The first associate members were welcomed into the CSP 21 years ago. Julie Knight says all members should celebrate the anniversary.
What does the anniversary mean to you?
This is an incredible milestone for the associates of the CSP. It is to be embraced and celebrated by all members. It is a great achievement – the asssociates’ role has changed so much over the years, not only their roles but the job title.
How can support workers make more of an impact at work?
Support workers can carry out a piece of work and deliver to the department. We hold a lot of knowledge and are consistent. Because we often stay in post a long time, we see a lot of changes, along with seeing different staff rotating. We are very professional and have a lot of empathy for our patients and clients, along with many new ideas. I think we are very modest workers; we do not shout loudly enough when we are presented with awards for our hard work.
Tell us about your role as health and safety rep
It is challenging, and I really enjoy it. I was elected in my department nine years ago and have not looked back. I have been a regional health and safety representative for four years, providing advice and support to health and safety reps in Wales. I attend Aneurin Bevan University Health board committee meetings in order to raise any issues. I am constantly being updated on health and safety issues in the workplace and also gain continued learning.
Any recent successes?
A case I recently solved was a simple error made by contractors on a building we share with social care. I was to cover poolside at a hydrotherapy pool that I do not normally attend. When I walked in I asked about the evacuation procedures and noticed the pool’s fire exit door was blocked by a cage surrounding scaffolding outside. This meant we were unable to exit the pool with patients or clients if there was an emergency. I escalated my concerns to senior management and the problem was solved in a few days.
A colleague said: ‘I didn’t notice it – I do not have a health and safety hat on like you.’ I replied: ‘Health and safety is everyone’s responsibility.’
Would you encourage others to follow your lead?
Joining a network is the stepping stone. How you would like to expand in that role is entirely up to you. If you do not want to join a network, you need to shout loudly about how well you are doing or have done in day-to-day work. I don’t think associates praise themselves enough in their valuable roles in the workplace.
What did winning the 2014 CSP health and safety rep award mean?
I was overwhelmed that I had been nominated to start with and winning was amazing. To be recognised by the CSP for the work I have carried out is an honour. I feel passionately about keeping the workplace safe, so I don’t find it hard work. It may be time consuming, but the self- satisfaction is rewarding enough.
Any summer holiday plans?
I have plenty booked. I love to plan holidays and get organised – it gives me a focus. I am going away to mainland Spain for two weeks with my husband and daughter and camping with my sister and family in Hereford. fl
Julie Knightis a support worker and health and safety rep at Aneurin Bevan University Health board.
Find out more about this year’s 21st anniversary celebrations for associate members.
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