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Who are you? Doru Athinodoru, GMB steward/safety representative. Employed by Haringey Council as a neighbourhood warden.
What made you become a safety rep? Poor working conditions - harassment, stress and bullying.
What training have you received? Trade union courses provided by TUC, GFTU and my own union GMB. I am a member of IOSH in the grade TechSP and half way through a degree in trade union studies.
How much time do you spend on repping? Limited facility time from my employer, however if you asked that question to my family they would say full time.
Where do you get your support? Great support from GMB London region officers, also from the trade union studies tutors at the College of North East London and most importantly from my family.
What are the major hazards at work? Workplace bullying. At present there is no statutory law to protect workers from bullying at work and I believe the trade union movement can play a major role to rectify this.
Why be a safety rep? You can make a real difference to the working environment and quality of people's lives. What better reward is there?
What was your most satisfying accomplishment? Winning paid leave for two pregnant agency staff to attend anti-natal check ups - the agency claimed they were self employed; winning reinstatement and promotion for a sacked security officer; and winning The IOSH Technical Safety Practitioner Scholarship, with £1,000 bursary to continue my studies.
What was your worst experience? In my last post I was constantly pursuing and highlighting allegations of harassment, discrimination and bullying. A senior manager lost his temper with me, pushed me back against the wall wagging his finger in my face. I believed that I was about to be assaulted.
What advice would you give other reps? It's the best job you will ever have, you would want to do it for nothing!
Hazards 86, April-June 2004
Who are you? Derek Townsend, Communication Workers' Union (CWU) area health and safety representative. Employed by Royal Mail UK. I have been a union representative in the postal service for 30 years and an area safety rep for east London for 24 years, employed as a "roving" safety rep thanks to a visionary CWU/Royal Mail agreement.
What made you become a safety rep? Poor working conditions at the run down, vermin infested Victorian sorting office where I started my career. It had a horrible kitchen and a coal-fired heating system in the cellar that was stoked by cleaners. The employer was totally unconcerned.
What training have you received? Trade union, TUC, advanced health and safety courses, plus specialist courses provided by local authorities, Croners, Southampton University.
How much time do you spend on repping? Full time.
Where do you get your support? CWU HQ and CWU health and safety forums, other safety reps, EHOs, HSE and the London Hazards Centre. Publications including Hazards and Labour Research.
What are the major hazards at work? Manual handling, slips, trips and falls, stress, bullying and asbestos.
Why be a safety rep? It's a great opportunity to help others and use what skills and knowledge you have to improve working conditions and workers' health.
What was your most satisfying accomplishment? Successfully winning a conference debate that saw CWU decide to elect a national health and safety officer and create a health and safety department, now dynamically led.
What was your worst experience? Dealing with members in the 1970s who had been exposed to asbestos and waiting and watching for signs of cancer.
What advice would you give to other safety reps? If you believe you can help, go for it!
Hazards 85, January-March 2004
Who are you? Anthony Hitchins, TGWU senior safety rep. Working at PSA Peugeot, Coventry, I have 48 years experience in the motor industry. I have been shop steward; currently in my thirtieth year as a safety rep. Honoured to receive the 2003 TUC Safety Rep of the Year award.
What made you become a safety rep? As a lad working under the piece system in the 1960s I experienced appalling working conditions. I was shocked with attitudes to health and safety. Management would shut their eyes to the safety rules: Workers would take shortcuts to earn extra pennies or accept danger/dirt money to work on dangerous processes.
What training have you received? Several TGWU advanced health and safety courses. Also completed many WEA/TUC courses and attended specialist courses at Aston University.
How much time do you spend on repping? Full time. Averaging 36 hours.
Where do you get your support? Joint shop stewards committee (JSSC), company, HSE, union research department, the internet, CDs and books.
What are the major hazards at work? Stress associated with shiftwork, production schedules constantly changing, RSI.
Why be a safety rep? To minimise the hardship and suffering associated with ill-health and injury at work.
