Health and Safety Welfare Survey

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Protecting the Health, Safety & Welfare of Supervisory, Clerical and Other Salaried Grades Survey 2012 Summary

The majority of respondents were from Train Operating Companies with 70% being male. Jobs ranged from Booking Office clerk, to Office Manager to Station Retailer and most were in the 40s-50s age range.

Workplace Hazards

Members were asked to indicate the hazards they are concerned about in their workplace and were given a list of 22 to choose from. Stress scored quite highly with 88% of respondents indicating it was a workplace issue. Other common hazards were:

· Working alone

· Display screen equipment

· Bullying & harassment

· Violence & threats

· Slips, trips and falls

· Back strains

Some less common, with about 30% of respondents indicating them were:

· Noise

· Low temperatures

· Handling heavy loads

· Dusts

· Long hours of work

They were then asked to rank their top five workplace hazards in order of concern. Again, stress scored an overwhelming majority. The five in order were:

· Stress

· Violence & threats

· Working alone

· Display screen equipment, back strains and bullying & harassment joint 4th place

· RSI

Workplace Violence

Members were asked if they had experienced any injuries, threats or verbal abuse during working time with 54% saying they had suffered verbal abuse. Of all the people who reported the verbal abuse to their employer more than half (57%) were not offered any kind of support. One respondent commented that her employer just gives you a four page assault form to fill in but no support. This kind of response will probably deter members from reporting instances of abuse/verbal assault.

It is vital that all incidents are reported to the employer and an incident report filled out. This is the only way of obtaining true figures on assaults and abuse. It is also imperative that members do not accept verbal assault as ‘part of the job’.

When asked if their employer had a Workplace Violence Policy, 35% didn’t know. Every frontline member of staff should be aware of any policies, procedures or training that deal with conflict and workplace violence. That one third of staff are unaware of whether their employer has such policies is quite worrying.

Stress

Work-related stress is defined as a harmful reaction people have to undue pressures and demands place on them at work.

The latest estimates from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) show:

· The total number of cases of stress in 2010/11 was 400,000 out of a total of
1,152,000 for all work-related illnesses. This is significantly lower than the number in 2001/02.

· The number of new cases of work-related stress has reduced to 211,000 from
233,000 in 2009/10 (change not statistically significant).

· The occupations that reported the highest rates of work-related stress in the last three years were health and social service managers, teachers and social welfare associate professionals.

In terms of working days lost due to work-related stress for people working in the last 12 months, in 2010/11:

· Work-related stress caused workers in Great Britain to lose 10.8 million working days in 2010/11. This represents a drop in working days lost since 2001/01 from 12.9 million days.

· Male workers took an estimated 4.9 million days off work.

· Female workers took an estimated 5.9 million days off work.

· On average each person suffering from this condition took 27 days off work.

Our survey showed that a massive 85% of respondents said that they had suffered stress in the workplace but only 38% had actually taken any time off work owing to stress. When asked whether their employer had a stress policy in the workplace, almost half (46%) said they didn’t know. A further 31% said there was no such policy with only 23% answering yes.

Members were asked if their employer carried out stress risk assessments. Only 1 person responded with yes while 42% replied with no and further 54 % didn’t know.

When asked if staff were give information on workplace stress, the majority of staff (62%) said that they were not with 23% responding that they didn’t know. Only 15% replied yes.

The survey asked whether or not confidential counselling services were offered to staff and 65% answered yes.

Musculoskeletal Disorders/Work Related Upper Limb Disorders

The term MSD covers any injury, damage or disorder of the joints or other tissues in the upper/lower limbs or the back. Manual handling injuries mostly affect the back, but can also cause severe problems to the limbs, muscles, tendons and the heart and because these injuries tend to take longer to heal they have a more profound effect on longer term health.

Key messages about MSDs are:

· you can do things to prevent or minimise MSDs

· the prevention measures are cost effective

· you cannot prevent all MSDs, so early reporting of symptoms, proper treatment and suitable rehabilitation is essential.

Risk factors causing MSDs can be found in virtually every workplace from commerce to agriculture, health services to construction. An estimated 11.6 million working days a year are lost to work-related MSDs.

The term Upper Llimb Disorders (ULDs) includes the condition known as "repetitive strain injury" (RSI), these two terms are not interchangeable because RSI does not cover all upper limb disorders. ULD is used as an umbrella term for a range of disorders of the hand, wrist, arm, shoulder and neck. It covers those conditions, with specific medical diagnoses (e.g. frozen shoulder, carpal tunnel syndrome), and other conditions (often called RSI) where there is pain without specific symptoms. Symptoms may include pain, swelling and difficulty moving.

ULD cases caused by work can also mean production losses and compensation claims for employers.

Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) This is usually an upper limb disorder caused by doing the same task (typing, twisting, bending etc) over and over again. It can be more damaging where a load is involved in the task.

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) figures for 2003/04 show 448,000 British workers suffered from Musculo-skeletal Disorders (MSDs, which include RSI conditions), an increase of 52,000 from cases of Musculo-skeletal Disorders from 2001/02. It is estimated that 4.7 million working days in Great Britain were lost due to RSI conditions in 2003/04. Informal surveys indicate that 1 in 3 computer users may have the early symptoms of RSI conditions.

Just under a quarter (23%) of respondents had suffered from an MSD/WRULD and out of those only 50% had taken time off work because of it.

Around 2/3 (69%) of respondents were VDU operators and only just over half (56%) of those VDU operators had actually had an ergonomic assessments carried out on their work station. Just over 1/3 (38%) of those people who did not have an ergonomic assessment also reported upper limb disorders for which they had taken time off work. This lack of care for people injured at work or who have an injury exacerbated by work shows exactly why there is a need for robust Occupational Health Services.

Just under half (42%) of the respondents said that they had an impairment or disability that was either caused by or made worse by their work.

When asked if they got enough sleep, just under half (42%) of respondents answered no. The majority (64%) of respondents attributed this to shift work or work life balance issues.