With INMO director of industrial relations Phil Ní Sheaghdha
Query from member
I seek advice on the policy or procedure relating to workplaces that have been flooded. I work in a health centre which was flooded and, although not flooded when we returned to work, it was not, in my opinion, suitable for work due to the after effects of the flood water.
The Irish Congress of Trade Unions issued the following advice to unions following the period of bad weather and I think it answers your question:
“Where premises have been flooded, before any return to the workplace a safety inspection is needed, for example it is not enough that the workplace is dry, but has it also been cleaned and disinfected.
Portable gas or oil heaters can be used to speed up the drying process, but these should be placed in well-ventilated rooms, away from any flammable materials.
A qualified electrician should check that any electrical equipment that has come into contact with floodwater is safe to use, and similar checks should take place before the power supply is turned back on. Fire exits, fire alarms and emergency lighting systems will also need to be looked at. The Health and Safety Authority can provide expert information.”
If you have concerns you should contact your local health and safety representative, if there is one elected in your area. If not, contact your line manager immediately and advise of your concerns and request that you are temporarily re-assigned to a workspace unaffected by flood water. You should, as set out above, also request a safety inspection of the affected work area. This will apply in any workplace not just the HSE areas.
If you encounter any difficulties in getting these issues addressed please contact the INMO official in your area who will represent you and your INMO colleagues on these issues.
Query from member
I am a staff nurse working in a HSE hospital. I am aware of the changes to certified sick leave from your previous communications, however I am not clear in respect of uncertified sick leave and when we are expected to submit a medical certificate?
The changes to uncertified sick leave were introduced in 2012 and these changes are:
As was the case before the changes, a certificate is required on the third consecutive day of absence. This is not calculated in hours, therefore the duration of the working day is not relevant. Regardless if you are working long days or short days, the absence for this purpose will be recorded as a day’s absence and a medical certificate will be required following two consecutive days, on the third day.
If you have any further questions on this issue do not hesitate to contact the INMO.
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