Ensuring a Safe & Healthy Workplace
As a union which represents workers in call centres, exchanges, depots and offices, as well as workers who drive and those who work outdoors, the CWU is very conscious of safety. The CWU can and does make sure that your working conditions are as safe and as healthy as possible. As a worker in the communications industry you could potentially face all sorts of hazards such as working with electricity, machinery and the danger of road accidents. Some of our members also have to contend with human hazards including robbery and crime, verbal abuse, sexual harassment and physical violence.
There are two main pieces of legislation covering workplace safety, namely the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 and the Safety Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007.
Speaking out about Health & Safety without Fear
If you are trying to resolve a safety dispute in the workplace, or are reporting concerns to the Health & Safety Authority, using proper procedures and keeping good records will strengthen your case.
- Ensure the union and the membership know what is happening and why. Get safety on the agenda of union meetings.
- Make sure you have informed the safety rep and your union, the union can help you and the safety rep to communicate your concerns to the employer and the enforcement agency.
- Put any communication you might want to rely on in writing and copy to the Safety Committee.
- Ask the employer or enforcement authority to put their position in writing.
- Keep your paperwork in good order, dated and easy to access.
- Check minutes of meetings and ensure mistakes are corrected.
- Negotiate a workplace policy on health and safety concerns and ensure it includes fair whistleblowing procedures (including the role of the union)
Visit the ICTU Health & Safety website here
The management of your company have a great responsibility to make sure that you and your work colleagues are aware of the precautions you must lake to minimise the risk of accidents or violence occurring. Under Health & Safety Legislation employers duties include:
- Preventing improper conduct or behaviour (violence, bullying or horseplay)
- The design, provision and maintenance of safe workplaces, safe means of access to and egress from the workplace, and safe plant and machinery
- Preventing risks from the use of any substances or articles, or from exposure to physical agents, noise, vibration and ionising, or other radiations
- Providing safe systems of work
- Providing adequate welfare facilities
- Provision of adequate instruction, training and supervision regarding safety and health to employees
- Preparing risk assessments and safety statements
- Provision and maintenance of suitable personal protective equipment
As an employee you also have responsibilities as follows:
- Comply with Health & Safety legislation
- Protect your own safety, health and welfare, and that of any other person who may be affected by your acts or omissions
- Not to be under the influence of any intoxicant to the extent that you could be a danger to themselves or others while at work
- Cooperate with your employer on safety, health and welfare at work
- Not engage in any improper conduct which could endanger your safety or health, or that of anyone else
- Participate in safety and health training offered by your employer
- Correctly use any article or substance and personal protective equipment provided for use at work or for your protection
The 2005 Health, Safety and Welfare at Work Act provides for the selection of Safety Representatives. The role of the Safety Rep entails consulting with and making representations to employers on safety, health and welfare issues in the workplace. Once representations are made the employer must consider these representations and act on them if necessary.
Section 25 of the 2005 Act entitles employees to decide on, select and appoint Safety Reps, or by agreement with their employer, more than one Safety Representative.
GENERAL HEALTH & SAFETY GUIDES
Guide to Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act (2005)
Guide to Health & Safety Regulations (General Applications) 2007
Guide to Health & Safety Regulations (In the Workplace)
Guide to Health & Safety Regulations (VDU Equipment)
Guide to Health & Safety Regulations (Pregnant Workers)
Guide to Health & Safety Regulations (Working at Height)
Guide to First Aid in the Workplace
Guide to Workplace Transport Safety
Practical Steps for Driving in Bad Weather
Top 10 Tips for Road Users in Wet, Flood and Windy Conditions
Personal Protective Equipment
ICTU Using Workplace and Body Mapping Tools
ICTU Body Map
AN POST HEALTH & SAFETY POLICIES
Adverse Weather Policy
Animal Attack Policy
Dignity at Work Policy
Lone Working Policy
No Smoking Policy
Staff Safety Booklet - C&D
Staff Safety Booklet - Retail