The Health and Safety Executive state that
there is no specific definition of shift work
in law, but it usually means a work activity
scheduled outside standard daytime hours, where
there may be a handover of duty from one individual
or work group to another or a pattern of work
where one employee replaces another on the same
job within a 24-hour period.
Standard daytime hours are considered as a
work schedule involving an activity during the
day, commonly for a period of eight hours between
7.00 am and 7.00 pm. There are usually two periods
of work, one in the morning, the other in the
afternoon, separated by a lunch-time break.
All systems of work other than standard daytime
hours are considered as shift work.
The 2012 UNISON AGM instructed the Branch to
negotiate with CEC to introduce optional free
full medical assessments for rotational shift
and night staff. The Branch has started looking
at this issue. While the motion is a good one
it doesn't go far enough. Health and Safety
issues should always be tackled using a risk
assessment based approach. What this means is
that we should be looking to remove or minimise
dangerous parts of the work rather than accepting
them and dealing with the consequences.
Relying purely on the medical assessments is
reactive as it will identify workers whose health
has already been damaged. The Branch have asked
the Council to produce guidance on Shift Working
and is getting details from Stewards Committees
about jobs which involve Shift Working.
Once we have sufficient information we will
provide further guidance for members who work
outwith standard daytime hours.