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August 12, 2016

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STUC launches H&S toolkit for women


The Scottish Trades Union Congress has launched a toolkit to address health and safety issues that are applicable to women.

The union says that in workplaces where mainly or only women work, hazards are often unrecognized or under-researched and in workplaces where mainly men work, women are often expected to wear inappropriate safety clothes and differences between workplace health issues for men and women are insufficiently addressed.

The guidance includes information about:

  • domestic violence
  • sexual harassment
  • pregnant workers and new mothers
  • stress and mental health
  • the menopause; and
  • cancer,

The union lists six reasons for taking action:

• Many workplace risks, such as lifting and twisting, exposure to chemicals, long hours, stress, high or low temperatures, may affect women more seriously than men because of physical differences, work and home lives.

• The jobs many women do, such as cleaning, caring, clerical work or call centres,are often for long hours and repetitive.

• There are physical differences from men, but chemical exposure limits, uniforms and protective equipment are often designed for a man of average weight or height.

• Housework and caring duties mean women can double their exposure to chemicals and heavy lifting.

• Discrimination against women can heighten safety hazards. Low pay and income, the burden of caring for others or domestic violence can add to workplace stress; women working alone or on night shifts may feel more vulnerable.

• Pregnancy, menstruation and the menopause can make safety risks – such as standing for too long, insufficient toilet breaks or working at high temperatures –more serious.

Click here to view the toolkit.

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Nigel Dupree

Mustn’t forget the increasing ergonomic risks associated with more mobile DSE in addition to those hazards linked to a traditionally confined or fixed workstation founded in seated immobility and CVS or Screen Fatigue caused by over-exposure to a sub-optimally customised screen interface resulting in WULD’s & MSD’s for those on-screen longer than an hour or two a day.