Category Archive: Health & Safety

  1. Health & Safety – Report from Ian Watkinson, Lancashire H&S Officer

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    Lancashire NUT Mental Health First Aid Training – Friday & Saturday 16th/17th June

    The first ever fully accredited 2-day NUT MHFA training course went tremendously well. Thanks to the hard work of the office (and Sarah and Sam!) we achieved a 100% attendance and the feedback on both the delivery and content of the course (and the venue), was very positive.

    Attendees ranged from young teachers to a headteacher and all left enthused and confident that they would be able to make a difference in their own schools. Alongside comprehensive MHFA training & reference materials, our new MHFA Reps were provided with copies of our National Mental Health Charter and Lancashire’s Stress Policy and Guidance. Incorporating discussion on those into the overall training was very well received and provided MHFA Reps with a benchmark and a good starting point for discussions on preventative measures & improved staff mental health with management and colleagues in their own schools.

    Feedback from attendees suggested that the free 2 day Friday/Saturday residential model worked very well and that we should stick with it. Most agreed that getting one day release from school was straightforward but that 2 days – even if not consecutive, could have been problematic. All felt that the importance of mental health and being trained to be given the opportunity to make a difference in their own schools outweighed giving up a Saturday. All really appreciated being at a ‘nice relaxing’ venue and agreed that having the evening and meal times to network and socialise with colleagues was valuable.

    Encouragingly, four of the attendees expressed an interest in either becoming a H&S rep or becoming more active in the NUT. This was a key objective.

    ACTION – look out for a repeat of this course at the end of September or late October.

     

     

     

     

    Fire safety in schools
    In light of the recent tragic events at Grenfell Tower, the NUT, ATL and FBU have written urgently to Justine Greening, asking her to confirm that the DfE will not proceed with proposals to significantly weaken fire safety measures in schools.

    In Lancashire, we have asked LCC for specific details on fire safety for all Lancashire schools (including flammable cladding, insulation materials) We are awaiting a response.

    The DFE have woken up and invited general secretaries of all school trade unions to a confidential meeting on Weds 5th July to discuss fire safety

    As you will be aware, building owners across the public sector estate are being contacted to ensure any risks are managed and dealt with appropriately and promptly. As part of this, the Department is contacting all bodies responsible for safety in schools, FE Colleges and providers, and HE institutions, instructing them to carry out checks to identify any buildings that may require further investigation. We would like to brief you on how this process is working, and discuss with you any concerns that your members might have either about this process, or fire safety more broadly

     

    Lancashire School Asbestos Issue

    Having been alerted by a local Secretary last week, I have been investigating a potential asbestos exposure and asbestos management issue at a High School in Chorley. There were some concerns that contractors (and the school, and LCC) had not followed proper procedure – investigations are ongoing. More and more case studies about poor asbestos management practice are emerging from other local authorities, MATs and academies.

     

    High classroom temperatures
    Recent hot weather is likely to have caused excessive classroom temperatures. Please read the NUT briefing on how to tackle this problem in schools.

     

    Friends of the Earth ‘Clean Air’ schools pack
    Friends of the Earth have produced a ‘clean air’ pack to assist schools teach about air pollution. Download a copy from the resources section on the NUT website.

     

     

  2. Health and Safety News: Spring 2017

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    Health & Safety Report  – February 2017

    TRAINING & EVENTS

    North West Health & Safety Adviser’s Mental Health First Aid Workshop.

    Friday 2nd December 2016, Blackpool

    The NW H&S group’s first Mental Health First Aid Workshop was a well-attended and very well received event. Members enjoyed a two-hour taster session presented by North West TUC that highlighted the need and importance of Mental Health First Aid in Schools. Feedback from attendees was excellent, with many hoping to become trained and accredited mental health first aiders in their own schools.

    With the mental health of members and pupils a union priority, the aim is for further NUT MHFA taster workshops to take place across the North West on a rolling program. In addition, a fully accredited NUT MHFA training day/days will be piloted in the North West in the summer term. Details to be announced ASAP.

    Next NW H&S Adviser Meeting & Event
    Friday March 24th, Warrington. Valuing Women & Women’s Health

    Afternoon Adviser meeting, followed by twilight presentation. Venue and further details TBC

    North West Health & Safety Rep Training

    Please promote the following H&S training days. Reps or prospective reps can attend individual days or all 3 for fully accredited H&S rep status. Details on units to be covered on each day to be announced shortly. Training held at Holiday Inn, Haydock.

    • Friday 3rd March 2017
    • Monday 26th June 2017
    • Wednesday 22nd November 2017

    National Health & Safety Rep Training

    The five-day course will still be taking place in July, but not at Stoke Rochford Hall. Venue and further details to be announced shortly.

