Be on the Safe Side – February 2022

Posted in Branch news

International Women’s Day Health and Safety Seminar

On International Women’s Day, UNISON’s National Health and Safety Committee and Women’s Committee will be hosting a webinar on the hazards in women’s work.

We will hear from a variety of speakers looking at the hazards women face in the workplace and how we can organise around them. We will be joined by international speaker, Professor Karen Messing, from the University of Quebec whose ground-breaking book ‘One Eyed Science’ published in the late 90s exposed the lack of research and protections for women workers.

Helen Lynn from the Alliance for Cancer Prevention will speak about the work-related causes of breast cancer and what needs to be done to tackle them.  

The event will take place via Zoom on 8 March from 16.00 -17.45 and is open to all members.

You will need to register in advance to take part.

Please click here to register

Places available for rescheduled Health and Safety Seminar 24 May 2022

Additional spaces are now available for the National Health and Safety Seminar being held at the London Excel Centre on 24 May.

The seminar includes a full programme of plenary sessions and workshops on a variety of issues around the theme of building safe and healthy workplaces for women, and will also cover topical areas linked to the covid pandemic including ventilation and long covid.

The event is open to all members with an interest in health and safety, including health and safety representatives and those who are interested in becoming more active on health and safety.   

A cost of £125 per delegate will be charged to branches.

For further information on how to register please click on the link below.

2022 Health and Safety Seminar

International Workers Memorial Day – 28 April

The International Trade Unions Congress (ITUC) has confirmed that the central theme for this year’s International Workers’ Memorial Day is to “make occupational health and safety a fundamental right at work”.

You can find the full release from ITUC here

The TUC has some Workers’ Memorial Day resources available for branches to use including: 

  • An online memorial wall to remember someone who lost their life to work here
  • A  workers’ health & safety timeline that can be used for member education here
  • Listing your branch Workers Memorial Day event on the TUC’s website with an interactive map here
  • Ask your local council to sign up to our Stay Safe, Join a Union campaign here

Branches can also order additional resources, including purple ribbons, to wear on the day, directly from the Greater Manchester Hazards Campaign from the link below.

For the latest information and resources from UNISON,  visit our campaign page  via the link below.

Greater Manchester Hazards Campaign

UNISON International Workers Memorial Day Campaign

Support the Candlelight Vigil on 11 March

To mark the second anniversary of when WHO declared the Covid-19 outbreak a pandemic, campaign groups and trade unions will be holding a candlelight vigil. 

Thousands of workers, including UNISON members have died as a result of exposure to covid in the workplace with many continue to experience significant health problems from Long Covid.  

The 11 March provides an opportunity to remember those who have died, either with a physical event or by lighting a candle at home and sharing on social media. 

Candlelight vigils to remember workers killed by Covid-19

Covid News

UNISON has expressed serious concerns about the Government’s Living with Covid plans for England.  In her blog, the General Secretary called the moves reckless, saying they would have a profound impact on public services.

In terms of workplace health and safety, the Government plans state that from the 1 April, they will be removing the health and safety requirement for every employer to explicitly consider Covid-19 in their risk assessments.   

However, UNISON is clear, there remains a requirement under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations to identify hazards to health and take measures to reduce the risk of harm.  With Covid-19 rates still high in the community, infection risks don’t stop at the entrance to a workplace.  

The latest General secretary’s blog ‘Reckless’ decision on COVID will put lives at risk, looks at the UK government’s decision to scrap all remaining COVID-19 rules in England this week and how it  will have a profound impact on the delivery of public services, as well as putting lives at risk.

Further Government guidance on managing the risk in workplaces is expected to be published in the coming weeks.  

For the latest information and signposts on coronavirus  visit UNISON’s Coronavirus “Your rights at work: web-pages.

Coronavirus: your rights at work

UNISON Workplace Health and Safety Review Tool

Don’t forget, our workplace health and safety review tool can help you to review  your employer’s covid and other health and safety risk assessment.

To find out more about the review tool including how to access it via the Branch Portal, you can watch this short video by clicking on the picture below.

How to access and use the 
Online Health and Safety Review Tool

UNISON Health and Safety Review Tool

Changes to Personal Protective Equipment Regulation

On 6 April 2022, the Personal Protective Equipment Regulations will be amended to include duties on employers’ and employees’ regarding personal protective equipment (PPE) to limb (b) workers.

The move follows a court judgement which found that UK had failed to adequately transpose the EU Health and Safety Framework Directive and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Directive into national legislation.  The HSE consulting on extending the requirements of the PPE regulations to include ‘limb’ workers.

The PPE Regulations currently place a duty on every employer in Great Britain to ensure that suitable personal protective equipment (PPE) is provided to employees who may be exposed to a risk to their health or safety while at work but doesn’t extend to limb (b) workers (as defined under the Employment Rights Act 1996)

UNISON responded to a HSE consultation on the amendment supporting the move, highlighting the unacceptable situation where some workers were either not provided with suitable PPE or left to pay for their own.

More information on the changes and examples of “limb b” workers can be found on the HSE’s website via the link below.

HSE Page – Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at work regulations from 6 April 2022