SoR Health & Safety Reps can now take TUC Diploma

Published: 05 January 2018 Ezine

Author: Ian Cloke, Health and Safety Officer

In a first for the Society, the trade union’s reps can attain an accredited diploma that will develop their understanding of health and safety principle and practice.

An added bonus is that the course is available to reps at NO COST thanks to an SoR subsidy. It normally costs almost £2000.

This represents a significant investment by the Society to ensure that health and safety representatives can obtain a recognised qualification to help them improve the workplace for members.

Designed for experienced union health and safety representatives, the course examines:

  • The development and function of health and safety law
  • How to build a trade union organisation for health and safety, and
  • Tackles key health, safety, welfare and environmental problems in the workplace.

What is the qualification?
Accredited by the NOCN Group, it is a year-long programme delivered over three terms and, on completion, successful candidates will receive the TUC Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety. The course is recognised for entry into the Institute of Occupational Health and Safety at the Tech Sp grade.

The TUC will supply all the relevant materials and the course tutor will deliver the course as an online blended offer. This will mean reps getting face-to-face, classroom sessions twice a term and then group/one-to-one support online via the TUC Education website.

Termly meetings will give reps the chance to go over the aims of that term’s section, cover some study skills and get feedback on their assignments. 

What does the diploma cover?
Occupational Health, Safety, Welfare and Environment Unit
This focuses on four main topics: occupational health; safety welfare and environment problems at work, sources or information; the use of evidence in a problem solving process; and trade union strategies for tackling priority issues.

Helps reps to understand:

  • health, safety, welfare and environmental problems
  • key sources of information on health, safety, welfare and environmental problems
  • evidence to support solutions to priority problems
  • trade union strategies for tackling priority problems

Occupational Health and Safety Organisation Unit
Focuses on: union organisation and management organisation. It will help learners to understand:

  • the role of the union health and safety organisation at a local level, and
  • at a national and international level
  • the principles of health and safety management
  • the role of occupational health and safety services

Occupational Health and Safety Law Unit
Four main topics: the criminal legal system for occupational health and safety and improvements needed; the civil legal system for occupational health and safety and improvements needed; the way laws are developed in the UK and how trade unions can influence these developments; the way international standards are developed and how trade unions can influence these developments.

This unit will help reps to understand:

  • the way the criminal and civil legal systems cover occupational health and safety
  • ways in which occupational health and safety law could be improved
  • how occupational health and safety law is developed
  • how trade unions can influence the development of occupational health and safety law

What are the entry requirements?
SoR reps should have:
• previously attended the TUC stage 1 and 2 Health and Safety courses, or
• obtained 8 30-hours NOCN credits, with a minimum of 4 credits at Level 2 (24 10-hour NOCN credits), or
• obtained a suitable equivalent to the two categories above through the SoR’s courses or from elsewhere.

A minimum of 12 reps are needed to ensure the course goes ahead.

How much work is involved?
Reps are expected to allow six hours study a week, regularly logging on to the course Moodle website with the work expected to be completed by March 2019. The course is planned to start 21/22 March 2018. The second session starts 11/12 September.

The classroom sessions will be held at the NASUWT Hillscourt Education Centre, Birmingham and will include wifi access and possible IT equipment, although reps would be encouraged to use their own laptops. Full requirements will be communicated by the tutor.

The costs cover six days direct contact time and 30 days direct tutor support via the online platform and by telephone. Each day is up to 7 hours.

Participants are expected to produce a 1500-word essay for each of the first two terms, followed by a 2000 word project in term three. There will also be an end of course presentation of the project.
There will be additional online activities and dates will be set for the completion of each. Learners will be expected to contribute to the online forums in a similar way as if they were in a class.

Reasonable travel expenses to Birmingham will be reimbursed.

The tutor is Jonathan Jeffries of Capital City College (formerly Conel), Tottenham.

Can I get time off to learn?
Reps should first ask their employer for time off with pay. The Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 and the Safety Representatives and Safety Committee Regulations 1977 give accredited union and safety representatives a legal right to reasonable time off with pay to attend courses approved by the TUC or their union.

Guidance towards establishing what constitutes reasonable time off can be found in the ACAS Code of Practice.

Representatives who have difficulty obtaining paid time off should contact me.

“We welcome the SoR decision to offer the Level 3 Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety to its reps and are looking forward to working in partnership to deliver the training,” Jackie Williams, the TUC’s education manager, said.

“This partnership will add value to the SoR’s reps training programme and underlines the organisation’s commitment to ensuring members are able to work in a safe environment.”

SoR reps who are interested in taking the diploma, or who want more information, please send an email to the Society's TUIR department.