What was your most satisfying accomplishment as a safety rep? Being part of a group of senior stewards and safety stewards visiting Parliament in the 1970s to lobby 110 MPs to bring in the long awaited Safety Representative and Safety Committees Regulations - which they did.
What was your worst experience? Seeing people severely injured in my early working days.
What advice would you give to other safety reps? Don't give up! Be firm and stay with it.
Hazards 84, October-December 2003
Hazards questionnaire Shaun Badmin, PCS
Who are you? Shaun Badmin, registration officer with the Land Registry in Plymouth, although for five years I have been a full time lay official for PCS.
What made you become a safety rep? Increasing number of RSI personal injury cases. I felt powerless and wanted to do more.
What training have you received? TUC health and safety stages 1 and 2, law update and I'm in my last term on the TUC Certificate course.
How much time do you spend on safety repping? At least 15-20 hours a week. In my role as departmental rep I advise and research out information for 80 reps across our department.
Where do you get your support? Phil Madelin,
PCS national safety officer, if I cannot answer a legal question. Geoff
Kilby and my departmental committee as well as some very experienced reps
across the Agency.
Why be a safety rep? Simple - safety reps prevent accidents and injuries at work and that's a proven fact.
What was your most satisfying accomplishments as a safety rep? Winning two European Week of Health and Safety awards in 2000 and 2003 and setting up a cross union discussion forum for safety reps to exchange ideas.
What was your worst experience? Generally it has to be "Ronseal" managers. They do exactly what it says in law, no more, no less.
Why is a safety rep's job important? It's high profile, proactive and members can see things change. You can make a real difference in your workplace.
What advice would you give to other safety reps? Don't give up! It can seem daunting sometimes, use the law to the fullest and utilise your training. Make use of internet resources.
Hazards 83, July-September 2003
Questionnaire Sarah Page, Prospect
Who are you? Sarah Page, HSE inspector in London and Prospect safety rep.
What made you become a safety rep? The inadequacy of PPE for women (when I joined 7 years ago) and a determination to see it improved (which it has).
What training have you received? I'm lucky having HSE training so I have been selective with union courses - the best was "negotiating skills".
How much time do you spend on safety repping? As much as it takes!
Where do you get your support? From fellow reps, shop stewards and colleagues I represent. Occasional supportive management helps achieve results.
What are the major health and safety hazards at work? Stress is the biggest risk across HSE, with RSI next (from computer use).
Why be a health and safety rep? We all have a right to a safe and healthy working environment. Health and safety reps can formally assert that right on behalf of their colleagues and check their boss's compliance.
What's your most satisfying accomplishment as a safety rep? Contributing to the HSE stress initiatives which will hopefully bring benefits beyond HSE.
What was your worst experience? I've nothing to report compared to some reps I've met outside HSE.
Why is a safety rep's job important? Because reps improve workplace safety. It's been proved!
What advice would you give to other safety reps? Never forget your membership's views - you are a rep. And try and be as good as you can be by being trained, knowing the law - the "brown book" - and persisting. Good luck!
Hazards 79, July-September 2002
Questionnaire Jeanette Devereux, Usdaw
Who are you? Jeanette Devereux, health and safety rep for 1,200 Usdaw members at Reality call centre in Widnes. Also Usdaw convenor and branch secretary.
What made you become a safety rep? Health and safety wasn't being taken seriously by the union or the company. I could see lots of problems in the workplace so I put myself forward and was elected.
What training have you received? TUC Stage I and II and Usdaw weekend schools.
How much time do you spend safety repping? All the time.
Where do you get support? From Doug Russell, the Usdaw Health and Safety Officer, who is a mine of information and a good back-up. I would never be without my TUC Hazards at Work book.
What are the major health and safety hazards at work? As a call centre, the main problems are RSI, stress and inadequate rest breaks.
Why be a safety rep? To get members and management to recognise the importance of health and safety issues.
