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Health and Safety

Shift Working

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.

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Website designed and maintained by John Stevenson (Communications Officer)
UNISON City of Edinburgh Local Government & Related Sectors Branch 1998-2008.
All original graphics copyright but may be used if credited in source code.

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