Health and Safety Post Bag – May 2021
With the covid-19 restrictions starting to be reduced, members who have been working from home or “shielding” might be anxious about returning to their workplace after being away for a lengthy time during the pandemic.
Some members may be worried that when return to return to the workplace, changes may have taken place such as rules, one-way systems and entry / exit points. Others may be concerned that they may experience a decline in their ability or proficiency to carry out tasks which they were previously relaxed and confident in performing.They may need additional time and support to get back to pre-pandemic performance in order to restore their competency and confidence.
When return to work (RTW) interviews are carried out, they should be conducted in privacy and includediscussions with the worker about any specific concerns the worker has and what the employer can do to reassure the worker about their concerns, including the support available and how their health safety and welfare will be assured whilst at work.
There may be members who are concerned that due to the length of time they have been absent from the workplace, that their driving skills may have declined. Unison Health and Safety has raised this with the Trust and is seeking a supportive package that can be incorporated into the Trust Driving Policies and provided to our member who require or request support when returning to work after lengthy absences.
Following the recent concerns raised by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in respect or respiratory protection equipment (RPE) the Trust has said it is reviewing its procedures and taking steps to improve the Fit Testing procedures and standardising the process across the Trust to ensure consistency.
The Fiat Task and Finish Group have been reviewing the concerns raised by members and have carried out assessments to identify the barriers which members encountered to assist in identifying a way forward. In light of the assessments, the Trust has confirmed that 51 Mercedes ambulances will be held-over for the next 2 years to ensure that members who are physically unable to drive safely in the Fiat DSA will have a vehicle to work on. This does not mean that individuals will be provided with their own Mercedes, but it does give reassurances that a number of Mercedes will be made available until such time as a long-term solution is identified.
The new LOM vehicles based on the VW Transporter chassis have started rolling out and will replace existing vehicles based on worst-motor first process. The new vehicle will ensure that LOMs have a fit for purpose vehicle that is able to support ambulance crews, provide essential equipment to large scale incidents and also act as the on-scene Incident Control facility.
The new Early Intervention Vehicles (EIV) are already on the production line and will provide the specialist teams with the appropriate level of comfort and facilities which they require in order to carry out their role. The new vehicles will all have captain’s seats which rotate to enable staff to work at a desk station, air conditioning, customised storage for clinical equipment, hot/cold box for welfare and rear stowage space for the safe carriage of the supporting equipment they provide to patients.
Unison Health & Safety Officer
14 May 2021