New TUC Guide – “Gender in Occupational Health & Safety” Published to Help Health and Safety Reps Keep Both Men and Women Safe and Healthy at Work 

New TUC Guide – “Gender in Occupational Health & Safety” Published to Help Health and Safety Reps Keep Both Men and Women Safe and Healthy at Work To: All Branches 

Dear Colleagues, 

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

Unions are committed to improving the working lives and conditions of all workers. Pressing for healthy, safe workplaces for everyone is part and parcel of the union representative’s role. Being aware of the issues relating to gender in occupational health and safety ensures unions strive to ensure that workplaces are safer and healthier for everyone. This is because, where the differences between men and women are acknowledged 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. 

The guidance argues that a gender-stereotyped or the ‘one size fits all’ approach is now out-of-date. 

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 guide 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 are aimed at helping 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. 

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. 

A copy of the Guide is attached.

Yours sincerely

 

Dave Joyce

National Health, Safety & Environment Officer

Email Attachments – Click to download

LTB 334/17 New TUC Guide – “Gender in Occupational Health & Safety”

Gender Attachment

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