    National Health & Safety Adviser Briefing

    The 2017 Health and Safety Advisers’ Briefing is taking place from Monday 27th November – Wednesday 29thNovember at Stoke Rochford Hall. Booking is now open online.

    National Health & Safety Working Group

    Next Meeting 24th February, Hamilton House.

    Asbestos

    Lucie Stephens & AIS Campaign Update

    Almost 11,000 have now signed the petition campaign Protect our children and teachers from asbestos exposure at school. Please continue to promote this important campaign.

    Alongside JUAC & MP Rachel Reeves’ office, Julie is attempting to build an online resource mapping asbestos data from every school in the country. Allied to her FOI request for info related to compensation payments & asbestos exposure alerts from every local authority, this would be an extremely valuable campaigning resource and one stop information portal for parents, teachers, and union campaigners alike. Find out how your local authority responded to the asbestos FOIs. 

    ASBESTOS IN SCHOOLS CONFERENCE – July 4th 2017 Birmingham

    The Joint Union Asbestos Committee is organising its first ever national asbestos in schools conference on 4 July this year, taking place at the  Rednal Conference Centre in Birmingham.  Click here for details.

    The conference is open to union reps and others and we already have a number of high profile speakers lined up, including Rachel Reeves MP, who chairs the Asbestos in Schools Group, and representatives from the DfE, HSE and medical profession, as well as prominent campaigners in this area.

    Violence, Aggression & Abuse Advice

    Despite under reporting of all accidents and injuries in schools, incidents of violence, assault and abuse (physical & verbal) are increasing. A request has been made to update current NUT advice (currently titled Security & Violence) to meet concerns including those about sexual (physical & verbal) abuse in schools.

    Email Health & Safety Forum

    Over 140 users are now registered and using our online email H&S forum. H&S Advisers & reps are benefiting from being able to raise queries & ask question and through the sharing of expertise. All H&S reps & advisers interested in registering for access to the group should email S.Ward@nut.org.uk.

  3. Asbestos in Lancashire

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    The Fred & Anne Jarvis Award 2014

    Presented to Michael Lees

    This year’s Fred & Anne Jarvis Award at Annual Conference – given to a non-teacher for outstanding contribution to education – was given to Michael Lees, a campaigner committed to getting rid of asbestos from our schools.

    Michael’s wife, Gina, a nursery school teacher and an NUT member, was exposed to asbestos at a number of different schools and died of mesothelioma at the age of 51. In the 12 years since her death, Michael has emerged as a leading voice on the risks of asbestos exposure.

    His website www.asbestosexposureschools.co.uk is one of the best places on the internet for evidence and research about asbestos and mesothelioma. Michael has also written extensively on the subject in the press, advised countless journalists and given a great many media interviews.

    The NUT and Michael have worked closely together since 2005.  Together we helped set up the Asbestos in Schools Group (AiS). The group was instrumental in persuading the Department for Education (DfE) to establish an Asbestos Steering Group to improve asbestos management in schools.  The AiS has also advised the DfE on web-based asbestos awareness guidance for schools.

    Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

    “The NUT is very proud of its association with Michael Lees through the Joint Union Asbestos Committee. Michael is a tireless campaigner who approaches his work with tenacity, passion and reason. I am delighted that he is receiving this year’s Fred & Anne Jarvis Award.”

    Michael Lees was nominated for the Fred and Anne Jarvis Award by Ian Watkinson on behalf of Preston Association and Lancashire Division.

    Preston’s Ian Watkinson won the North West Region Officer of the Year Award. This recognises his outstanding achievements on behalf of the Union in membership recruitment and retention, in particular with regard to health and safety.

  4. Fred and Anne Jarvis Award

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    Nominated by Preston & Lancashire NUT, this year’s Fred & Anne Jarvis Award was given to Michael Lees, a campaigner committed to ridding our schools of deadly asbestos.

    Michael’s wife Gina, a nursery school teacher, and an NUT member, was exposed to asbestos at a number of different schools and died of mesothelioma at the age of 51. In the 12 years since her death, Michael has emerged as a leading voice on the risks of asbestos exposure.

    His website is one of the best places on the internet for evidence and research about asbestos and mesothelioma. Michael has also written extensively on the subject in the press, advised countless journalists and given a great many media interviews.

    The NUT and Michael have worked closely together since 2005. Together we helped set up the Asbestos in Schools Group (AiS). The group was instrumental in persuading the Department for Education (DfE) to establish an Asbestos Steering Group to improve asbestos management in schools. The AiS has also advised the DfE on web-based asbestos awareness guidance for schools.

    Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

    “The NUT is very proud of its association with Michael Lees through the Joint Union Asbestos Committee. Michael is a tireless campaigner who approaches his work with tenacity, passion and reason. I am delighted that he is receiving this year’s Fred & Anne Jarvis Award.”