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.
UNISON Branch Health and Safety Officer.
For more information, contact your local steward or firstname.lastname@example.org.
1st December 2023
SAFETY NOTICE FOR THE LOADING AND UNLOADING OF ELECTRIC WHEELCHAIRS
All PTS staff.
On Tuesday 24th October, the service arranged a demonstration event at Flimby Station, with the aims of showing how a single crew can safely load and unload electric wheelchairs as an EW1. Present at this demonstration were:
Graham Green, Kath Livy, Stuart Haughin, Cath Morrison, Paul Flynn, Carmen Batt, Kerry Lloyd, Junayd Ali.
The demonstration was carried out on flat, level ground, outside the station. It quickly became apparent, that there were problems and risks to both staff and patients. These problems could only be mitigated by the presence of a second crew member.
The original guidance from NWAS, was that at certain stages of the process, the chairs drive function would be engaged in order to facilitate some movements, for example, crossing the bridging plate to the ramp, when exiting the vehicle. It was clear that this caused problems for the single crewed operator, and in fact went against the Manufacturers guidance, which states clearly, “The winch MUST only be used for freewheeling wheelchairs and stretchers”.
It is Unisons understanding, that, the service are still allocating these jobs as EW1’s, and telling people to attend the property and do a DORA.
Just to be clear, the location of the practice is not what causes the safety issue, it is the act itself of using the winch as a solo responder, to load and unload patients on this kind of wheelchair. You are within your rights to use this information as your DORA and reject the job as an EW1 on Safety grounds. All these jobs should be allocated as EW2 in the absence of a proven safe method of use for a solo responder.
Under the Health and Safety at Work regulations, your employer has a responsibility for your health and safety and the health and safety of service users. You also have a responsibility for your health and safety and that of your patients or any person coming into contact with you while you are at work.
Regulations that protect you at work are;
The Health and Safety at Work act 1974 (HSAW 1974).
The Management of Health and Safety at Work regulations 1999 (MHASW 1999).
The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 (MHOR 1992).
The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER 1998).
Unison will support you if you reject a job on these grounds, you also have the protection of the above legal standards which NWAS are compelled by law to uphold. and your union would urge you to report any instances of unfair or unwarranted pressure being placed upon you to carry out any such job as a solo responder.
SRP, MCP, Dip OSH.
UNISON Branch Health and Safety Officer