What's your most satisfying accomplishment as a safety rep? It used to get so hot that members were fainting with the heat. I insisted they hire decent fans to cool the air down during hot spells. It got so expensive they eventually agreed to install air-conditioning.
What was your worst experience? Not being consulted by managers on some major issues that could have affected members' safety and welfare.
Why is a safety rep's job important? It's the only way to make sure that members' health and well-being are protected.
What advice would you give to other safety reps? It's important to keep up-to date. Keep on training. Management are increasingly getting NEBOSH and IOSH training; we need TUC training to keep up with them.
Questionnaire Jean Chaplow, GMB
Who are you? Jean Chaplow, a mobile cook with Chartwell's catering in schools in County Durham. I have access to 450 school kitchens and I am a safety rep, GMB convenor and branch secretary.
What made you become a safety rep? In my roving role I see the inconsistencies between schools. My members thought I was in an ideal position to put pressure on management.
What training have you received? GMB safety reps' courses. The Hazards Conference allows me to talk to and learn from reps from different backgrounds. Union training is far more relevant than anything management has sent me on.
How much time do you spend safety repping? All the time.
Where do you get support? From the GMB regional and national safety offices and regional organisers. Also, from the Trade union information unit TUSIU and Hazards magazine.
What are the major health and safety hazards at work? Simple things like spilt water or sharp knives can have serious consequences. One major hazard in older kitchens is asbestos.
Why be a safety rep? It can be very satisfying and extends my influence as a shop steward. The safety reps' regs give me more rights than I would have as just a steward.
What's your most satisfying accomplishment as a safety rep? Getting our members onto the GMB Asbestos Register. None of our families would ever realise how much asbestos we have around us as cooks.
What was your worst experience? Realising that the thin grey sheets of cement I had swept for years contained asbestos.
Why is a safety rep's job important? Our GMB members rely on my ability to represent their interests.
What advice would you give to other safety reps? Go for as much training as possible.
Hazards 73, January-March 2001
Hazards questionnaire Kim Brookes, UNISON
Who are you? Kim Brookes, elected UNISON safety rep working as a parking enforcement officer for Hammersmith and Fulham Council.
What made you become a safety rep? I wanted to do something because I saw many things were wrong.
What training have you received? Currently on TUC health and safety reps Stage 1 course. Previously on TUC union reps Stage 1 course and UNISON sickness absence and disciplinary codes course.
How much time do you spend safety repping? I'm not given a specific number of facility hours, I do the safety rep job as needed.
Where do you turn for info and support? My union branch and human resources department.
What are the major hazards at work? Assaults, verbal abuse, and communication problems when working off site.
Why be a safety rep? Because my members need me and if I didn't do it no-one else would.
Your most satisfying accomplishments as a safety rep? Getting management to provide suitable replacement radio communicators after bringing the faults of the old ones to their attention.
Your worst experience as a safety rep? The first time I faced management with a health and safety issue because I wasn't trained and I was very unsure of my ground.
Why is a safety rep's job important? For the well-being of my union branch members.
Advice to other safety reps? Go for it - and be persistent.
Hazards 72, October-December 2000
Hazards questionnaire Teresa Mackay, TGWU
Who are you? Teresa Mackay, packhouse worker for Hemingstone Fruit Farms in Suffolk and T&G rural workers' roving safety rep (RSR).
What made you become a safety rep? HSE, T&G and NFU decided to run the RSR project and were looking for volunteers. I decided to participate, along with eight other farm workers.
What training have you received? A three-day course with ADAS safety advisers giving us the training; a brilliant five days intensive training provided by the T&G; and T&G basic courses in the past.
How much time to you spend on safety repping? Very little recently, as the foot and mouth crisis put our RSR project on hold.
Where did you get support? From the T&G rural workers' national secretary Barry Leathwood, the T&G safety section and our tutor, Peter Kirby, and the safety advisers with ADAS.
