Report of the Strategic Director, Corporate Services and Governance
The Committee received a report which provided an overview of health and safety performance for 2018/19 of Gateshead Council and identifies key priorities for 2020.
The Council continues to use the principles of the HES guidance, and key priorities are Plan, Do, Check, Act. These principles underpin the Council’s safety management system and operational processes and procedures as per the Council’s Corporate Health and Safety Policy and arrangements.
The Committee were advised that all managers are supported by the Health and Safety team and as part of an ongoing cycle everything is regularly reviewed. If any issues are identified they are addressed promptly.
The Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service have visited a number of premises and have not issued any notification letters to the Council.
The Occupational Health unit continues to run at full capacity which includes support to NEPO and CAB. The use of the counselling service continues to grow and the Council is being reactive if necessary. It has been found that this is helping employees to stay at work or if they are off sick helping them to get back to work quicker.
Options are being explored to run various support groups which are something which employees have asked for.
It was noted that councillors had asked for an idea of the costs of non-attendance at appointments. This had been calculated at approximately £19,500 with officers looking at the worst-case scenario basis for the calculation. There is a whole range of reasons why employees are not attending appointments, sometimes it is employee error, sometimes it is manager error, sometimes an employee has been on holiday.
The Committee had previously been advised of a new scheme for employees where they can quickly be referred to GO Gateshead. Of 40 employees who were referred 32 took up the and to date 12 have completed the programme.
Checks made to ensure that things are happening via, reporting to the quarterly Corporate Health and Safety Committee, Senior Management Group and Health and Safety officers utilise a spreadsheet for the recording of hazards identified by employees. If necessary, incidents are investigated with findings and recommendations reported back to responsible managers.
In terms of internal assurance the Asbestos Management Team is responsible to the Strategic Director, Communities and Environment, within Council Housing, Design and Technical Services, the team works closely with the Health and Safety Team and during the course of the reporting period have continued to carry out the asbestos re-inpsections, update and deliver registers and provide technical advice to schools which have bought into the asbesos management package. Officers have also review the corporate asbestos management plan and made any required changes.
During the reporting period Health and Safety officers visited all schools and other sites when they were notified that contractors would be working. 104 sites have been visited and activities were monitored, risk assessment, method statements and training records were checked. No major issues were identified.
The health and safety team will continue to work with group management teams to continually improve health and safety management systems including policies, procedures and arrangements. Health and safety officers will deliver the corporate audit programme, and the fire risk assesment programme. Occupational Health will continue to meet all statutory requirements by fulfilling health surveillance programmes. Work will continue on the co-ordination of employee wellbeing events throughout th year with the emphasis being place on the principles of THRIVE. Group management teams and head teachers will be informed of any significant changes to the Council’s corporate health ans safety policies and procedures or when action is necessary because of any health and safety failing via a helath and safety briefing note. Senior Management Group will be advised on a quarterly basis on the progress being made and any issues to address.
RESOLVED - That it be noted that the Committee is satisfied that the actions taken are appropriate and effective to maintain or improve the Council’s health and safety management system.