Voice Damage

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2003 Water Service Group Conference
25 February 2003
Carried as Amended

The Water and Environment Service Group Conference welcomes research undertaken at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh, which found that some 60% of Call Centre staff have suffered a voice disorder.

Call Centres throughout Britain are now estimated to account for 2% of the workforce and are very prevalent in employers such as United Utilities.

UNISON members who spend all day talking to customers on the telephone are developing voice problems similar to those experienced by singers and teachers and could be at risk of developing nodules on the vocal chords.

This Conference is aware that some education authorities have already had to pay compensation to teachers for such conditions and we believe that UNISON should be instrumental in pointing out the dangers to our members/potential members/employers.

We therefore call on the Water and Environment Service Group Executive to work with the Energy and Transport Service Group Executives through the Business and Environment Working Group, in consultation with the National Health and Safety Committee, to investigate the scale of the problem and to issue appropriate guidelines in conjunction with the TUC including the recommending of drinking plenty of water, resting their voices periodically and learning to relax.