Barnet UNISON is supporting World Mental Health Day 10 October

Barnet UNISON is supporting World Mental Health Day 10 October

As the song goes: “Everybody hurts sometimes”

 

In a number of our services stress and mental health issues account for the leading reasons for sickness absence. These are often services where our members have roles looking after the wellbeing of residents they serve so it can be difficult admitting you’re not coping when you are supposed to be the “strong one”. Please view this link where our own Branch Secretary, John Burgess, gives a personal account of his own experience.

Fire Safety at Barnet House Update 3

New developments

On Thursday 13 September 2018, a Barnet UNISON rep accompanied the Fire Alarm engineer on a comprehensive test of the Alarm points. Barnet UNISON has consistently requested that every single Alarm point be tested since 16 August 2018.

We can report that every Alarm point successfully set off the alarm.

One of the big issues has been the delay time from pressing the Alarm which can be as high as 10 seconds.

It has come to light that this is because the Alarm system works on radio waves. Barnet UNISON view is that there should be no delays once the button is pressed which is why Barnet UNISON want the Fire Alarm system to be hard wired in order to ensure the alarm sounds immediately.

We can report the following actions agreed with Barnet Council and Barnet UNISON:

  1. The London Fire Brigade (LFB) will be invited in to conduct a risk assessment of their own to provide additional assurance. ACTION: by agreed deadline with LFB.
  2. August 18 Fire Risk Assessment Review to be assessed to ensure validity and that actions are in-hand. ACTION: by 22 Sep 18.
  3. Timings for fire alarm technical testing are to be shared with UNISON.
  4. Timings for replacing the 2nd floor call point are to be shared with UNISON as soon as possible close of play 18 Sep 2018.
  5. Second floor call points are to be functionally tested by physically activating, with UNISON in attendance. Completed.
  6. Lift repaired. Complete.
  7. Fire evacuation procedures will be reviewed in collaboration with UNISON: Action: by 1 Oct 18.
  8. Fire Safety Training will be conducted to brief staff on:
  • How the fire alarm system is operated and how it works
  • How the system is tested, including call points and tamper alarms
  • Fire evacuation procedures. ACTION: by 20 Oct 18.

9. Barnet House fire drill is to be conducted once evacuation procedures have been reviewed and additional training conducted. ACTION: by 1 Nov 18.

Please keep a look out for eNEWS and the Barnet UNISON website for details of any further developments here http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/

 

 

 

Incident on the 2nd floor Barnet House

ATTENTION all Barnet UNISON members.

You are probably aware of the incident that occurred on 2nd floor reception on Wednesday 15 August 2018.

If you have anything that you feel you would like to report or discuss in confidence, please come to the UNISON office and speak to our Branch Health & Safety Officer Hugh Jordan Hugh.jordan@barnetunison.org.uk

Barnet UNISON are working with Barnet Group H&S, chiefly Ben Wildman along with Capita H&S and Facilities  to address any failures which may have led to, or exacerbated the incident.

Barnet Homes have put counselling in place for staff who witnessed the incident, but ANY staff who feel they would like to talk to someone, please do not hesitate to contact the UNISON office on the first floor.

The Health & Safety of UNISON members at work is our top priority.

Meanwhile back in the real world #2 : “Taxing the sick update 2”

Barnet Council are in a serious financial crisis and are in talks with Capita as to how many services will have to be come back in-house. Staff are already worried with having to cope with more work and less resources without the added stress that the Council may start making mass redundancies in a bid to make more cuts.

It is therefore deeply troubling that the Council have announced that they want to consult on a proposal to deduct pay from staff off sick from work.

From the brief consultation we have had so far it is already very clear that the sickness levels are high with staff with serious illnesses such as cancer, strokes etc. hence we are calling the proposal “Taxing the sick”.

In September 2018 we are going to be consulting with our members on this proposal.

There will be opportunities to discuss the proposal with local reps at a number of Barnet UNISON meetings in September.