What are the major health and safety hazards at work? Work-related strains from the repetitive work that we do packing apples.
Why be a safety rep? Agriculture is one of the most dangerous industries trade union RSRs could turn this situation around.
What's you most satisfying accomplishments as a safety rep? Completing the T&G course last January along with eight others and looking forward to putting it into practice.
What was your worst experience? Having to wait so long to put it into practice!
Why is a safety rep's job important? It could be the difference between life and death, not just for adults but also children who are systematically killed on our farms each year.
What advice would you give to other safety reps? Watch this space as far as RSRs are concerned as so many industries in today's world could benefit.
Hazards 76, October-December 2001
Who are you? Graeme Slater, Amicus shop steward and safety rep at Circatex Printed Boards, South Shields.
What made you become a safety rep? There was no health and safety guidance and as a consequence rules and regulations were being ignored.
What training have you received? I have passed both the Amicus/IOSH Working and Managing Safely and the NEBOSH general safety certificate.
How much time do you spend as a safety rep? You are always a safety rep whether at work, home or on holiday.
Where do you get your support? From union reps and members, the union's safety department and solicitors, TUC and from the web.
What are the major hazards at work? Chemicals and stress - this is becoming a major factor as the company increases its production demands and changes methods. It is almost as if safety is taking second place to production.
Why be a health and safety rep? So that I can keep up to date with safety law, and to ensure that my workmates are working in the safest possible environment.
What was your most satisfying accomplishment as a safety rep? The company installed lifting tables where the load went straight from forklift to the table and the operator then adjusted the table to suit them.
What was your worst experience? While working for British Coal I saw a man trapped and killed by a Dosco cutting wheel.
Why is a safety rep's job important? They are the focal point for workers. The rep is generally more knowledgeable than immediate supervision and can assist in keeping them on track.
What advice would you give to other safety reps? Try to avoid letting safety issues becoming confrontational, but never allow the employer to become complacent - sometimes an issue demands a confrontation to maintain a safe place of work. Keep your members up to date, educate yourself and heed good advice.
Hazards 81, January-March 2003
Hazards Questionnaire Pat Dowling, UCATT
Who are you? Pat Dowling, UCATT convenor and safety rep at Bovis Lend Lease site at Paternoster Row in the City of London.
What made you become a safety rep? I wanted to be seen to be doing something, to speak on behalf of the workers and to get things sorted out straight away. A safety rep has more clout.
What training have you received? TUC Stage 1 and 2 at Lewisham College.
How much time do you spend as a safety rep? All the time. Everytime I am out on site.
Where do you get your support? Mostly from the workers on site because I get problems sorted, also from UCATT and sometimes from the employer.
What are the major hazards at work? Mostly falls from ladders, cuts on hands through not wearing gloves and tripping over electrical leads.
Why be a health and safety rep? I get enormous satisfaction knowing people are going home safely to their families. If someone died I would feel I had failed.
What was your most satisfying accomplishment as a safety rep? Achieving zero accidents on this site. It is a big site and although there have been very minor injuries, no lives, limbs or eyes have been lost.
What was your worst experience? A near miss in which one and a half tonnes of steel slipped its chains when being moved by crane and fell 3 floors onto hoardings. It missed a woman pedestrian by 25 seconds.
Why is a safety rep's job important? I act as a link between management and workers. I am out on site most of the time and I can remind people of what can happen if they don't protect themselves against hazards.
What advice would you give to other safety reps? Go out and be seen and enjoy your work. Above all, stop people working in terrible conditions that will endanger their health and their life.
Hazards 82, April/June 2003
Gilly Margrave, UNISON
Who are you? Gilly Margrave, Leeds UNISON branch health and safety officer and convenor of Yorkshire and the Humber TUC Regional Women's Forum - Oh yes, I also work as an Information Librarian at the Leeds Music Library.
What made you become a safety rep? I was originally a steward but quickly realised that the vast majority of problems in the workplace have a health and safety angle.
