometime, a very
Chapter 16 “ Health and safety in the workplace 369



serious EHS accident will occur. Experience has shown that companies caught
without a comprehensive EHS crisis management plan suffer both severe pub-
lic relations troubles and significant legal liability (see also Chapter 8).

Heightened expectations
Due to the rapid pace of technological advances, a timely response to an EHS
crisis is more critical than ever. Because of the widespread availability of elec-
tronic mail, cell phones and other forms of immediate communication, there is
a growing belief that there is no excuse for delayed response. In the US both the
public and regulatory agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), have
raised their expectations considerably. Regulatory agencies have also stepped
up enforcement activity in the wake of such accidents. Moreover, computer
technology has assured that, not only will a company™s EHS crisis make the
11 o™clock news, it will also be posted on numerous websites, complete with all
the details and pictures.
These reasons make it an absolute necessity for companies to have in place
well thought out, usable and responsive EHS crisis management plans. Because
of the myriad complex issues involved in crisis management, it is extremely
important that a multidisciplinary team develop the plan. Too many companies
make the mistake of having a plan developed solely by lawyers, a public rela-
tions firm, or engineers. Such plans are inevitably missing critical elements.
Once a plan is complete, it is also important to make certain that all of the play-
ers involved in EHS crisis management, from top to bottom, are familiar with it.
This chapter develops these concepts and places them in a practical frame-
work for assessing an organisation™s health and safety risk profile. Where
appropriate, case studies of aspects of an organisation™s risk are included. For
example:
Internal health risks to the organisation “ staff and suppliers;
Historical legacies of health and product liability issues; and
Internal safety issues “ workplace safety.
Issues that are relevant to safety and health risks external to the organisation
(risks that can impact upon the general public and customers™ health) are cov-
ered in the next chapter.


Background
Globally, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates that approxi-
mately 2 million people are killed in work-related diseases and occupational
accidents, of which 355 000 are fatal accidents each year.
Occupational accidents kill over 300 people and injure over 1 million peo-
ple each year in the UK. Financial, legal and strategic, as well as moral, consid-
erations all dictate that health and safety has to be prioritised and proactively
tackled in every workplace.
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Historically campaigning against unsafe and unhealthy workplace prac-
tices is not new, a classic case was that of Annie Besant who published an
expos© of labour conditions on 23 June 1888. In an article entitled ˜White slav-
ery in London™ she drew attention to the dangers of yellow phosphorus from
fumes and ingestion used in match production at Bryant & May, while other
producers did not use the dangerous substance. In response, in 1891 the
Salvation Army opened its own match factory in Old Ford, East London, using
harmless red phosphorus as a direct competitor. Eventually, in 1901 and after
years of campaigning, Gilbert Bartholomew, managing director of Bryant &
May, announced it would stop using yellow phosphorus.
More recently there have been a lot of high profile examples of safety acci-
dents and disasters including Stockline Plastics; The Herald of Free Enterprise
(192 dead); the King™s Cross underground fire (31 dead); Piper Alpha (the world™s
worst offshore oil disaster killing 167); the Clapham rail crash (37 dead);
Hillsborough (97 dead); and The Marchioness (51 dead). These events should
be familiar due to their severity and the level of media coverage. It is notewor-
thy that, although the cumulative impact and level of fatalities from health

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