Barnet House

  • Wednesday 5 September, 12 noon, Committee room 2
  • Wednesday 12 September, 12.30 pm, Committee room 1
  • Friday 21 September, 12.30 pm, Committee room 1
  • Thursday 27 September, 12.30 pm, Committee room 2

NLBP

  • Thursday 6 September, 12.30 pm, Building 4, Central room
  • Friday 14 September, 1 pm, Building 4, Central room
  • Thursday 20 September, 12.30 pm, Building 2, G2 room
  • Tuesday 25 September, 1 pm, Building 4, Central room

However, if you need some advice or a meeting with a Barnet UNISON rep please contact the office on 0208 359 2088 or email contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

Barnet Homes Fire doors not up to standard

 

Below is an extract from the Housing Committee Thursday the  21st of June, 2018

http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/documents/g9486/Public%20reports%20pack%2021st-Jun-2018%2019.00%20Housing%20Committee.pdf?T=10

 

Appendix 1

Fire safety and the Council’s response to the Grenfell Tower fire disaster

 

Further developments – Manse Masterdoor

23.On the 15th March 2018, the Government released a statement regarding potential
issues identified with door-sets produced by the company Manse Masterdoor.
Further testing of these doors was undertaken and an updated statement made on
the 16th May 2018. An excerpt of this statement is as follows:

“The expert panel has concluded there is a performance issue with these Manse
Masterdoor fire doors, which do not consistently meet the 30-minute fire resistance standard. Nevertheless, the National Fire Chiefs Council has advised the expert panel the risk to public safety remains low”

24.The full statement can be viewed at;
http://www.gov.uk/government/news/update-on-fire-doors-investigation-risk-topublic-safety-remains-low.
The statement also confirmed that the MHCLG is
writing to affected customers. The affected doors were supplied between 2013
and 2014.

25.There is a total of 1,183 of these doors on Barnet Homes properties. All affected
residents have been written to confirming the steps are being taken to replace the
door-sets, whilst also confirming the Governments advice that the risk posed
remains low.

26.In addition, Barnet Homes has arranged for the fire risk assessments to blocks
containing these doors be updated in light of this matter. This will be completed by
29th June 2018. These fire risk assessments will form the basis for prioritising the
door replacement programme.

27.The estimated costs for replacing these doors is in the region of £1.5m, however Barnet Homes are engaged in positive discussions with the contracted party that
installed the doors in order to mitigate any cost implications to the Council


 

Worryingly, the same document details a fire at a block of 20 flats in Graham Park Estate.

 


18.In early April 2018, a serious fire occurred at a small block on the Grahame Park
Estate. Although nobody was hurt, the whole block of 20 flats is now uninhabitable,
and residents have been provided with alternative accommodation. Following this
fire, Barnet Homes instructed an intrusive survey of the communal areas of the
block which highlighted the need for some improvements to the fire separation
measures within areas not generally accessible through the Fire Risk Assessment
process, such as within enclosed riser ducts and suspended ceiling void spaces.
Surveys were undertaken to blocks of a similar construction on the same estate,
which highlighted the need for similar improvements. Arrangements have been
made to implement works to address these matters.

19.Whilst the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 focuses on communal
areas, Barnet Homes have piloted some surveys which go over and above these
requirements and include areas within dwellings. Within some properties areas for
further improvements have been identified of a similar nature to that of the highrise
properties.

20.It is therefore recommended that Barnet Homes extend its programme of fire safety works to include all blocks of flats.

This would include;

 Surveying of sample properties internally as part of an extended fire risk
assessment programme

 The installation of enhanced fire detection and alarm systems within all
tenanted flats.

 That measures identified as part of the extended fire risk assessment surveys
are undertaken through a programme of works to be developed as the surveys
progress.

21.Until the surveys have been undertaken to all blocks it is difficult to accurately
estimate the cost of undertaking the arising works. The next fire safety update to
the Housing Committee will include more a detailed and costed programme along
with proposals for funding these works.

22.Barnet Homes will make use of existing capital budgets to address any urgent
works identified that need to be dealt with prior to the October 2018 Housing
Committee up to a value of £200,000.