Health & Safety

Welcome to the LAS Unison Branch Health and Safety Page

‘No one should be made ill by their work’
(ref: LAS Manual Handling Policy)

UNISON and the LAS Branch take your Health & Safety seriously.
It is important that we receive feedback on Health & Safety issues raised on this page and that we are notified of any new possible risks.
Please use our new feedback form to notify us or if you have any comments or suggestions about this site.

I wanted to say a few words to introduce myself as the New UNISON Branch Health & Safety Officer.

My name is Paul Stewart (or Big Paul to some) and I am an Operational Paramedic based at the Brent Group in the North West Sector, working out of Pinner Station. I have been in the LAS for 24 years (yes, I know I’m a 1054 dinosaur) and an experienced H&S Rep for many a year now, I first became a rep in 2001, working my way up to Senior Sector H&S Rep for the North West Sector. I am committed to everyone’s Health, Safety and Wellbeing, not only as a H&S Rep but also being one of the first Linc workers to be trained and recognised in 2005.

I along with the rest of the UNISON Senior Sector H&S Reps across the LAS, are committed to ensuring your Health, Safety and Wellbeing is paramount. Ensuring there is a Unison H&S Rep on all stations and sites, fully accredited and supported by us, the Senior H&S Reps. Unison being the largest union in the LAS allows us to work with management effectively to ensure this is delivered appropriately.

Please remember everybody is responsible for their own H&S, and that of their colleagues!

If you want to be fully represented by experienced Health & Safety Reps, then JOIN UNISON NOW!!
Please ensure you report any issues to your Unison H&S Rep and local management teams using the appropriate means.

Are you at risk? Health and safety poster


Are You At Risk? – UNISON’s poster which aims to raise awareness about the importance of risk assessment amongst both members and potential members.

The poster identifies the HSE’s five steps to risk assessment.






As a group of Senior H&S Reps we have pushed, through various working groups and forums, to look at ways to reduce musculoskeletal injuries.

After some five years of no Manual Handling training taking place, the UNISON Senior H&S Reps worked with the Health, Safety & Risk team, to ensure tutors from the Education and Development Department were trained appropriately to be able to deliver Manual Handling training to all staff. This then commenced on CSR:2018.1 to all Operational Staff, and is now being done annually to some effect, incorporating all manual handling aids available.

We identified that there was a significant shortage of access to Mangar Elks for a number of reasons but mainly due to a shortage, units being faulty and failing in operation or missing components. We have now seen the rollout of the Manger Elk Mk III, with new models going on all operational ambulances and a service contract now in place to maintain them.


It was identified that for years, the transportation of babies and young children was illegal, by way of the parent being on the Trolley Bed and then holding the child. This practice even occurred whilst sitting on the seat that faced sideways, with regards to the direction of the moving vehicle. On investigation by UNISON H&S Reps, the service stated that the Pedi-Mate had been on ambulances since the launch of the new box type ambulances, despite no staff member seeing it or knowing about it. After pursuing this through various meetings, involving the Education & Development Department, we at UNISON were successful in ensuring all staff were trained on this vital piece of kit, and this resulted on the Pedi Mate being put on a CSR.



The UNISON Senior Sector H&S Reps are dedicated to reducing MSK Injuries and so worked tirelessly to find a Carry Chair, along with the Health, Safety & Risk Department, that would actually reduce lifting, and therefore reduce MSK injuries to staff!! After a lot of testing and trials by Operational staff and overseen by the UNISON H&S Reps, the new Ferno Compact Track Chair was introduced! With training on the new chair being delivered on the CSR courses. Following the introduction of the chair into operational practice, this has resulted in less physical lifting and so reducing MSK injuries, as identified and confirmed by reports that are now produced by the Health, Safety & Risk department



This is how we as your UNISON H&S Team can monitor any ongoing issues and challenge management with evidence based data to maintain your health, Safety and welfare.



The National vehicle Specification is a challenge for all Ambulance Services across the UK, no more than for the LAS. The UNISON Senior Sector H&S Reps along with UNISON nationally are against this, for many reasons. There will be some challenging meetings coming up in the future, in which I will fight vigorously, to maintain the health, safety and welfare of LAS staff on behalf of UNISON. I will keep you updated as to any progress in this very contentious issue.

The Trolley Bed guide is being reviewed at the moment, due to the increase in Datix’ being completed, this has come from a change in material used in the ‘Wiggle’. UNISON Senior H&S Reps are working with management as to a solution, in the meantime please continue to complete Datix’s if there are any issues with this.

Trolley bed poles are important to reduce MSK injuries as these help to reduce the need for twisting when manoeuvring trolley beds. Despite the Trust purchasing six poles with every bed it was found that ambulances were operating with inadequate numbers of poles. We led in an audit being undertaken, of the numbers of poles in operation along with a risk assessment being carried out, a substantial number of poles were found left at hospital or loose in garages, the risk assessment demonstrated that the best practice was the trolley beds should operate with four poles however the manufacturers do not specify this is the case. We pushed for the Out of Service Policy to reflect the findings, and although we would prefer it to be set at four the policy states a vehicle is OOS if they have less than two poles. To keep our members safe, we need your help, to report via PD33 when you are assigned a vehicle with two or three poles.

In addition please ensure you retrieve your poles or any other you locate at hospitals when transferring patients.

The current method of restraint on the trolley bed, being a 2 belt system, is an inadequate way of securing a patient to the trolley bed. On investigation by UNISON  Senior H&S Reps, as to why the LAS uses this method, it was found that each trolley bed comes with a 6 Point Harness, which is thrown away and replaced by the 2 belt system instead. After completing a joint risk assessment, it was deemed the 6 Point Harness was safer, and more secure in all patient positioning, than the current method. The use of the extension straps was still possible with the 6 Point Harness. It has been agreed with the Health, Safety & Risk team, this is the preferred option, and we are working with management to get them on the vehicle trolleys as soon as possible.

Hand portable radios have been an issue for many a year, not only missing radios but also batteries. We are challenging management with this, and are fighting to have a review of processes that are currently in place. Hopefully coming up with a resolution, where staff are not faced with only one radio on a DCA. Starting by having this put on the Corporate Risk register. The UNISON H&S Team are committed to ensuring your safety is paramount whilst carrying out your operational duties 




The UNISON Senior Sector H&S Reps are working with the Estates Department, following issues over the last few months with regards to works that required doing and were not being done. We have had assurance from the Estates Manager following a meeting of the UNISON H&S Team and Estates Management Team, that there will be a marked improvement, not only in works being carried out but hopefully to a better standard. This also includes improving security of stations/sites, which has been highlighted as a High Risk across the service. We at UNISON intend to keep the pressure on, in respect of these issues, to not only improve your working conditions, but also to ensure we all have a safe secure environment to work in. As well as your safety, which is paramount!!

Please remember to report/Datix any estate issues to your local UNISON H&S Rep and your Management Teams.  DO NOT leave it to someone else!!