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Date: Mon 21 March 2011

UNISON launches safety guide for social workers

UNISON Scotland will today (Monday) launch a guide to help social workers stay safe in the workplace.

The new guide – Keeping Safe in the Workplace – aims to help social workers recognise when they are becoming stressed or overloaded at work and to seek support from their employers, trade union or professional association when needed.

The guide has been written by social workers for social workers and examines some of the key issues faced by staff in their day-to-day working lives.

The launch, organised by UNISON Scotland in conjunction with the Scottish Association of Social Workers (SASW), will include a presentation on the new guide and the principles behind it.

Kate Ramsden, a member of UNISON’s Social Work Issues Group, said: “There is no doubt that social work staff work in an increasingly difficult climate with rising demands not always matched with an increase in available resources. This group of staff are constantly overstretched and this can lead to stress, ill-health and burnout.

“This guide aims to help social work practitioners to keep themselves safe in the workplace; to recognise when they are becoming stressed or overloaded, and how to seek the necessary help from their employer or trade union.”

Stephen Smellie, chair of UNISON’s Social Work Issues Group, said: “People are essential to the quality of service provided and it is vital that we support the staff who deliver services. We need to ensure they are trained, supported and properly resourced in order to undertake the often difficult tasks required by our service users.”


Notes for editors

1. Photo opportunity You are invited to send a reporter, photographer and/or crew to the Keeping Safe in the Workplace launch. It will be held on Monday, March 21, at 10.30am at Discovery Point, Discovery Quay, Dundee (www.rrsdiscovery.com for location details.)

2. UNISON is Scotland’s largest union representing social workers and social care staff. We represent staff in all areas including residential workers, social care workers, occupational therapists, home care staff and professional, admin and clerical support staff. See www.unison-scotland.org.uk/socialwork

3. Click here for a PDF of the Keeping Safe in the Workplace guide

4. For further information contact Mandy McDowall, regional organiser for UNISON, on 0141 342 2804 or 07903 846 427. For further information on UNISON visit our website at www.unison-scotland.org.uk