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The focus on this assignment is to sought research and analyse that the Union and workers will know best to identify ill-health caused by work. Common work-related injuries are stress, anxiety and depression, musculoskeletal disorder, occupational lung disease and work place injury such slips and trips, handling/lifting and carrying, falls from a height, struck by an object and acts of violence. The benefits of a unionised workplace are that the Safety representatives have the best training, education and development to perform their duties properly conforming to legislation and law and to ensure employers conform with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HASAWA). The employer must work with the Safety representatives and set up Safety committees ensuring a safe workplace environment without risk to health and to ensure all Health & Safety policies, procedures, rules and regulations are adhered to and are regularly reviewed, updated and communicated. The employer is responsible to The Health Safety Executive (HSE) who is a government body and a national regulator that enforces to prevent workplace death, injury and ill-health. The HSE works with other regulators, environmental agency and government bodies such as the local authorities, to intervene on individual businesses. Effective research is essential as work security protecting against hazards, injury and work-related ill-health. Every year workers suffer from work-related ill-health through accidents and diseases. The latest figures from the HSE website show that 1.4 million working people suffer from a work-related illness. According to the [Hazards 71, 1 August 2000] every year 25,000 workers are forced out of their jobs due to work-related ill-health. In 2016/17 an estimated £15 billion is the cost of injuries and ill-health from working conditions. An overwhelming 28.2 million working days were lost due to work-related illness and injury.
Union involvement in the workplace makes a real difference in the workplace. The benefits of union involvement in Health and Safety is to reduce accidents, improve ill-heath and help change the Safety structure. The best way to track down workplace ill-health is directly from the workers to provide effective methods of communicate which is key to collating accurate information to promote well-being and a safe workplace. Workers own experience provide vital information and knowledge of issues in the workplace that directly impact on them and affect their well-being. Workers must be involved and have their say in decision making as only the worker knows what works for them. Research is essential to identify problems such as health problems, hazards and opinions to negotiate improvements. A stronger work force acting collectively with the Safety representative tends to be more effective putting in place solutions with the employer. Managing risk and promoting behaviours to improve standards of good health and safety is absolutely vital and we must share the responsibility of ensuring everybody is aware of what they need to do by preventing work-related incidents and making it a safer place to work. All employers have a common-law duty of care to their employees. In addition, under HASAWA every employer has a duty to ensure that, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of employees are protected. As well as in non-unionised workplace workers are being forced out of their jobs due to work-related ill-health. No interest and no regard is given to workers for their health conditions, hazards and opinions. When workers well-being is not protected in the workplace everyone suffers. The figures given in the introduction highlights there are no significant changes and there is high risk of sustaining injury and ill-health in the workplace. It highlights the scale of challenge on employers and there are still areas to improve on fatalities, injuries and ill-health. Lack of involvement and lack of understanding by the employer results in lack of effective research. Many employers do not consult with their workforce and get away with it and improvements can be made if the HSE and Local Authorities enforce the existing regulations where employers are not consulting with their workersf over Safety issues, despite the legal requirement on them. There are greater risks when you speak up alone the employer is reluctant to listen to your opinions some may suffer retaliation or reprisal. It is much better for workers to communicate with the Safety representative to have theirs view and wishes listen to.
Trade union Safety representative make a difference because they help reduce injuries which reduce the levels of ill-health caused by work. The union encourages the reporting of injuries and near misses this helps develop a more positive safety environment and makes workers more confident. There is still much to be done so workers are healthy and safe. Workplace inspections play a vital part in active research through observations, surveys and one-to-one which provide current, up-to-date and accurate information. A survey helps how our members are experiencing and how they are coping with heavy workloads. A written survey would be more appropriate to gather confidential and sensitive information. The more questions and more individuals being approached provides more data to analysis to help improved workers well-being and working conditions. In interviews and in one-to-one situations it is more relaxing and informal and provides more clarity due to the personal and interactive nature, and this can also resolve literacy issues. Workers may have witnessed an accident or ill-health and have an opportunity to talk about their own concerns and to contribute to action planning. Other forms of active research are to collate information in small groups and Work Time Learning Listening (WTLL) it allows information to be gathered quickly and encourages workers become involved collectively, looking at the workplace, it highlighting the attitudes, feelings and beliefs as well as developing an action plan. The importance of obtaining information from inspections, risk assessments and body mapping highlights shared experiences, ill-health and pain in a particular part of the body and evaluate the effectiveness and suitability of existing control measures. Past sick records, past risk assessments/inspections and past Safety Health Environment (SHE) reports can identify unnoticed problems and trends, to build up evidence to support further investigation or add weight to existing problems. These different types of research methods performed correctly are effective as long as the workers have an involvement and had their say will ultimately provide effective solutions. Strengths and weaknesses are involved in all research methods it depends on how quickly you need the information, as long as its valid, reliable and is inclusive bearing in mind everyone needs are different. There may be a need to carry out more than one method of research to reach to as many workers as possible to identify ill-health and how to best support their health and working conditions. Workers are the best people to understand and experience the risks in the workplace, to identify hazards, carry out a risk assessment to prevent hazards, injuries and ill-health. Trade union involvement is of paramount in the workplace and proper methods are available to identify causes of ill-health. Working together with the employer will protect workers from anything that may cause them harm and effectively controlling any risk to injury and ill-health. Workers must be consulted about hazards, injuries and ill-health at work to prevent further injuries, dangerous occurrences and to raise awareness of others health conditions could be life changing/threatening to certain groups of people. Employers must consult with the Safety representative on Health and Safety matters affecting the employees they represent as in the [Safety Representatives and Safety Committees Regulations 1977]. Safety representatives could have better rights as currently Safety representatives can raise any safety matter and the employer can legally ignore any questions that are raised as there is no legal duty for the employer to respond. HSE needs to do more to ensure employers are consulting with the workers on Health and Safety matters and if the employer is not complying with the Health and Safety regulations there must be a legal right to issue improvement notices and to call in the enforcement officers if the employer does not put things right.
In summarising there is evidence that effective research provides better outcomes for workers and offers good intentions to recognise ill-health and finding workplace solutions. Unions in the workplace are key to ensure people are not forced out if their jobs due to work-related ill-health, and to safeguard and support for people to remain in work. Ill-health because of your disability is defined by the Equality Act 2010 and your employer has a duty of care to make reasonable adjustments to help alleviate any disadvantages that the disability causes. Employers policies also protect disability under the Attendance procedure, Flexible working and Phased return to work. Equality Act 2010 protects people from discrimination, victimisation and harassment. It is vital for workers to have an involvement and have their say to the way they work to prevent work-related ill-health. We all must have regard that the workers know what works best for them.