COVID has raised awareness of the need for PPE into the minds of millions of workers. Over the last three months Barnet UNISON has heard from our members lots of issues about the lack of PPE, the rationing of PPE, the absence of PPE and poorly fitting PPE.
John Hendy QC speaking at our “Employment Rights in the COVID workplace” Zoom meeting on 3 June 2020 (see link to his talk about 14 minutes 26 seconds into the video https://youtu.be/tA2r16cqXd8) refers workers to The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992, UK Statutory Instruments1992 No. 2966 Regulation 4
The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992, UK Statutory Instruments1992 No. 2966 Regulation 4
Provision of personal protective equipment
4.—(1) Every employer shall ensure that suitable personal protective equipment is provided to his employees who may be exposed to a risk to their health or safety while at work except where and to the extent that such risk has been adequately controlled by other means which are equally or more effective.
(2) Every self-employed person shall ensure that he is provided with suitable personal protective equipment where he may be exposed to a risk to his health or safety while at work except where and to the extent that such risk has been adequately controlled by other means which are equally or more effective.
(3) Without prejudice to the generality of paragraphs (1) and (2), personal protective equipment shall not be suitable unless—
(a) it is appropriate for the risk or risks involved and the conditions at the place where exposure to the risk may occur;
(b) it takes account of ergonomic requirements and the state of health of the person or persons who may wear it;
(c) it is capable of fitting the wearer correctly, if necessary, after adjustments within the range for which it is designed;
(d)so far as is practicable, it is effective to prevent or adequately control the risk or risks involved without increasing overall risk;
(e)it complies with any enactment (whether in an Act or instrument) which implements in Great Britain any provision on design or manufacture with respect to health or safety in any relevant Community directive listed in Schedule 1 which is applicable to that item of personal protective equipment.
John Hendy makes it clear that this is a key piece of legislation. If the PPE being provided by your employer does not fit or causes an allergic reaction to the point you cannot wear it then they need to secure PPE that you can wear.
Dear Barnet UNISON Members
UNISON HQ have sent an email to all of our members working in Schools.
This is an extract from the email sent on 28 May 2020.
“However, many staff will still be expected to go in and we have all been inundated with requests by members asking for advice on whether they can refuse to go in on 1 June. Following discussion with NEU, other unions and our legal team the email to members includes a model letter for members who have serious concerns about their health and safety and face the prospect of being forced into the workplace under unsafe conditions from 1 June. We have asked members to specify these concerns in their letter by highlighting where the school is not meeting the joint unions risk assessment checklist. They can also include scenarios where they have not been consulted on risk assessment.”
Here is the link to UNISON email message below.
If you have serious concerns about health and safety in your workplace then please use the EMAIL Template below to send to your School and remember to copy in Barnet UNISON at firstname.lastname@example.org
re: Health and Safety
I am writing to inform you that, in order to protect myself and/or other persons from danger, I will not be attending [name of school/college] to work there at present. I will continue to be available to work from home.
Since the government announced its decision to extend the opening of schools, the impact that has in terms of the health and safety of pupils, staff and the community has been widely discussed. The mere fact of an increase in the number of pupils and staff attending school poses an increased risk.
UNISON and the other TUC education unions have outlined a set of tests to be met nationally and locally before it could be deemed safe for schools to open more widely. These tests have been set with a view to safely increasing pupil numbers. UNISON does not believe these tests have been met in full. In particular the new test, track and trace system has only just been introduced and it is too early to know if this is effective. Independent scientific advice concurs with UNISON’s view that wider opening on 1 June is not safe.
I believe that not attending work in the current circumstances is an appropriate step for me to take for the following reasons:
1. The dangers that are preventing me from attending work are the risk of contracting coronavirus and or spreading coronavirus to others.
2. The person(s)I am seeking to protect are myself, my family, our pupils, their families, my colleagues, their families and members of the public.
3. I believe that this danger is serious because coronavirus infection is potentially fatal and has already resulted in more than 37,000 deaths in the UK and there are additional circumstances in my situation because: –
- I meet the government’s definition of clinically extremely vulnerable.
- I live with someone who meets the government’s definition of clinically extremely vulnerable.
