Category Archives: Guides

UK: New TUC guide will help health and safety reps keep both men and women safe at work

The TUC has  published a new guide for trade union representatives to help them take gender differences between men and women into account when identifying health and safety concerns at work.

Gender in occupational health and safety says that historically the health and safety needs of men in the workplace have been prioritised over women. Risk prevention has focused on visibly dangerous work – largely carried out by men – in industries like construction and mining, with an assumption that the kind of work that women do is safer.

However, the guidance argues that a gender-stereotyped or ‘one size fits all’ approach is now out-of-date. It has been issued in the run up to International Workers’ Memorial Day next week (Friday 28 April), the theme of which this year is ‘good health and safety for all workers – whoever they are’.

Where the differences between men and women are taken into account when assessing risk and deciding suitable risk control solutions, there is a greater chance of ensuring that the health, safety and welfare of all workers is protected, says the TUC.

The new guide outlines some of the main health and safety risks women can face at work:

  • Back pain: Women tend to suffer more from pain in the upper back and limbs as a result of repetitive work in both manufacturing and offices, while men tend to suffer more from lower-back pain from exerting high force at work.
  • Violence and harassment: Women tend to work in lower-paid and low-status jobs where bullying and harassment are more common, while men predominate in better-paid, higher status jobs and supervisory positions.
  • Not having the right tools: Women working in male professions like construction, engineering and the emergency services are at risk from inappropriately designed tools.

The handbook also provides a checklist for trade union representatives to help them pursue issues around gender at work – including questions about whether sex and gender differences are taken into account in manual handling risk assessments, and in assessments of postural problems including prolonged standing or sitting.

The findings should help union reps encourage employers to take action on the issues that will make a real difference to the health, safety and welfare of women in their workplaces.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “People come in all shapes and sizes and when it comes to health and safety, the ‘one size fits all’ approach is old-fashioned and dangerous. Nowhere is that clearer then when looking at gender.

“Pressing for healthy, safe workplaces for everyone is part and parcel of the union rep’s role, and the TUC’s new gender checklist will help reps to pursue issues around gender in the workplace, and make sure that all workers have the best possible protection from illness or injury.

“Safety studies show that workers are twice as likely to be seriously injured in a non-unionised workplace. I would urge any man or woman worried about their health and safety at work to join a union, to make sure that their concerns are heard and that their interests are protected.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors:
Gender in occupational health and safety is available at www.tuc.org.uk/sites/default/files/Gender%202017.docx
– Trade unions have been at the forefront of a number of campaigns to ensure that women’s health and safety at work is taken seriously, including:

  • Toilets for train drivers: ASLEF campaigned for the proper provision of toilets. Male drivers had endured poor provisions by coping with containers, this was plainly very difficult for female drivers. Station facilities for all staff were upgraded as a result.
  • Violence against women: USDAW has run the Freedom from Fear campaign for shop workers – who are predominantly women – since 2002, working with major retail employers, the police and politicians to make workplaces safer for all staff and customers.
  • Breastfeeding at work: Unite took up cases of cabin crew members who were new mothers whose employer’s rostering was not compatible with their need to breastfeed their babies. This case confirmed working women’s right to continue breastfeeding after returning to work and obligation on employers to accommodate this.

– International Workers’ Memorial Day serves as a reminder to workers across the globe that many of them are at daily risk of accidents, injury and illness at work. The event is an international annual day of remembrance and action for workers killed, disabled and injured by their work. For more information about the TUC’s involvement in the day please visit www.tuc.org.uk/workplace-issues/health-and-safety/workers-memorial-day

New global tools from ITUC

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The global union confederation ITUC has made new resources available online. A brochure for use around International Workers’ Memorial Day on 28 April is available in English, French and Spanish editions. The guide spells out the reasons behind the three pronged theme for this year’s global activities – strong laws, strong enforcement and strong unions.  ITUC has also produced a ‘Supply Chain Resources Hub’ to support action to clean up supply chains, including links to reports and “international policy decisions through to solidarity actions to support workers who are trying to organise for decent pay, conditions and job security.”

Ÿ 28 April 2016: Mobilising for strong laws, strong enforcement and strong unions, ITUC, English language edition.ITUC news release and supply chains resource hub.

 

Trabajo tóxico: La CSI publica informe para el 28 de Abril

itucreportesLes presentamos un informe de la CSI que explica por qué los sindicatos debemos movilizarnos para proteger a los trabajadores y trabajadoras de las sustancias peligrosas, con datos y cifras claves.

Este documento ha sido preparado para apoyar los esfuerzos de movilización sindical para la Jornada Mundial de conmemoración de los trabajadores muertos y heridos, este 28 de Abril, que busca este año destacar la necesidad de eliminar la exposición a las sustancias peligrosas.

Trabajo tóxico: La CSI publica informe para el 28 de Abril • PDF

Travail toxique: la CSI publie un rapport pour le 28 avril

itucreportfrNous vous présentons une note de synthèse de la CSI qui introduit les raisons pour lesquelles le mouvement syndical doit se mobiliser pour protéger les travailleurs et travailleuses des substances dangereuses, avec des données et chiffres clés.

Ce rapport a été produit pour soutenir les efforts de mobilisation syndicale autour de la Journée Internationale de Commémoration des Travailleurs Décédés et Blessés, le 28 avril, que cette année met l’accent sur l’exposition aux substances dangereuses.

Travail toxique: la CSI publie un rapport pour le 28 avril • PDF

Toxic work: Stop deadly exposures today! – New 28 April guide from ITUC

itucreportenAn ITUC Briefing explaining why trade unions must mobilise for protecting workers from hazardous substances, with key facts and figures.

This Briefing has been prepared to support trade unions’ mobilisation for the International Day of Commemoration of Dead and Injured Workers, on 28th April, which is focusing this year on the need for removing exposure to hazardous substances.

Toxic work: Stop deadly exposures today! • PDF