Health and Safety

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Become a Health and Safety Rep

If you have ever wondered how to get more involved in your union, what better way than to become an accredited Health and Safety Representative for UNISON. As a Health and Safety Rep, you have access to courses delivered by TUC Education, all free of charge and with paid expenses and time off to attend where applicable. Your rights as a safety rep are backed by law, and you can be as involved as you wish. You have the opportunity to make real changes for your colleagues on your base station. You will perform a 3 monthly workplace inspection and can campaign for better facilities for all staff.

For more information, contact your local steward or

Body Worn Video Cameras

The Body Worn Video Camera pilot has now rolled out to 55 stations across 7 sectors of the trust. Uptake of the cameras has been lower than everyone would like to have seen and the service is trying to understand the reasons for this. The main themes that are apparent when staff respond to the question of why, would seem to be around, either suspicions about the intentions of NWAS and the use of the footage, or that staff feel that a camera might somehow inflame a situation.

We are part of a national pilot, and we can assure staff that in general, the cameras are having a de-escalating effect on violence towards staff. Should this not be the case, the cameras have captured footage that provides the best evidence possible to take a case to prosecution.

Members should not be suspicious of the service securing footage to be used against staff in the disciplinary process, we can assure staff, that Unison along with the other two unions, have gained written confirmation that is in both the policy documents and the SOP’s for the camera pilot, that footage will not be used against the staff member in any disciplinary, unless a criminal act is identified.

Although the uptake is low, early evidence suggests that staff are being subjected to less violence and aggression from patients, their family and members of the public.

Unison supports and encourages the use of the cameras, as they are an important tool in the fight to reduce the incidences of violence and aggression towards staff.

Graham Green

UNISON Branch Health and Safety Officer

Compulsory Vaccinations?

There have been rumours abound, surrounding the compulsory vaccination of staff within NWAS. Let me assure you that as things currently stand in civil law, no person can have any medical treatment or intervention forced upon them without their implicit informed consent. The only exception to this is where a person lacks capacity and the treatment is in their best interests, so unless NWAS deem their staff to lack capacity then nothing can change.

There has also been mention of staff not being able to fulfil their contract, why now, all of a sudden, does a fluid repellent surgical mask not protect staff and patients from the virus? There is nothing in any contract that states you must be vaccinated against coronavirus.

The service has apparently started to develop its own Covid age risk score matrix, again, which is currently not aligned with the ALAMA risk matrix. Before they can implement any form of risk assessment, they MUST consult with qualified Union Health and Safety Officials. Laid down in law in the Safety Representatives and Safety Committees Regulations 1977. At the point of writing this report for the website, 24th March 2021, I have not been consulted by NWAS about any proposals to re-design or develop a risk assessment aimed at risk scoring staff.

I appreciate that it has been a while since the last Health and Safety update, but I will endeavour to keep you, our membership, up to date with future developments.

Graham Green

UNISON Branch Health and Safety Officer.

Getting help as a member of UNISON

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