The 11th Annual Virtual Health and Safety Conference took place on International Workers Memorial Day, 28 April 2021. A day when trade unionists and civil society all over the world remembered those who were killed, injured or made ill at work. It was not only a day to remember those who had tragically lost their lives at work but also to remember and pay tribute to those workers in many essential jobs who were on the front line in maintaining life as near normal as possible for all of us. They risk infection, their life to keep us all safe. It has been these workers we have depended on to get us through these unprecedented and challenging times.
The theme this year was ‘Fighting for the Fundamental Right for Safe and Healthy Work’ because that should be every worker’s human right – work that won’t hurt or kill us.
To help us deliver our conference programme we were joined by an esteem panel of speakers who brought with them a wealth of knowledge on the issues relating to the health and safety challenges of Covid, including mental health.
A full recording of the Conference is available above. To view a copy of individual presentations please click on the links below.
We were delighted to welcome to the Conference Health Minister, Robin Swann, who addressed conference and laid us into the minute silence at 11.00am to honour workers who had lost their lives from coronavirus or other work related illnesses or injuries.
This was followed by two Panel Sessions:
Panel One: Mental Health and Wellbeing in a Changing World
Professor Siobhan O’Neill, Mental Health Champion for NI. Presentation.
Rachael Power, Action Mental Health.
John McShane, MTB Solicitors. Presentation
Margaret Loughran, Chairperson NIPSA Health & Safety Committee
Panel Two: The Future of Work in a Post Covid World
Mark McAllister, Labour Relations Agency. Presentation.
Priscilla Woods, NI Safety Group
Janet Newsham, Manchester Hazards. Presentation.
Brian McAnoy, ICTU Tutor
International Workers’ Memorial Day (IWMD) is a day when trade unionists and civil society all over the world remember those who have been killed, injured or made ill at work. It is not only a day to remember those who have tragically lost their lives at work but also to remember and pay tribute to those workers in many essential jobs who are on the front line in maintaining life as near normal as possible for all of us. They risk infection, their life to keep us all safe. It has been these workers we have depended on to get us through these unprecedented and challenging times.
The theme this year is ‘Fighting for the fundamental right for safe and healthy work’ because that should be every worker’s human right – work that won’t hurt or kill us.
This year NIPSA will be holding its Annual Health and Safety Conference on IWMD and will be calling on delegates and all NIPSA members to observe a minute silence at 11 a.m. The Health Minister, Robin Swann, will be addressing our conference and supporting this call. Details about the conference available from the link below.
The initiative is also supported by NIC/ICTU and reps may wish to request employers mark it by asking the workforce to cease work for one minute at 11am. It will be a moment to pay tribute to the heart-breaking number of workers who have lost their lives to coronavirus or other work-related illness or injury.
We must ensure IWMD21 is not lost in the depths of this virus crisis. If anything it confirms the dangers that workers face hourly in their jobs and also the lack of duty of care that many employers and Governments show for the most essential of services. This is an unprecedented international crisis in our lifetime. There have been many disasters around the world but the global impact of this is devastating in terms of the illness, deaths and impact on all our daily lives. We will experience the mental and physical impact for years to come. This year’s 'Remember the dead Fight for the Living' will have an extremely personal impact on all us.
HSENI have released a video on how work can have negative effects on mental health, particularly in the form of stress.
This video explains why employers should manage work-related stress and how HSENI’s Mental Wellbeing at Work Advisory Service can provide advice and guidance.
The latest edition of our Health and Safety Newsletter ‘Spotlight’ is now available to download from Publications on the website homepage.
The NIPSA Health and Safety Committee hope you find the edition informative and would welcome any suggestions you have on topics you would like covered in future editions of the Newsletter.
Please circulate as widely as possible.