The Government must take swift action to improve health and safety for teachers in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the NASUWT Cymru Conference will hear today.
The NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union will lobby the Government to strengthen health and safety Operational Guidance in schools and to ensure that enforcement agencies are appropriately deployed.
The Union will also call for increased investment in public services to better support all necessary health and safety measures.
Accordingly to recent research, teachers in Wales are concerned about their health and safety:
- 53% of these teachers felt their wellbeing was not viewed as important at their school;
- 39% of these teachers said that their safety was not viewed as important at their school; and
- 35% said their school’s building and teaching spaces were not fit to teach in.
“The Government must learn lessons from the coronavirus pandemic.
“Many teachers have felt they were putting their lives at risk because the Welsh Government’s Operational Guidance for schools was inadequate and there was a lack of enforcement of employer compliance with statutory regulations.
“The Government must now ensure that its health and safety guidance is fit for purpose and that action is taken to ensure that all schools comply fully with their obligations on health and safety and equality.”
Neil Butler, NASUWT National Official Wales, said:
“The previous Education Minister promised that health and safety would be a priority during the pandemic but we found that was not the case. The Operational Guidance for schools was weak and ambiguous.
“We hope and trust that the new Education Minister will listen to teachers and take seriously their health and safety concerns.
“The Government, local authorities and schools need to make sure that robust risk assessments are put in place and that they are regularly updated.
“Where members inform us that health and safety legislation is not being followed, the NASUWT will not hesitate to take action to support them.”