What training have you received? Stages 1 and 2, TUC Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety, IOSH Managing Safely and more short courses than I care to remember. The Hazards Conference is also an excellent way of keeping up to date.
How much time to you spend on repping? I have one day a week facility time to deal with issues which come through the branch office but obviously spend a fair bit of my time dealing with issues raised by members in my own department.
Where do you get your support? I get a lot of support from other reps but also from other health and safety professionals and I suppose I'd better include my partner who is an USDAW branch secretary.
What are the major hazards at work? Mainly stress, often linked to bullying. Manual handling. Display screen equipment related issues.
Why be a safety rep? You never get bored - there's always a new problem to solve.
What was your most satisfying accomplishment? Getting permission to use Beano characters in a poster campaign.
What was your worst experience? Dealing with a headteacher who thought she could use health and safety to discriminate against a disabled member.
What advice would you give to other reps? Emphasise the positive and praise good practice when you see it. Smile sweetly but wear steel toecaps.
Hazards 87, July-September 2004
Nicki Kenney, NAPO
are you? Nicki Kenney, Napo safety rep and co-chair of Napo's national
safety committee. I work as a family court adviser.
Hazards 88, October-December 2004
Elizabeth Corbett, GMB
Who are you? Elizabeth Corbett. I work at Automotive Lighting UK Ltd, where I am a GMB senior steward/safety rep.
What made you become a safety rep? I enjoy dealing with health and safety and I wanted to improve safety at work for everyone.
What training have you received? I attended lots of health and safety courses, including GMB, TUC, company and private courses. I have my Nebosh certificate and I am a member of IOSH.
How much time do you spend on repping? Health and safety to me does not have any time limits on it. It's a continual way of chipping away to make improvements.
Where do you get your support? From GMB, IOSH and health and safety advisers I have met through the course of my work - and from the company, when it realised safety reps cut costs.
What are the major hazards at work? Training was the major issue, getting the company to come on board as well as employees, ensuring everyone knew they had a legal duty of care.
Why be a safety rep? To ensure everyone has a say on their working environment.
What was your most satisfying accomplishment? Being selected as TUC Safety Rep of the Year 2004 for the work I did to significantly reduce the accident rate at work.
What was your worst experience? The battle with management and the workforce to take health and safety more seriously and to put it at the top of the agenda. Being bullied in my role as a safety rep - which inspired me to get the company to implement a bullying and harassment policy.
What advice would you give to other reps?
Training and information is the key to success on all health and safety
issues. Never give up on any issue - keep chipping away to get results.
Hazards 89, January-March 2005
Hazards Questionnaire, Denis Mac, Amicus
Who are you? Dennis Mac, CNC turner and steward/safety rep from Engineering Services, at Hanson Building Products.
What made you become a safety rep? I’ve
always been keen on rights and on seeing the end of exploitation. Health
and safety law is the best tool we have, to protect our rights and our
safety at work and I thought I should make use of it.
What was your worst experience? An unofficial
attempt by management to intimidate and silence me.
Hazards 90, April-June 2005
Hazards Questionnaire, Ron Jackson, Community
Who are you? Ron Jackson, Community health
and safety rep, contractor plant driver for MultiServ (Corus), Middlesbrough.
Why is a safety rep’s job important? Most safety reps are better trained and know more about health and safety than workplace managers and supervisors.
What was your most satisfying accomplishment?
Resolving issues raised by members - it is all about our members’
health and safety. Being recognised as international safety rep of the
year 2003 for MultiServ, a global company.
What advice would you give to other safety reps? You win some you lose some, keep at it and hold your head up high. Keep up with the training and any health and safety updates.
Hazards 91, July-September 2005
Hazards Questionnaire, Sue Quinlan, PCS
Who are you? Sue Quinlan, admin officer
at Greater Manchester County Court.
What made you become a safety rep? After being office rep for some years, someone suggested that I would be a good safety rep, a position that had never been occupied.
