Your Health and Safety Officer is Lorna McCourt


The Annual Hazards Conference is to be held at Keele University, with an online option for those who would rather not attend in person.

In 2022 we held our first hybrid conference and we are doing this again this year, building on our experience last year. 

2022 Conference Report:
A copy of last years report can be found at:

Booking Form for 2023 Conference: 
The link to download a copy of this:

Alternatively people can apply online using this link:

Sponsorship Form:
If your organisation would like to sponsor this years event please see:

If you would like more information about the conference then please email
or phone Janet on 07734 317158

Please accept my apologies for any cross posting,

best wishes
Janet Newsham 
On behalf of the Hazards Conference Organising Committee


Does back to work after COVID mean back to normal?
A woman with a face mask on in an office setting looking at a computer screen.

Now that lockdowns are over, and infection rates are falling, there's a glimmer of hope as restrictions are slowly being lifted in Wales. However, we shouldn't get too comfortable or complacent in the workplace and risk slipping back into the old normal.
You see, most workplaces were set up long before COVID19, and with the viruses unpredictability comes the need to adapt our way of working,  to ensure the new normal, is a safe normal.

UNISON has supported our members during the pandemic to ensure employers put measures in place to keep workers safe. We couldn't of done this without the eyes and ears on the ground, our dedicated UNISON safety reps.


Since September we've trained and supported 70 new workplace safety reps in Wales. They all had two things in common: they were UNISON members and they wanted to be a part of improving workplace safety. None of them were experts.

Have you ever wondered how you could keep yourself and your colleagues safe?


If you have then you're in luck, we are running a webinar looking at the role health and safety reps play in improving practices and protection for workers. Alongside this another topic we will cover is the principles of COVID19 health and safety risk assessments and their importance in the workplace.

We'd love for you to join us on Tuesday 25th May 2021 at 12:30pm for our short webinar session.

Sign up for the webinar here
The webinar will be around 30 minutes and you can join online from any device that has an internet connection and will be a great introduction into how you can play a vital role in the workplace.

See you soon and stay safe, 

UNISON Cymru Wales Team
Living with long COVID: 'It's frightening'

Long COVID is having a devastating effect on the lives of many UNISON members. Assistant equality officer Haifa Rashed reports on how the union is responding.

Read more here
New guidance on RIDDOR

NHS Employers have published two flow charts to help employers identify when they should report COVID-19 under RIDDOR (Reporting Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013) based on the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) guidance. 

There is also advice on NHS E/I formal reporting in the event of the death of an NHS worker. Branches should check employers are aware and continue to encourage members to report incidents of COVID-19 exposure.

RIDDOR and HSE apply across the UK, so the NHS Employers flow charts will be of relevance and interest to all the devolved administrations.

NHS Employers COVID-19 sickness absence advice
HSE RIDDOR reporting of COVID-19
Faces of nurses in masks
NEC: Your safety at work is our priority

UNISON’s number one priority is to speak up for the safety of members who are still working to support communities through the COVID-19 pandemic, general secretary Christina McAnea told an online meeting of the union’s national executive council (NEC).

In her first report to the NEC since being elected, Ms McAnea said that, in addition to recognised frontline workers, there were many “forgotten essential workers" who support the public every day while at risk themselves.

The meeting also agreed to move all the union's conferences online as the ongoing chaos of COVID-19 means it is impossible to commit to the usual schedule.


Read more
UNISON's summer 2021 conferences go online

30-minute taster session on health and safety

We are now 10 months into the COVID-19 pandemic and the world of work has changed a lot in this time.  

Thankfully, an end is in sight, but the way we value safety at work has changed forever.

UNISON has been at the forefront of negotiations with employers and Welsh Government about keeping our vital public sector workers safe. No one understands these workplaces better than the people who work in them, which is why UNISON set about training hundreds of new health and safety reps across Wales throughout the pandemic.


We switched to delivering our training online and had a huge take up. Our first course of 2021 was oversubscribed, but luckily, we have more in the pipeline.

We are running a 30-minute taster session on health and safety on Thursday February 4th at 12:30 - 1pm. 

Our organisers will explain more about 
the role and bust a few myths about health and safety reps. 

Are you interested in attending to find out more?




Yes I'm interested

Safety reps are the eyes and ears on the ground, helping to raise and resolve issues at the source.  We provide the training, the resources, the support network, and time off (under law) to train.

