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The Police Federation is recognised as having the same status as a trade union for the purpose of the Health and Safety at Work Act (HSWA) and any Regulation made under the Act.
All appointed Safety Reps have received training to at least Institute of Occupation Safety and Health (IOSH) standard. Federation safety reps meet regularly with those appointed by UNISON to discuss matters of mutual interest.
Under the health and safety banner our safety reps work closely with management to identify and eradicate risks to the health and well being of our members.
Safety reps have the power to conduct investigations of accidents and dangerous occurrences. In normal circumstances such investigations will be carried out jointly with a member of management, as the purpose of the investigation is to identify the problem and to put it right for the future.
The Health and Safety Commission, in “Strategy for workplace health and safety in Great Britain to 2010 and beyond”, states, “an organisation’s greatest asset is its workforce. Employees are often best able to spot issues and bring about real improvements. They can also influence health and safety through their own actions and by accepting personal responsibility. Workplace health and safety representatives operating in partnership with management are an important part of realising health and safety benefits. We recognise their valuable contribution.”
Safety reps have a power to carry out workplace inspections and these inspections take place on a planned basis all round the force. We have reached an agreement that UNISON will lead on these inspections due to the fact that the majority of their members work within building owned by the force. This agreement allows Federation safety reps to concentrate on operational issues, which are significantly more risky for our members than when working within a building.
Despite having formally appointed safety reps and a Force Health and Safety Advisor every member of the force has a part to play in ensuring the health and safety of themselves and their colleagues.
All workers have a right to work in places where all risks to their health and safety are properly controlled. Workers who are encouraged to have a voice and are given the ability to influence health and safety are safer and healthier than those who do not.
If you spot a health and safety risk you should deal with it immediately if you are able to do so (for example mopping up a spill of water on a floor). If you are unable to deal with the problem immediately it should be reported to a line manager or to a safety rep who will ensure it is dealt with.
We would also ask that you ensure that you comply with the force’s accident and near miss reporting procedure if you have an accident or even a ‘near miss’. If you do not report the accident it cannot be investigated and appropriate action to rectify it or stop a further occurrence cannot be taken. We would also ask that where appropriate you tick the box to state on your form that a copy may be disclosed to the Federation.
You may report an accident or dangerous occurrence to any safety rep that is on duty at the time. In cases of emergency an out of hour’s service to contact a safety rep is available via the Force Control Rooms.