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17 January 2023

Your Health & Safety matters

For members in LBG | January 2023

Welcome to the January edition of 'Your Health & Safety matters' - aimed at keeping members in LBG up to date with issues impacting their health, safety, and wellbeing at work.

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The community banks' leadership teams took the sensible decision to leave perspex screens in place over the winter, with their removal being scheduled from 1st April 2023.

With the NHS under strain from the increasing number of flu and COVID cases requiring hospitalisation, we think it’s the right time to review things.

We’ve asked for a meeting to discuss the removal of screens, the continued provision of hand sanitiser, masks and LFTs and for an update on how LBG’s plans for living with COVID are working.

More info will follow. In the meantime, if you have any COVID related concerns that you’d like us to address with your employer, please email [email protected]

Heating problems

Over the past month, particularly since the cold spell of weather, we’ve had an increase in the number of members contacting us about heating not working in their workplace. Most of these have been from branches, where some colleagues have had to resort to wearing hats, gloves and overcoats to keep warm.

While there is no minimum legal temperature for a workplace, the relevant legislation (the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992) simply states that the temperature in all indoor workplaces must be reasonable during working hours. However, the Health and Safety Executive’s Approved code of Practice and guidance on those regulations says that the temperature in an indoor workplace should both provide reasonable comfort without the need for special clothing and should normally be at least 16 degrees. We interpret that to mean that LBG colleagues shouldn’t need to have to wear their coats, hats and gloves when working in a branch or office. 

If the temperature dips below 16 degrees in your workplace, then we recommend you speak immediately to your line manager to get some temporary heating put in or, if that’s not possible, consider additional measures to make the workplace more comfortable. As a last resort, the workplace may need to be closed until the temperature is reasonable. SBMs, in consultation with the Area Director, have the authority to close a branch in such circumstances. 

If you’re having heating problems that aren’t being resolved, please get in touch with the officer who covers your workplace. You can find contact details for your local Accord officer here.

Workplace inspections

Mitie carry out regular inspections of all LBG workplaces, at least every 6 months. Lloyds Banking Group actively encourages engagement with Accord health and safety reps on these visits as they provide a great opportunity to prevent accidents before they happen. 

The visits involve walking around premises to look for any hazards that may be present, a review of safety measures (e.g., the annual fire safety inspection), checks on first aid equipment, access routes, external issues etc. A report is then completed with actions to be carried out, prioritised by importance. You can access inspection reports for your workplace by visiting the Lloyds Banking Group Health and Safety portal.

Abusive customers

It’s a fact of life that people get frustrated and angry when they feel things are going against them. But when that turns into abusive and aggressive behaviour, including actual assaults, then that’s always unacceptable.  

Recently we’ve seen an increase in abuse and aggressive behaviour across all sectors and, more worryingly, physical assaults on colleagues. Telephony staff face daily verbal abuse and threats from aggressive customers too, which can have a serious impact on health.  

The bank and the unions see this as a top priority and we’re working together to stop this. Several things are currently being rolled out in branches:  bodycams (on a voluntary basis), security guards where needed, training for managers and colleagues etc.  

We’ll continue to work with the bank to put in whatever measures are needed to ensure your safety and to weed out the aggressive customers.   

New “Zero tolerance” signage is being piloted in the most impacted branches over the coming weeks to demonstrate expected customer behaviour. 

If you want to share your experience or tell us what more you think your employer should do to keep you safe from aggressive/abusive customers, send an email to [email protected]

We’re not alone in our concern for action over violence at work. The UNISON public services, Usdaw retail and NUJ journalists’ unions have called for action over unacceptable levels of work-related violence and abuse too.

Do you feel safe at work?

LBG has recently completed a survey of colleagues asking if they feel safe at work. 9% across the Group said they did not. 

Listening sessions will be set up in Q1 in the lowest scoring areas to understand the drivers that make colleagues feel unsafe, and how the bank can support them. If you want to be involved in these sessions, please send an email to [email protected] and we’ll request that you be included. 

Several measures are being put in place to improve the situation e.g., bodycams, security guards, account closures, involving external agencies (e.g., the Police). 

We’ll continue to monitor the results and remain involved in discussions to make working life as safe as possible for everyone. If you’ve got concerns about personal safety at work that you can’t resolve locally, get in touch by email to [email protected].

Fire safety at LBG sites – removal of Fire Marshal role

The Fire Marshal role has been removed with effect from 1st January 2023. 

We’re pleased to have been working closely with the business and have been involved in the pilots and consulted throughout. 

All colleagues should have received a message via workday on 1st January 2023 which included a link to a dedicated SharePoint page that will provide further detailed information. 

Here’s what will happen from 1st January 2023 when a Fire alarm sounds:

What action do you need to take?

To make sure the new procedure works, you’ll need to: 

If you have any concerns or queries, please get in touch by email to [email protected].

Accidents at work  

The business shares accident statistics with Accord monthly. It’s reassuring to see that the number of accidents (in all categories) has declined over the last 5 years – with a 30% reduction in the most serious accidents. 

