Pushed to breaking point

NHS staff are being pushed to breaking point – with stress showing up as the number one health and safety issue facing UNISON members working in the NHS.

That was the clear message of a ‘body mapping’ exercise that was carried out at the union’s health conference last week.

Body mapping uses a chart of the human body on which work-related injuries and health and safety concerns can be marked, and is ideal for highlighting physical symptoms of stress such as pains to head, shoulders and neck.

“As service cuts bite, staff are working harder, longer and for less pay in order to correct the mess the government has created through its so called reforms,” commented assistant national officer Robert Baughan, who carried out the body mapping exercise.

UNISON head of health and safety Tracey Harding added: “This reinforces the message we have received from all areas of our membership.

“Public services have come under attack from both the government and parts of the media. At the same time, staff are being expected to deliver more with less.”

Last year, the union launched a Cut Stress, Not Jobs campaign, and will be marking International Workers Memorial Day on Monday 28 April.

Event: International  Workers’ Memorial Day

UNISON leaflet: Cut stress, not jobs [PDF]

Safety in numbers – health and safety toolkit [PDF]

UNISON Knowledge: health and safety topics