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University and College Union

The Open University branch of the University and College Union

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Health and Safety

The role of trade union Health and Safety representatives is not limited to safety but includes making representation to employers (in our case the OU) on general matters affecting health, safety and welfare at work. Much of this is done through raising issues informally, as well as via formal representation by the trade union reps on the university's Health and Safety Committee. 

H&S in higher education often relates to work-related stress, venue/lab safety, and IT use. UCU is also very active in Covid prevention and mitigation: UCU - Covid-19 information.

Trade Union H&S reps have the right to reasonable paid time for training and to do the work of representing staff in the workplace (not just members). If you're interested in learning more about becoming a TU H&S Rep, please contact the branch office at ucu@open.ac.uk.

Currently there are five UCU H&S Reps: Lesley Kane, Peter Piper, Saleem Rashid (Associate Lecturers), Caitlin Adams (Academic-Related/Branch President) and a Workload H&S Rep, Kit Power (Academic-Related). To contact our reps about any H&S matter please email ucu@open.ac.uk.

The main publication by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) for trade union safety reps is the “brown book”. The brown book outlines the purpose and functions of TU reps and how workplace safety committees work, further information on the TUC website

Another important document is a publication by the Health and Safety Executive about employers consulting employees on matters to do with health and safety.