17 March 2022

Health and safety (H&S)

The need for suitable risk assessment, including on an individual basis, we will seek to be maintained.

The Covid pandemic dominates the union’s H&S activity. As legal measures to control Covid have been eased and in England at least will be removed by the government, the need not to allow complacency to develop is paramount. So far, our involvement in the content of defence advice notices, especially DAN 15, has kept the majority of Covid mitigations in place at the workplace and made it clear that all risk assessment must involve trade union consultation. We are yet to see what the new Covid guidance will be post legal restrictions but the need for suitable risk assessment, including on an individual basis, we will seek to be maintained.

January 2022 saw the full implementation of a smoke-free working environment policy across defence establishments. As previously reported, we have made sure that top level budget holders (TLBs) have involved their trade union teams at that level, as well as the unions being part of local working groups managing the implementation. It's likely that we will be involved in a full review post implementation at some point in 2022.

Activities around health, safety and welfare are a crucial part of the role of our trade union and we remain committed to setting up a H&S working group led by the GEC by including interested activists both within and without the GEC membership as well as linking to local reps in this field. At our conference in June 21, we passed three motions on H&S with all three emphasising the experience of Covid and the need to use this to bolster our TU H&S rep network as well as to use relevant legislation as an organising tool and to make sure that appropriate H&S engagement is taking place at all levels. We continue to seek to achieve these aims in 2022.