CSP rep wins national award for promoting members’ health, safety and welfare in the workplace
Katrina Humphreys – CSP health and safety (H&S) rep for Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Trust – was awarded this year’s Trades Union Congress (TUC) H&S Rep Award in recognition of her steadfast commitment to staff safety.
Nationwide around 100,000 trade union safety representatives advise and represent their members on all matters relating to their health, safety and welfare at work; and make sure employers fulfil their legal and contractual obligations towards their employees.
The TUC makes an annual award to the trade union H&S representative whose work has best represented the importance of this role. As the demands of the Covid-19 pandemic meant that no congress awards were made last year, Humphreys’ award covers the period from September 2019 to 2021, and was based on her role in the workplace throughout the pandemic.
The TUC heard how Humphreys worked tirelessly to ensure her trust followed regularly-changing national guidelines, such as those concerning social distancing.
She also held management to account to ensure appropriate workplace risk assessments were conducted as part of the reopening of NHS services post-lockdown.
I was happy to see the trust’s management recognising the importance of workplace health and safety and the role of H&S reps.
‘This caused a chain reaction, within services and sites across the trust carrying out risk assessments and consulting me and other union representatives more frequently and with less prompting than before.
‘This made staff more comfortable and happier in the workplace.’
Humphreys first became a H&S rep within her trust in 2006 to seek improvements in disability equality policies within the trust.
She went on to increase H&S reps’ visibility within the trust, showing colleagues how trade union activity creates a safe working environment and the fair application of workplace policies during trust mergers and other service transformations.
This was achieved through physical inspections – to ensure workplaces and equipment is safe to use – and by introducing initiatives that support colleagues’ physical and mental health, including online exercises classes.
Humphreys challenged more CSP members to put themselves forward to become a H&S rep: ‘There has never been a more important time to step up. With more decisions about working conditions being made locally, the CSP needs a strong H&S presence in all workplaces to improve the environment and working life of our members.’
H&S reps will never work alone, and can draw on the support of the wider team of stewards, equality reps and officers when advocating for members’ safety.
Job-shares can also be arranged, making the role more accessible than ever.
Contact the CSP’s organisers on email@example.com to find out more about putting yourself forward as a workplace rep.
Katrina Humphreys’ award was presented at this year’s virtual Congress -– the TUC’s main policy making body.
This year, the CSP’s Congress delegation spoke in support of motions which called on the TUC to:
- call for a ‘right to rehabilitation’ for those recovering after Covid or whose health and care needs have not been met as a result of the pandemic
- campaign for fully-funded public services, progress on public sector pay, and the NHS workforce crisis
- call on social media platforms, employers and the government to protect workers from online abuse
- campaign for Covid and Long Covid to be recognised as an industrial disease
- support trade unions in tackling structural racism in medicine
All of the CSP’s motions were carried, and will form the basis of the TUC’s work next year.
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