- I am clinically vulnerable and proposed measures will not be sufficient to reduce the risk of my exposure to Covid19 to an acceptable level.
- I live with someone who is clinically vulnerable and proposed measures will not be sufficient to reduce the risk of my exposure to Covid19 to an acceptable level.
- I am Black (referred to by government as BAME) and it is well documented that the risk to me if I contract Covid19 is more serious. Measures proposed will not be sufficient to reduce the risk of my exposure to Covid19 to an acceptable level.
- I live with someone who is Black (referred to by government as BAME) and it is well documented that the risk to that person if they contract Covid19 is more serious. Measures proposed will not be sufficient to reduce the risk of my exposure to Covid19 to an acceptable level.
4. I believe that, if I were to attend work, the danger would be imminent because
- I don’t believe that your plans for 1 June comply in full with the joint union checklist – available here for primary schools and here for special schools. [delete checklist as appropriate]
- In particular, the following measures have not been implemented or adequately implemented:
[add here the specific elements where the school has not complied with the checklist and what your specific concerns are]
In addition: –
- My journey to work involves using public transport, where I would be in very close proximity to many other people, some of whom may be infected and or carrying the virus.
- My risk of exposure to Covid19 cannot be reduced to an acceptable level.
5. I will be happy to return to the workplace when confirmed that it is safe to do so, for example if the following measures have been put into place:
- The joint unions’ tests have been met nationally and locally.
- The joint union checklist (linked to above) has been complied with in full and all measures put in place.
In the meantime, I am of course willing to carry out any of my duties, or other alternative duties at my current grade, that can reasonably be undertaken from my home.
Cc Barnet UNISON email@example.com
28 May 2020.
Please read the latest guidance provided by UNISON
This guidance covers:
1 Clinically extremely vulnerable employees (people at high risk)
2 Clinically vulnerable employees (people at moderate risk)
3 Employees living with / caring for the vulnerable or extremely vulnerable
4 Black employees
5 Older employees (over 60)
6 Employees who have childcare responsibilities
7 Employees who are feeling anxious about returning to work
8 Template letter to head teacher
Click on the link to read the guidance
If you need any help with this advice please contact the branch office at firstname.lastname@example.org
Joint Trade Union Zoom meeting
“Employment Rights in the COVID workplace.”
Wednesday 3 June at 6pm
Guest Speaker Lord John Hendy QC
Meeting ID: 859 7354 9465
Barnet UNISON schools zoom meeting
Friday May 29, 2020 11:00 AM London
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 879 4006 5427
This list is accurate as of Monday 1 June 2020.
- All Saints N20,
- All Saints NW2
- AP Barnet Oakhill
- Ashmole Academy (Primary and Secondary).
- Beit Shvidler
- Bell Lane,
- Blessed Dominic,
- Broadfields Primary
- Brunswick Park
- Chalgrove Primary
- Childs Hill
- Christ Church Primary
- Christ College Finchley,
- Coppetts Wood,
- Cromer Road,
- Dollis Primary,
- Elliot Foundation,
- Foulds School,
- Frith Manor Primary
- Garden Suburb Junior
- Goldbeaters and Orion
- Holly Trinity
- Independent Jewish Day School
- Livingstone School,
- Martin Primary
- Monken Hadley
- Moss Hall Federation
- Moss Hall Nursery,
- Noam Primary
- Oaklodge Special School,
- Oakleigh Special School
- Our Lady of Lourdes
- Pardes House
- QE Girls
- Rosh Pinah
- Sacks Morasha
- Sacred Heart Primary,
- Squires Lane Learning Federation (Tudor and Manorside).
- St Agnes,
- St Andrews CE
- St Catherines,
- St Johns N11
- St Johns N20
- St Josephs
- St Marys N£
- St Marys NW3
- St Pauls N11,
- St Pauls NW7
- St Theresa
- St Vincents
- Summerside REACH Academy,
- The Annunciation
- The Pavilion
- Totteridge Academy
- Trent Primary,
- Wessex Gardens
- Woodcroft Primary
- Woodridge Primary.
your school in not on this list but you have seen a Risk Assessment for your school, please contact Barnet UNISON on email@example.com
Thursday 28 May, 6pm
Meeting ID: 876 6509 8014