Bud Hudspith

After over thirty years of service as National Health and Safety Adviser, for the trade union Unite and previously GPMU, and a longstanding Committee member of the Paper and Board Industry Advisory Committee (PABIAC), Paper Industry Working Groups and the Printing Industry Action Group (PIAG). In September 2022 Bud Hudspith retired.

During his long and illustrious career, Bud has been an inspiration figure in promoting health and safety within the paper industry, and his commitment to helping employees and employers alike understand how by ‘working together’ they could achieve so much, never wavered.

A larger than life character in every sense, in the late 80’s early 90s, Bud was a key figure during those dark times, when the number of people being killed and seriously injured working in UK paper was at an all time high. Never shy in coming forward, and recognising that something had to be done to bring about a change in culture within the industry. Bud, with support from the GPMU was hugely influential in applying pressure on the Health and Safety Commission to act swiftly, and provide the necessary resources and get health and safety as a top priority on every paper mills agenda.

The key to achieving this was to bring about a cultural change through collaboration, and it was vital that HSE, Trades Union representative and the industry worked together, and it was through this tri-partitie relationship that PABIAC came into it own.

CEO health and safety events, industry conferences, regional H&S meetings, safety representative training, site visits etc…whatever the event, Bud would be there, speaking to FOC’s, safety reps and industry leaders offering support during this period of change.

Of course, Buds role extended beyond just paper mills and with the same commitment he was equally involved with the corrugated sector. And while the corrugated sector were not under the same ‘spot light’ as paper, employees were still exposed to similar life threatening hazards, and Bud was able to influence similar changes.

In the spirit of openness and sharing information, Bud was a huge advocate for sharing details of incidents to enable others to learn lessons. A practice the whole of the UK paper industry continues to do today through issuing safety alerts.

As the industry improved, Buds counterparts in Europe, US and Australia were keen to replicate what the UK had achieved and he was a great ambassador for the industry of what can be achieved.

Passionate about health and safety, and looking to the future, he was a key member of the UK team for developing international machinery standards for corrugating, printing and paper machines, something he continued to do until his recent retirement.

The extent of Buds work and passion for health and safety goes beyond the UK Paper industry.

Within Unite, this includes the Graphical, Paper and Media and IT sector (which covers the paper related industries, and all Unite manufacturing sectors, as well as Energy and Utilities, Finance and Higher Education.

Bud did a lot of work to get Bladder cancer recognised  as a problem connected to the printing industry and he was involved in the study of printing industry TU members on this topic

He has also served for many years on the Advisory committee for toxic substances (ACTS) where he fought to get Workplaces exposure limits for lowered on various substances, and example being respirable silica dust, prevalent  in many industries  such as mining, construction, manufacturing of various products, foundries etc

Bud has always been a major voice in the chemicals industry, instigating many changes in the UK around evaluating and controlling chemicals entering the country.

He is well respected by employers and regulators such as HSE across all the sectors he dealt with. Bud’s opinion was a gold standard in his field of work, and changed many opinions at HSE and industry for the good of TU members and workers as a whole.

He represented Unite on various European health and safety matters including offshore safety; silica dust; and printing and paper machine safety; leads for Unite on REACH, Corporate Manslaughter and Directors H&S Duties; and has a particular interest in alternatives to behavioural safety and in all aspects of health and safety in relation to Respirable Crystalline Silica.

In 1999 he received the ROSPA Distinguished Service Award for Health and Safety.