07 March 2006

Health and Safety issues

Integrating Health and Safety responsibilities into the organisation can cause conflicting demands on staff.

Recently the Divisions have been asked to nominate Health and Safety representatives and deputies for each workgroup (usually a building but sometimes more than one each for large buildings or buildings where there are several ‘unconnected’ workgroups). In the case of the Technical Services Unit, one representative and one deputy have been nominated. Health and Safety training has now commenced for these people, to take up four days of their time during our busiest time.

While Health and Safety is a vitally important part of our responsibilities, using existing staff to fill these positions reduces their availability to carry out their usual work, and if past experience is anything to go by the representatives and deputies will find they have new work responsibilities that are not covered by their Position Descriptions, and several managers to serve.

Position Descriptions for staff undertaking Health and Safety duties should be reviewed to ensure the Position Descriptions reflect accurately what is being asked of them, and communication between representatives and deputies and the Health and Safety Office needs to go through established managers to avoid staff experiencing conflicting allegiances.