The health and safety work of trade unions has been very important in the last year. As your branch Health and Safety Officer, I’ve been working to raise your concerns about the pandemic, improve guidance, inspect buildings and liaise with the other campus unions. I’ve spent many many hours in meetings to represent all our interests and improve safety for staff and students. All of us involved in safety on the union side feel this work has made a significant difference in improving the university’s approach, but we know there are still many concerns which continue to arise.
On a local level, some schools and departments have elected departmental health and safety reps. These have been crucial in discovering and acting on specific issues. If your part of the university doesn’t have an elected UCU H&S rep., would you consider taking this on? (You can check if your area has a rep at https://www.leedsucu.org.uk/about-us/departmental-representatives/). The role involves keeping an eye open for local health and safety issues, raising them with the local H&S team, representing UCU on your local health and safety committee, and liaising with the branch H&S Officer. UCU can provide optional training (which starts with a 3 day H&S course) and you are entitled by law to necessary time off for H&S duties.
The annual Workers Memorial Day is coming up on Wednesday 28th April. It’s a day when we commemorate those who have lost their lives at work, or from work-related injury or ill health. This year of course, we will particularly remember those workers who have died from COVID-19. So this year more than ever, it’s important to renew our H&S efforts, to organise collectively and to prevent work-related health issues. In our Leeds UCU branch, we want to mark the day by supporting more members to become local H&S reps. And thus better ensure the health and safety of staff and students.
Or if you decide now that you would like to stand as a local H&S rep, please email firstname.lastname@example.org expressing your willingness to stand. Then we’ll need two colleagues in your area who are UCU members to email email@example.com nominating you for the role. If there are nominations for more than one person, there’s a possibility of job sharing or the committee will organise an election.
The deadline for nominations is Monday 26th April.
Leeds UCU Health and Safety Officer
This page was last updated on 20 April 2021