We need more people like you Gareth to keep our workplaces in Wales safe – now, and when COVID is over.

So, wherever you work, and whatever you do, we want to support you and your colleagues to be on the safe side.


Can't make the taster session but want to know more?



Find out more



Newsletter for UNISON branches on recruiting Safety Reps and organising around COVID-19 (to print a copy, view in browser by clicking here.)

List of contents

What is the role of Safety Reps?
How can Safety Reps help make workplaces COVID-Safe?
What is a risk assessment?

The risks for black and other vulnerable workers?
How can I become a Safety Rep?
Where can our reps get training?

The role of UNISON Safety Reps has never been more important than it is today. The pandemic has highlighted the failures of employers and the government. These include
  • The failure to provide personal protective equipment (PPE);
  • Failings in the management of residential care homes;
  • The ill thought out rush both to prematurely increase pupil numbers in schools in England and Wales, and to re-open some workplaces in England
These have all put the crucial importance of Safety Reps in even greater focus. In some cases, they are saving lives.

UNISON's campaigning and the information and resources it has produced during this COVID-19 pandemic (see below) has enabled it to increase its membership at a faster rate, than at any time in its 27 year history. However this success has meant it is more important than ever for UNISON to recruit additional Safety Reps. Every workplace where we don't have a Safety Rep is putting the safety of our members at risk. It is Safety Reps that keep our members safe by holding employers to account, and ensuring the voice of members is heard.

This newsletter explains what Safety Reps do and the material and training UNISON has produced to support them.
Latest news and advice on COVID-19 
How to work safely: Guidance for UNISON members as more workplaces open and more staff return to their workplaces
What is the role of Safety Reps?
Safety Reps have certain legal rights which can really help them make a difference for their members. Safety Reps have unique powers in the battle to keep our members safe. These includes the right to represent members on anything affecting their safety, carry out workplace inspections, and to time off to perform their role. 
To find out more about the role of Safety Reps read our UNISON Guide
How can Safety Reps help make workplaces COVID-Safe?
It is the employer's duty to keep their workers safe, and safety reps have a vital role in holding employers to account. Employers have a legal duty to consult with safety reps on anything affecting their members' safety so reps should be asking employers to see their risk assessment, if they haven't seen them already. Safety Reps also have the right to conduct their own workplace inspections, and in some cases employers and UNISON Safety Reps have worked in partnership to carry out joint inspections and risk assessments.

UNISON has produced a detailed guide for Safety Reps in workplace inspections. It has also produced a wealth of material for members & activists on COVID-19 risk assessments and making your workplace COVID-Safe.
Health and Safety Inspections at Work. A guide for UNISON safety reps
Bargaining guides including information on making workplaces COVID-Safe 
Covid-19 Pandemic: Return to Work Legal Advice for Branches.

What is a risk assessment?
The key to employers keeping our members safe is a process called risk assessment, which establishes the measures necessary for staff protection..

More information on the basic principles of risk assessment go to UNISON's Health & Safety Knowledge Base web pages. UNISON has also produced a more detailed guide specifically aimed at Safety Reps
Health and safety knowledge: Risk assessment
Risk assessment. A guide for UNISON safety reps
The risks for Black and other vulnerable workers?
Black men are nearly 3.9 times, and Black women 3.3 times, more likely to die from COVID-19 than their White colleagues. There are also increased risks for older workers and those with underlying health conditions. UNISON has developed guidance to ensure that your employers include these considerations in their risk assessments.
Risk assessments for Black, disabled and other vulnerable workers COVID-19: Guidance for UNISON branches

How can I become Safety Rep?
It is the job of UNISON, not your employer, to decide who should represent their members, so if you want to be a Safety Rep please contact your branch.  If you want to find out more about the role and see whether it is for you, you may wish to attend one of a number of online webinars.
The first webinar is to take place on 7 July. Save the date and watch this space for more details. 
Where can our reps get training?
Below is a list of online training courses provided by UNISON Learning & Organising Services (LAOS) to help you keep your members safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Title Contents include
Basic Health and Safety Principles and the Corona Virus) -Key legal functions of H&S rep
-Understanding employer’s legal obligations.
-5 stages of risk assessment
-Eliminate and mitigate risk of harm

