Health & Safety Matters - Stress, Industrial Action, Asbestos
Healthy Workplaces Manage Stress
The European week of Health and Safety starts on 20th October. Unfortunately, it always falls in Leicester's halfterm week. This year the theme is Healthy Workplaces Manage Stress. With mental health problems continuing to increase across the population as a whole and 35% of Occupational Health referrals for LCC employees being for mental health problems, it is increasingly important to look after our own well-being and to look out for the health of others. Workplace stress is one of the major causes of poor mental health. More information on the campaign can be found at www.healthy-workplaces.eu/en. Unite have also produced a useful document about managing stress.
Health & Safety During Industrial Action
It is likely that many members of school support staff unions will take industrial action on October 14th. If your school remains open during the strike it is important for head teachers to carry out a proper risk assessment to make sure that H&S is adequately covered. Issues that need to be considered include whether there is sufficient cover for first aid and other emergencies, if access to and exit from the school building is compromised, and what would happen in the event of a fire. If there is any doubt about the safety of people in the building, the school should not open. Please contact the NUT office if you have any concerns.
Following the death of his wife from an asbestos related disease caused by exposure while she was a primary school teacher, Michael Lees has campaigned relentlessly and very effectively against the continued presence of asbestos in schools. He has worked with the NUT for ten years, giving his expertise freely to many associations and schools where serious asbestos problems have occurred, ensuring the safety of NUT members and the whole school community. In recognition of this, he was the recipient of the Fred and Anne Jarvis award at Annual Conference and was awarded an MBE in July for his tireless dedication to the cause. Michael has now decided to retire in May 2015. I would like to record my personal thanks for the work that he has carried out, which has made a significant impact on the health of everyone who enters school buildings.
Health and Safety Reps Guide
The H&S team at Hamilton House, under guidance from the H&S Working Group have issued a new H&S Reps Guide. H&S reps, who have registered with Hamilton House should have received a copy already, but I have a few spare copies available on request.
I have started to email H&S reps and school reps in settings where I am not aware that there is a H&S rep, in an attempt to improve communications. So far this term I have sent two emails out. I would be grateful if any reps who have not received these emails let me know so that I can add them to the list.
Andy Haynes, Leicester H&S Officer