IRVINE, 10 February 2006 - At a Meeting of the Corporate Health and Safety Group of North Ayrshire Council at 2.00 p.m.
Councillors David Munn and Samuel Taylor; J. M. Macfarlane, Assistant Chief Executive, C. McBreen, Principal Health and Safety Adviser (Personnel); J. Leckie, Head of Service (Educational Services); J. Currie, Head of Cleansing, Grounds Maintenance and Transport (Property Services); and M. McKeown, Corporate and Democratic Support Officer (Chief Executive's) (North Ayrshire Council); I. Ross (EIS); S. O'Reilly and A. Cairns (T&GWU); and J. MacDonald (UNISON).
Councillor Munn in the Chair.
Apologies for Absence
Councillor Alan Munro, E. Lamb (PAT) and B. Thomson (SSTA).
The Minutes of the Meeting of the Group held on 18 November 2005 were confirmed.
2. Matters Arising
2.1 Appointment of Vice-Chair and Joint Secretary
The Group agreed to appoint Ian Ross and Stephanie Herd as Vice-Chair and Joint Secretary, respectively, of the Corporate Health and Safety Group.
3. Health and Safety Strategy and Policy: Progress Report
Submitted report by the Assistant Chief Executive (Personnel) on the implementation of the Council's Health and Safety Strategy and Policy and Action Plan for 2005/06.
In March 2005, the Corporate Services Committee approved the Council's Health and Safety Strategy and an Action Plan for 2005/06. The Strategy sets out a revised and strengthened framework for the management of Health and Safety within the Council, and provides a framework for policy development, organisation of resources, hazard identification and risk assessment, planning, monitoring and audit. The Strategy also defines the roles of senior managers within the Council and the Personnel Health and Safety Division as well as the contributions expected of individual employees.
The 2005/06 Action Plan was attached at Appendix 1 to the report. The following progress was highlighted and discussed:-
· Health and Safety Planning Groups
All Groups are now well established within each Service. Most have now held their 3rd meetings. These meetings are led by the nominated Service Lead Officers with the Assistant Chief Executive (Personnel) and/or Principal Health and Safety Adviser in attendance.
· Stress Management
The programme of 1st Pass risk assessments, in relation to Stress Risk Management has now been ongoing since 28 July 2005. To date 14 1st Pass assessments involving some 217 employees have been undertaken.
Following on from this the programme of 2nd Pass assessments involving more in-depth questionnaires have been undertaken in Corporate and Property Services.
The Stress Working Group met on 2 February 2006 to discuss the outcomes.
· Health and Safety Master Files
All Files have now been issued to designated holders. Work continues to revise and introduce additional policies and guidance.
The importance of ensuring staff are aware of the existence and content of the master files was discussed.
· Service Health and Safety Action Plans
All Services now have in place individualHealth and Safety Action Plans. The Lead Safety Advisers continue to work with the nominated Officers in each Service in order to develop the Plans and issues arising from them.
There has been some minor slippage on particular action points due to other work pressures. Target dates have been revised accordingly. Progress against the Stress Management Action Plan was detailed in Appendix 2 of the report.
The Corporate Management Team will continue to oversee health and safety issues within the Council.
4. Employee Accident Statistics: Monitoring Report
Submitted report by the Assistant Chief Executive (Personnel) on employee injury accident statistics for the period 1 October to 31 December 2005.
There were a total of 30 employee accidents resulting in injury during the period of which 10 were serious enough to be reported to Health & Safety Executive. The report provided a break down of both the types of injuries, and the causes of these injuries.
In future monitoring reports will be submitted to the regular meetings of the each Service Health and Safety Planning Group. Services will monitor the statistical reports on workplace accidents and incidents and ensure appropriate action is taken to reduce risk and avoid recurrence.
5. Violence and Aggression Incidents: Monitoring Report
Submitted report by the Assistant Chief Executive (Personnel) summarising incidents involving violence and aggression towards employees. An amended report was tabled at the meeting.
During the period 1 October to 31 December 2005 a total of 25 incidents involving violence and aggression were reported. The report provided a break down of incidents by Service.
The new Council Policy and Guidance on Aggression and Violence is now in place. All employees with responsibilities or duties under these documents will be required to monitor incidents (and follow up actions) and the documents provide advice and guidance on the reporting and handling of incidents. Monitoring reports will continue to be submitted to the regular meetings of each Service Health and Safety Planning Group. Services will monitor the statistical reports on workplace and incidents and ensure appropriate action is taken to reduce risk and avoid recurrence.
The Group discussed the importance of ensuring that all staff, including individual employees and line managers, are aware of their responsibilities in terms of reporting incidents of aggression and violence
6. Date of Next Meeting
The next meeting of the Corporate Health and Safety Group will be held on Friday 12 May 2006 at 2.00 p.m. in Cunninghame House, Irvine.
7. Any Other Business
7.1 Smoking, Health and Social Care (Scotland) Act 2005 and Prohibition of Smoking in Certain Premises (Scotland) Regulations 2006
The Assistant Chief Executive (Personnel) updated the Group on the Smoking, Health and Social Care (Scotland) Act 2005 and Prohibition of Smoking in Certain Premises (Scotland) Regulations 2006 which will introduce a ban on smoking in enclosed public spaces from 26 March 2006.
The legislation will have implications for the Council as the owner of public buildings and as a major employer responsible for health and safety in the workplace. The Council's Health and Safety Team is currently formulating the policy on no smoking to be implemented within every Council building and workplace. All users of buildings, including officials, Members, visitors etc., will be subject to the no smoking provisions.
A report setting out the Council's approach to the introduction of the new legislation will be submitted to the next meeting of the Corporate Policy Committee. Meantime all staff will be made aware of their responsibilities in terms of complying with the new requirements.