Aberdeenshire UNISON

Social Work Issues 21st March 2011

Keeping Safe in the Workplace
UNISON launches safety guide for social workers

On 21st March 2011, UNISON Scotland launched 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.

Kate Ramsden and Ruth Stark
Kate Ramsden and Ruth Stark launch the Keeping Safe in the Workplace Guide

Branch Chair, Kate Ramsden, who is also a member of UNISON Scotland's Social Work Issues Group (SWIG) wrote the Guide, assisted by other members of SWIG and Ruth Stark of SASW (formerly the British Association of Social Workers.)

The guide was 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 at the Discovery Point in Dundee was organised by UNISON Scotland in conjunction with the Scottish Association of Social Workers (SASW). It included a presentation on the new guide and the principles behind it.

Kate 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, added: “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.”