What training have you received? TUC health and safety stages 1, 2 and 3. Courses on negotiation skills and stress.
How much time do you spend on repping? I have a facility agreement of 3 days a month, but this can vary. My family would say I always have my health and safety hat on and am on a crusade 24/7.
Where do you get your support? From the PCS branch committee, Greater Manchester Hazards Centre, PCS members, PCS head office, and my family.
What are the major hazards at work? Management and Crown immunity. Managers who “do” health and safety are poorly trained, tow the party line and are not normally union friendly. Also RSI, stress, manual handling, trips and falls.
Why be a safety rep? Making a difference by raising the profile of health and safety. Things can be changed where people are willing to speak out on a problem.
What is your most satisfying accomplishment? Speaking at the Hazards Conference in 2004, then returning to my old office and wiping the floor with an ex-manager during a health and safety inspection visit.
What was your worst experience? Being the subject of a bullying complaint involving a manager at my old office. After two years, I lost. It was a whitewash. I am a better, stronger and wiser person for the experience.
What advice would you give to other safety reps? Advertise your successes, no matter how small and build on them. Get as much training as you can. Ensure your reports are true and factual. Lastly don’t let the bastards get you down!
Hazards 92, October-December 2005
Hazards Questionnaire, Martin Huws, NUJ
Who are you? Martin Huws, NUJ safety officer at BBC Wales, chair of the NUJ national safety committee and the Nations and Regions representative on the BBC Health and Safety National Joint Council. Senior broadcast journalist on Newyddion Cymru’r Byd, Welsh-language News Online.
What made you become a safety rep? In 1995 I read three lines in the Western Mail - contract worker killed at steel works. I researched a current affairs programme which showed that 16 had died in 10 years at the same plant, Port Talbot.
What training have you received? MA in labour law, previous experience as a regional secretary. TUC stage 1, various refresher courses. I need to do stage 2.
How much time do you spend on repping? I get four hours a week but repping often bites into my own time as I prepare for meetings, advise members, deal with grievances, and try and keep up with developments.
Where do you get your support? Fellow safety reps and full-time officers Sue Harries and Don Mackglew. I get inspiration reading people like Daniel Berman, Patrick Kinnersly or Alan Dalton.
What are the major hazards at work? Without a doubt, stress. There’s still some macho managers around and some who are “in denial.” Members need to talk to someone they can trust, not someone who’s causing the problem.
Why be a safety rep? Safety reps make a difference. Workplaces are safer because of their presence.
What was the most satisfying accomplishment? Winning compensation for a member who suffered injury at work. The look on her face said it all.
What was your worst experience? Trying to get information about inspectors’ visits to the workplace. It took months. Never give up. If one angle of approach fails, try another.
What advice would you give to other reps? Byddwch yn wyliadwrus. Be vigilant all the time. Keep in touch with the members, make a difference to their lives. It’s going to get more stormy. We need more hands on deck.
Hazards 93, January-March 2006
Who are you? Ian Rutherford, Usdaw safety
rep, shop steward and learning rep. I work at the ready-made pastry firm
Jus Rol at Berwick upon Tweed.
Hazards 94, April-June 2006
Who are you? David York, teacher at Dowdales School, Dalton in Furness. Responsible for health and safety, ATL school rep, county assistant branch secretary. I also represent ATL on health and safety matters at county level.
What made you become a safety rep? The headteacher told me that the job of health and safety officer for the school would suit me perfectly. Until this time I had paid little regard to health and safety above what was required in my job as a teacher.
What training have you received? Various one day courses. Three years ago I gained the NEBOSH certificate.
How much time do you spend on repping?
As a teacher, our hours are not set as they were when I worked in industry.
I have never counted the hours, I take as long as the job needs.
What are the major hazards at work? Stress is a huge problem. Bullying rears its ugly head from time to time, but my biggest problem is with staff laying cables for their electrical equipment across walkways, presenting trip hazards.