But in 2022 there were still 386 colleagues who were injured at work – of those, 19 were RIDDOR reportable. We recognise, of course, that accidents happen but we’re committed to working with LBG’s Health & Safety Team to do all we can to get numbers down even further. 

By far the most accidents are those in the ‘slip, trip fall’ category.

Slips, trips & falls

Around one third of all reported injuries in UK workplaces are caused by slips trips and falls, making it by far the major accident type, according to figures released by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Likewise, in LBG workplaces, slips trips and falls are more than twice as common as any other accident type. While these accidents have reduced by over 50% since 2018, they are currently steady at over 200 per year, resulting in far too many colleagues being injured at work. 

The bank is ultimately responsible for the standard of its premises and must, by law, provide a safe workplace. It must make sure that any risks are removed (or minimised) and this includes anything that may be a slip, trip or fall hazard. Obvious ones are: 

And so on. 

Health and Safety inspections are carried out regularly in all workplaces to make sure risks are found but there is so much more that can be done to reduce the number of accidents and therefore injuries. Everyone has a role to play and there are actions we can all take to help with safety at work.  

So, what can we all do? 

Report it! 

If you have an accident at work (or a near miss) report it to your line manager as soon as you can. Reporting all incidents gives a much better picture of what hazards exist and may prevent future injuries.  

If you notice an uneven floor, damaged mats/tiles, trailing cables, inadequate/broken lighting, or anything else that could cause a trip – report it!  

Is your workplace floor slippery when wet?  Report it!   

The next formal inspection may be months away, by which time the hazard may have caused an accident.  

Don’t be the cause! 

If you spill anything, mop it up immediately or arrange to have it cleaned up.  

Don’t leave things lying around (shoes, bags, boxes, cables etc) that could cause a trip or fall. Keep the space around where you work tidy.  

Don’t carry things that obstruct your view of where you are going.  

If the number of slips trips and falls can be minimised, it will have a massive effect on the number of injuries suffered by colleagues. Help us to make sure that the bank has workplaces that are as safe as possible. 

Rise in musculoskeletal problems may be triggered by homeworking

There has been a rise in the number of economically inactive people reporting musculoskeletal problems or disabilities (MSDs) connected with their back or neck, according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). 

These rose by 62,000 (31%), the second largest increase after “other conditions” – likely to include survey respondents with long Covid. The ONS says it is possible that increased homeworking since the pandemic has given rise to these kinds of chronic conditions. 

When the pandemic first hit, we put together some top tips for working from home. If you’ve since become a hybrid worker (part office / part home) or a permanent remote (home) worker, the guidance is still valid and includes a link to a practical workstation checklist. 

LBG has also created resources to help you – visit the Health and Safety site, under workstation comfort. 

And if you’re suffering from musculoskeletal problems, have completed a DSE and spoken to your line manager but still need help in getting the right support, get in touch with your local Accord officer or send an email to [email protected] and we’ll put you in touch with the right person to help and advise you.

Mobility scooters

There have been a couple of incidents where customers on mobility scooters have been involved in accidents, causing injury to others. This is a difficult problem to solve as the scooters are necessary for people to get around, but they are difficult to manoeuvre in the small areas of some branches and do cause a risk. The bank is monitoring the problem and we will be kept up to speed with developments. But do please follow the bank’s mobility scooters in the branch network guidance and take time to understand the needs of any regular customers who visit the branch on a mobility scooter. A conversation now may prevent an injury to a colleague in future.

Eyecare vouchers

Eyecare vouchers can be ordered online at Life@LBG, under “E” in the A TO Z. The link for buying online is in the Life@LBG article.

Duncan & Todd (the eye care voucher provider) are working to onboard new opticians to replace Boots.  In the meantime, if colleagues struggle to find an optician in their area, Duncan & Todd will work with them to find a suitable alternative.

TUC survey on health and safety reps

If you’re one of our elected workplace reps, you have responsibility for health and safety too. Please spare 5 minutes to complete the TUC’s survey of union health and safety reps. There will be a prize draw of all respondents, drawn at random when the survey closes on Thursday 2nd February.

Your responses help the TUC and member unions like Accord decide what to prioritise and campaign on in the years ahead.

Take the survey

HSE annual statistics

For your interest, the Health and Safety Executive has published its annual statistics. The main things to note are:

BWC wellbeing events

Supporting menopause at work: Line managers are invited to join Accord and the Bank Workers Charity on Thursday 9th February at 2pm for a wellbeing webinar on supporting menopause at work. The session will look at how people are affected by the menopause at work, the different approaches to offering support and how to create a menopause-friendly environment within the team. Find out more and book your place.

Wellbeing support: Join the Bank Workers Charity on Tuesday 7th March at 2pm for a wellbeing webinar designed to help you gain a clear understanding of the various types of support offered by the BWC while highlighting the importance of seeking intervention at an early stage. Find out more and book your place.

Let us know your thoughts

If you have any feedback on the above items or would like other health and safety related issues to be included in our discussions with LBG then please contact [email protected]

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