It is a health and safety issue, a matter of life or death in some cases and we don’t apologise for demanding that employers take every precaution to provide control measures to deal with this deadly pandemic.
GMB union is leading the Health & Safety fight against COVID-19
The GMB union is leading the way in tackling the Coronavirus impact on working people. Right from the off we have taken steps to protect our members, particularly those in the most vulnerable jobs. It is a health and safety issue, a matter of life or death in some cases and we don’t apologise for demanding that employers take every precaution to provide control measures to deal with this deadly pandemic.
We set up surveys for staff working in care homes across our region and followed them with the Risk Register, which enables all members to keep a record of what risks they have faced and where employers have not fulfilled their legal duties to protect individuals or the workforce. The quality and quantity of PPE have been fought for as well as common sense policies on absence and sick pay.
There is a danger that people become complacent or ignore the risks but the evidence is now coming to light that the long term effect of COVID-19 on individuals can be long term and a serious threat to their health and wellbeing. Clinicians working in this field are seeing signs of organ damage to lungs and hearts in some people who have been infected but survived.
As the GMB trade union health and safety officer for the region, with many years of experience, I have witnessed the asbestos scandal and COPD impact of diesel and other chemicals on workers and know too well the difficulties in fighting for compensation. That is why it is essential we use the GMB union Risk Register, to record and note incidents or patterns in each workplace, to help potential future legal action and hold bad employers to account.
There is also the knock-on effect of the Covid threat, which can’t be ignored. People working from home not getting the protection needed from ergonomic problems that can leave them crippled and the unions need to be aware of that added hazard.
Another is the increase in stress and in turn mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. These debilitating illnesses can cause long-lasting damage and can come from concerns about personal or family members’ health or the threat of redundancy.
All these things are part of our health and safety agenda and as a union, we all need to be aware and look out for hazards and risks facing colleagues, friends, and members in general. If you have concerns about these issues feel free to contact us via your branch officers.
GMB trade union
Regional Education and Health & Safety Officer