Why be a safety rep? It is a difficult job which requires diplomacy. I enjoy the problem solving activities being the health and safety officer offers me. There is satisfaction in keeping colleagues safe.
What was the most satisfying accomplishment? School standards body OFSTED reporting that all aspects of health and safety within the school are excellent.
What was your worst experience? Thankfully, I haven't had one. I hope I never do as it will mean someone has received serious injury.
What advice would you give to other reps? Be vigilant. Don't allow anyone to sway you from your task of keeping your colleagues safe. Remember, their safety is your responsibility.
Hazards 95, July-September 2006
Who are you? Chris Leaman, lecturer in
trade union studies and UCU health and safety rep at Bristol College.
Former GMB safety rep in the packaging industry.
How much time do you spend on repping?
Facility time at present is two hours per week – woefully inadequate.
I spend a lot of my own time on top of this.
Hazards 97, January - March 2007
Who are you? Jillian Blackwood, childcare project adviser and PCS health and safety rep for Stockwell Plus, DWP.
What made you become a safety rep? Nomination – with Jobcentre Plus, union reps and union safety reps are separate - perfect for me to get back to what I had a natural passion for!
What training have you received? TUC health and safety stage 1.
How much time do you spend on repping? Half day risk assessments and reviews of process with management every month. Up to 1 hour with individual cases/incidents.
Where do you get your support? The PCS branch secretary for Lambeth, Southwark and London regional chair based at my office is very supportive.
What are the major hazards at work? Facing potentially violent or abusive customers and increasing stress from the pressure to meet targets.
Why be a safety rep? Being an unbiased voice of members and employees gives me a sense of achievement and purpose. It is essential to have a union health and safety presence at work dealing with the best interest of members and staff at heart, over management priorities for running the business.
What was the most satisfying accomplishment? My colleague was verbally abused and threatened by a “customer”. I accompanied her to the police station, providing a statement. A new security system agreed with security works well and is a visual deterrent to potential “troublemakers.” The customer was banned for three months and faced criminal charges.
What was your worst experience? Witnessing this incident.
What advice would you give to other reps? Get trained, active and involved with your members, staff and management. Identify potential incidents and hazards, don't be afraid to investigate. When you don't know something just ask another rep or your point of contact in the union - if you don't ask you'll never know!
Hazards 98, April - June 2007
Who are you? Andrew Nash, radiographer, Colchester General Hospital, Society of Radiographers (SoR) safety rep and regional safety and industrial relations (IR) rep.
What made you become a safety rep? I was already an IR rep. I knew there was a lack of implementation or policing of health and safety issues in the workplace.
What training have you received? A diploma in health and safety, a 3-day SoR course and TUC stage 1 and 2 – and I’m enrolled for further TUC courses.
How much time do you spend on repping? Six hours or more a week – often not enough, as there are always safety and IR issues. I spend a lot of time working in the evenings.
Where do you get your support? SoR regional officer and HQ, local reps at regional and national meetings, reps in other unions, the employer safety adviser and TUC college lecturers.
What are the major hazards at work? Inadequate risk assessments; difficulty in implementing policies and control measures on stress, victimisation, bullying, violence and assaults.
Why be a safety rep? Very rewarding at times. It is the job of safety reps to police and guide management – even more important now HSE is taking a more advisory role.
What was the most satisfying accomplishment? No single one sticks out as they each had their own merit.
What was your worst experience? As yet, there have been no major incidents, however there have been some minor injuries and near misses.
What advice would you give to other reps? Attend all the courses you can – more knowledge makes the job easier. Be prepared, do your homework, be assertive but keep level-headed. Involve your members as much as possible – remember you are not alone and have the support of your members and other union reps, who all face the same issues.
Hazards 99, July - September 2007
Who are you? Ian Bullen, plant operator, site medic and GMB safety rep, Ciba Chemicals, Bradford.
What made you become a safety rep? Watching what was going on around me before the site got union recognition.
