Time to Shine a light on Dark Practices.

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2023 National Water, Environment & Transport Conference
6 February 2023

Conference notes that due to ever increasing expectations on our members more and more work is done out of normal working hours and in some cases routine inspections on wastewater treatment works is becoming the norm in hours of darkness.

Of particular concern to our members are those sites with inadequate lighting, security or access when our members are being instructed to risk their safety carrying out essential maintenance to the plant. This practice cannot continue. It is just a matter of time before a serious accident occurs.

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 is very clear on the employer’s duty to provide lighting to undertake work safety as well as many other safeguards. The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) guidance booklet HSG38 explains why good lighting is important and what the cost of poor lighting is to the business.

As a branch, which is focused on our members health and safety (H&S), we are only too aware of what happens when a company’s attention lapses – serious injury and fatalities.

Our members have correctly flagged these hazards internally through the right H&S reporting channels, but this is falling on deaf ears and is not being given the attention it requires. This is due, in part, to the ever-increasing costs to the business leading to conflicting spending priorities. This doesn’t help alleviate the real concerns of our members one bit.

Conference calls on the Water, Environment & Transport SGE to:

1) Ask and collate information from other Water Branches on how widespread this issue may be amongst their members.

2) Explore with the UNISON’S H&S committee and liaise with the Health and Safety Executive if appropriate, to produce a Fact Sheet or a Standard for Good Site Lighting. This can then be used for H&S Inspections by Stewards and with management for improvements to sites not meeting the standard.