Covid-19 What Employers Must Do (General) -Risk Assessment
-Evaluating risk and implementing measures
-Social distancing
-Personal protective equipment (PPE)

Covid-19 Working in Social Care. What your Employer Must Do -All from above previous resource but also focussing on:
-PPE Issues
At Work Risk Assessment

(Produced by UNISON H&S Unit)
-Principles of Risk Assessment
-Areas to risk assess
-Hierarchy of control
-Risk: Evaluating, Eliminating and controlling
 Returning to Work Safely -Using key H&S reps rights to hold employer to account
-Employer legal duties inc
luding Risk Assessment
Becoming a UNISON H&S rep – an Introduction -Confronting doubts, building confidence
-What IS the role?
-Legal rights
-Some of your questions answered

To find out more how to access Safety Rep  courses and to find out more about training available from LAOS website go its' website

Our members have worked so hard to battle the virus, protect our communities and maintain the lockdown. Now they need the government to work just as hard to ensure that any relaxation of the lockdown – whenever it comes in different parts of the UK – is safe for all workers. That is UNISON’s bottom line.

 Posted in 

Porters, care workers, security staff and parking wardens are at greater risk of physical and verbal attack, injury or illness, because they work alone for long periods, says UNISON today (Tuesday) as it launches the first union gig economy safety guide. The union warns that staff cuts, the growth of zero-hours contracts and an increase in the […]

UNISON is working with TB Alert to let members know that latent TB can be diagnosed and treated before it wakes up

Posted in

UNISON health and safety seminar hears 66% of lone workers have faced violence and aggression

HEALTH & SAFETY: Coming this month – European Health and Safety week, 22 to 27 October 
UNISON takes your health and safety seriously and we think European Health and Safety Week is a great opportunity to highlight the fantastic work our safety reps do every day.

So we are asking our reps and branches to use European health and safety week to shine a spotlight on this vital work to keep staff and the public safe, promote better health and safety and highlight the role of the union and our safety reps in achieving this.
Find out more on our dedicated campaign page
UNISON's guide on hazardous substances at work
UNISON guide to carrying out risk assessments

Find out how we got to where we are with health and safety regulation

Working in mental health: the problems in five charts

We look at the data

It’s world mental health day this Tuesday (10 October) so to mark the occasion we’re looking at some data that shows what’s happening to mental health patients, through the eyes of mental health workers (we are a union, after all).

In September, UNISON sent out a survey to people who work in mental health, and over a thousand people filled it in.

One of the most telling things mental health staff said was that they felt there was an unsafe ratio of staff to service users.

They also said that service users were increasingly reaching crisis point before they could access services; almost 7 in ten respondents thought that was the case.

The survey found that the under-funding of mental health services is having a big impact on how well mental health staff feel they are able to do their jobs.

Many mental health staff have had to do unpaid overtime, of the ones that have, 6 out of 10 people said an increased workload is one of the causes, and 5 out of 10 said shortage of staff was a reason.

When asked directly if the funding crisis impacted on the care they were able to provide, six out of 10 said yes.

Our research found that patients are not the only ones being affected by the shortage of funds for mental health, it is also having an impact on the staff.

Four out of 10 mental health staff have been victims of violence or aggression in the last year.

The BBC’s 5 live also looked into violence against mental health staff, and found that the number of reported violent incidences has gone up by more than a quarter since 2012/13.

That’s why UNISON is campaigning for fair funding for mental health. Staff must be able to deliver quality services to people who need it, and carry out their jobs in an environment that looks after their own mental and physical health too.

Find out about our mental health campaign, Mental Health Matters

Read the full report

Health and safety

UNISON believes health and safety in the workplace is an issue for everyone. Every year, thousands of people suffer accidents and ill-health at work – most of which could be avoided.


Each year on or near 28 April 28, UNISON joins people around the world to celebrate International Workers’ Memorial Day.

Union survey of 10,000 members shows that stress is harming staff and services – but employers rarely talk about it


Thanks to the work of UNISON’s health and safety reps, public sector employees are less likely to suffer injury in the workplace. Tens of thousands of UK workers die every year because of their work and many more are injured. But thanks to the efforts of more than 6,000 safety reps and branch officers, UNISON members are safer.

Behavioural safety A new workplace hazard to risk assess

A guide for UNISON safety reps

Behavioural Safety.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [167.7 KB]