What training have you received? Various, including GMB stages 1 and 2, TUC stage 3 and IOSH CPD.
How much time do you spend on repping? Every shift and also on days off.
Where do you get your support? Other reps, union branch and region, TUC college tutor, Bradford Area Safety Reps’ Association, Hazards, Keighley Work Safe, employer safety advisers, IOSH.
What are the major hazards at work? Inadequate risk assessments, poor policy implementation, chemical exposure, loss of containment, stress due to restructuring and working practice changes, shift work.
Why be a safety rep? I have always had a keen interest in safety at work and believed that if I became a safety rep, I could improve the health and safety of members.
What was your most satisfying accomplishment? Safety reps at our site have had successes with workplace hazard mapping, a chemical containment project and a slip hazard project, improved PPE and introducing a Union Notice system. Persuading the company to purchase a priceless automated external defibrillator (AED) that has had to be used twice this year.
What was your worst experience? I have to deal with very serious injuries/illnesses at Ciba, some fatal. I have also investigated chemical incidents that may have had the potential to cause a major disaster.
What advice would you give to other reps? Don’t expect a result all the time. Never give up; keep grinding it out. Use your rights to get a beneficial safety rep system. Don’t be afraid to ask for info/advice. Don’t get into a comfort zone with management. Take a rain check and think. Involve and talk to members.
Who are you? Bob Bryson, Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) vehicle services area safety rep with Royal Mail, based in Milton Keynes.
What made you become a safety rep? A genuine interest in health and safet.
What training have you received? CWU health and safety courses stages 1, 2 and 3; TUC certificate in health and safety; IOSH technical qualification.
How much time do you spend on repping? Full-time.
Where do you get your support? CWU HQ, TUC courses and info books. Royal Mail management.
What are the major hazards at work? Motor vehicle repair – oil on floor, local exhaust ventilation, control of hazardous substances. Problems with manual handing – injuries, upper limb strain, other musculoskeletal problems.
Why be a safety rep? To try and make a difference. It can give a lot of satisfaction to identify hazards and make good something that has the potential to kill or injure.
What is your most satisfying achievement? Negotiating issue of footwear and cleaning of overalls. Introduction across the region of lightweight alloy or air-operated jacks (trolleys), which have to be lifted in and out of customer support vehicles regularly.
What was your worst experience? A hoist collapsed in a Milton Keynes garage when cables snapped. It fell nearly killing one member.
What advice would you give to other reps? Stick in there - don’t take no for an answer. Remember the legislation is with you. Remember the safety reps and safety committees regulations and don’t be afraid to quote them.
Who are you? Bob Dow, teacher at St Margaret
Mary’s Secondary School, Glasgow. EIS rep and safety rep in school,
senior safety rep for all Glasgow schools, teachers’ rep on the
city education health and safety committee and city corporate health and
Who are you? Mick Roberts, Unite Amicus shop steward and safety rep employed at Bombardier Transportation, Crewe, which overhauls components for the rail industry.
What training have you received? A wide range of TUC and Unite health and safety training courses. I’ve also received employer provided health and safety training.
Why be a safety rep? To actively promote good health and safety management and to encourage everyone to think about safety.
Who are you? Mark White, UNISON corporate health and safety rep, Parking Services, Bristol City Council.
Who are you? Tricia Gleave, one of seven UCU health and safety reps at Blackburn College.
What training have you received? I have attended the TUC Stage 1 health & safety reps courses at the Blackburn College Trade Union Centre and intend to complete Stage 2 in the near future.
What is your most satisfying accomplishment? Being part of the fight to maintain decent UCU representation on the safety committee in the college.
What advice would you give to other reps? Keep your members informed, encourage all safety reps to go TUC courses, keep up to date with current legislation (eg.via the union website) and have regular meetings with other safety reps in order to maintain an effective presence on the safety committee.
HAZARDS MAGAZINE WORKERS' HEALTH INTERNATIONAL NEWS