There’s now less than a week left to submit entries for our Focus: on safety at work photography competition.

In the current uncertain political climate, it is imperative that health and safety rights at work are front and centre in negotiations for the new government and its negotiations on Britain’s exit from the EU, according to Thompsons Solicitors.

Although both Conservative and DUP manifestos included positive comments on workers’ rights the sincerity of their commitment is in doubt. Thompsons Solicitors is concerned that their words may not translate into real action.

Thompsons Solicitors is making the case for why it is important that everyone understands the true value of health and safety and makes sure the new government doesn’t allow it to be forgotten during ongoing political upheaval.

"Our competition, Focus: on safety at work, which closes next week, is urging people across the UK to take a photograph that explores themes around health and safety like 'Why must health and safety legislation be understood as essential, not a chore?', 'What could you work look like if health and safety didn’t exist?’ and 'Who are the health and safety champions who make your job safe?"

Tom Jones
Head of policy at Thompsons Solicitors

To help highlight its importance, Thompsons Solicitors has launched a competition open to all to showcase their creative skills and show why health and safety matters.

The judges for the competition come from an array of backgrounds. Award-winning photographer and chair of the NUJ Freelance Industrial Council, Nick McGowan Lowe, has had a wide-ranging career covering press, PR and commercial projects. He will be joined by Liz Snape, President of the TUC in 2016 and Assistant General Secretary of UNISON. Her special interest in health and safety principles will be particularly useful to the panel. Hugh Robertson, our third judge, is a senior policy officer for the TUC, sitting on panels specialising in occupational diseases and industrial injuries. Kevin Maguire completes our panel. He is currently Associate Editor of the Daily Mirror and also writes for the New Statesman. He has previously worked for The Guardian and the Daily Telegraph.

Thompsons Solicitors’ head of policy, Tom Jones commented: “Our competition, Focus: on safety at work, which closes next week, is urging people across the UK to take a photograph that explores themes around health and safety like 'Why must health and safety legislation be understood as essential, not a chore?', 'What could you work look like if health and safety didn’t exist?’ and 'Who are the health and safety champions who make your job safe?'

“Brexit is a precarious time for the health and safety of UK workers. It is vital that one of the government’s first priorities in the negotiations is to safeguard the regulations derived from EU law which keep us all safe.

“The appointment of David Gauke who is no friend to workers as the new work and pension’s secretary with responsibility for the Health and Safety Executive brings them further uncertainty, when they are already undergoing an unacceptable level of planned cuts - a drop in funding of over £100m between 2010 and 2020.

“In the past, too many ministers seemed to believe health and safety is just another piece of “red tape”, when in fact it is essential legislation that cannot be negotiated away. Many in the Conservative Party would like to turn Britain into a low-regulation dream for big business, at the expense of workers. It is vital that we keep the pressure up on the new government to protect workers’ rights and protections during the Brexit negotiations and enhance them further afterwards.”

Running until 28 June, entries to the competition will be reviewed by a panel of judges, with the winners’ work being featured in an exhibition at the People’s History Museum in Manchester. A cash prize of £1,500 will be awarded to the winning entry, with cash prizes for runners up too.

To take part in the campaign, visit www.thompsons.law/focus. Keep up to date with competition news by following @ThompsonsLaw and @ThompsonsInjury on Twitter and by using #focussafety.