Support Staff in Schools' Collective Agreement
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Part 7 Other Working Conditions
Support Staff in Schools' Collective Agreement
Effective 20 June 2022 to 19 February 2024
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7.1 Sexual Harassment Statement
7.1.1 The parties to this agreement consider sexual harassment in the workplace is not acceptable and attention is drawn to Part 12.
7.2 Health and safety
7.2.1 The employer and employee will meet their obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.
7.2.2 The employer's duties include:
- providing and maintaining a safe working environment for employees and others in the workplace
- providing and maintaining facilities for the welfare of the employee while at work
- providing all necessary training and instructions to employees
- making sure machinery and equipment is safe
- making sure working arrangements are not hazardous
- providing procedures to deal with work emergencies
- making sure health and safety employee engagement and participation processes are in place
- consulting and cooperating with other businesses operating in the same workplace(s) to keep everyone safe and healthy.
7.2.3 The employee will follow the employer’s health and safety rules and procedures. The employee will take reasonable care to look after their own health and safety at work, their fitness for work, and the health and safety of others.
7.2.4 Examples of how the employee can take reasonable care include:
- following all reasonable health and safety rules and instructions
- participating in health and safety discussions
- exercising their right to refuse to do unsafe work
- taking reasonable care that their actions (or inactions) do not cause harm, or risk of harm, to themselves or others
- not reporting for duty under the influence of alcohol or drugs that impair their performance or fitness for work
- wearing all necessary personal protective equipment and clothing.
7.2.5 The employee must report any potential risks, incidents and near misses so the employer can investigate, and eliminate or minimise harm or risk of harm.
7.2.6 Failure to follow reasonable health and safety rules may be considered serious misconduct.
7.2.7 Employers are encouraged to establish a health and safety committee. If a health and safety committee exists, employers are encouraged to include support staff in the composition and support staff employees are encouraged to participate in the work of the committee.
7.2.8 Support staff are encouraged to stand in elections for health and safety representatives under the Health and Safety at Work Act.
7.2.9 The employer must allow an elected health and safety representative to take in each year the amount of paid leave that is specified in the Health and Safety at Work Act for the purpose of attending health and safety training (currently two days).
7.2.10 The employer will ensure that any employee who is a health and safety representative or health and safety committee member has reasonable time and resources to undertake their role effectively.
7.3.1 Boards shall take all practical steps to ensure the safety of employees especially when employees undertake banking duties and work in isolated areas on the school site.
7.3.2 Boards shall ensure that all employees have the opportunity to be fully involved in the development of procedures as specified in clause 7.3.1.
7.4.1 The parties agree in principle that responsibility for pre-exposure immunisation of employees rests with employers who should accept responsibility for safety in the workplace, advised as necessary by health officials.
7.4.2 In situations where employees may be at significantly increased risk of acquiring hepatitis B or similar diseases because of the nature of their job, the situation shall be assessed on an individual basis to decide if immunisation would be appropriate. Immunisation will be provided by the employer if appropriate.
7.4.3 In all situations where there is a risk of infection of the kind envisaged in clause 7.4.2, it shall be the duty of the employer to require safe working practices on the part of the employee and to ensure appropriate hygiene practices to reduce such risk to a minimum, whether or not immunisation is considered advisable.
7.5.1 The employer shall recognise its responsibility for the protection of the health and safety of employees operating electronic technology, and shall comply with the latest protective guidelines contained in the Update to WorkSafe - Guide for using computers (2017) or any other relevant visual display units code subsequently introduced and agrees to apply this any time visual display units are used by employees.
7.5.2 When an employer is considering the introduction of new technology the employees likely to be affected will be fully consulted. The employees are entitled to representation of their choice throughout the process.
7.5.3 The minimum requirements for the placement and use of photocopiers and multilith machines are:
- access/ventilation space required on all sides of unit;
- employees shall not be seated within four metres of the machine;
- the machine should not in any circumstances be sited in a room of volume less than 4.5m3;
- large machines are to be located in a separate room specifically for the purpose with adequate mechanical ventilation;
- where photocopiers are located in open plan offices every effort shall be made to minimise excessive heat and noise.
The employer shall comply with any relevant code of practice subsequently introduced.
7.6 Eye tests / visual display units
7.6.1 Any permanent employee whose weekly hours of work set under clause 2.4.2 are not less than 20 per week and who works on a VDU for at least 50% of their normal working time shall be entitled to an eye test biennially or as required at the employer’s expense. If the test discloses that prescription lenses are required for the normal viewing distance of a VDU, or that an eyesight problem has been created or worsened by a VDU, then the actual and reasonable cost of single vision spectacle lenses will be met by the employer. The employer will also meet the actual and reasonable cost of spectacle frames where the employee requires lenses for the first time.
7.6.2 If the employee chooses contact lenses the employer will meet the costs only up to the level required to be met under clause 7.6.1.
7.6.3 Employees who work continuously at VDU terminals will be provided with relief by variations in work, or by regular breaks of 10 minutes in every hour.
7.6.4 Pregnant VDU operators - while current scientific evidence supports the view that there are no adverse health effects or associated risks for pregnant women, the employer will make every effort to accommodate requests for alternative duties during the period of pregnancy. Employees who are temporarily redeployed for this reason should not be disadvantaged in relation to either pay or conditions of employment.