Prisons: Industrial Health and Safety

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 22nd July 2019.

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Photo of Rosie Cooper Rosie Cooper Labour, West Lancashire

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to the Answer of 9 July 2019 to Question 270730 on Prisons: Industrial Health and Safety, what steps he is taking to support the physical, emotional and social well-being of prison staff who are not directly employed by HMPPS; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Robert Buckland Robert Buckland The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

HMPPS value the contribution made by external partners to HMPPS and work collaboratively with suppliers and their staff unions to ensure both the physical health and safety and the emotional well-being of non-directly employed staff in prison and probation sites.

There is a wide range of Health and Safety procedures and systems in place across the estate to control and mitigate exposures to the risks referred to.

HMPPS Health, Safety and Fire conduct workplace inspections to identify any hazards and introduce safety measures within the workplace before such hazards cause harm to all staff (whether employed directly or indirectly), offenders and visitors. This is an integral part of the HMPPS Health, Safety and Fire risk management system

In terms of emotional and social staff support, prison staff not directly employed by HMPPS can have access to the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), trauma support services and personal well-being zones. The EAP 24/7 helpline is accessible confidentially and without the need for line manager referral. The helpline provides access to counselling for work or non-work related issues, legal and consumer advice, as well as support for managers in handling of sensitive situations. These can all aid emotional and social well-being for not directly employed staff in prisons

Violence against those working in prisons will never be tolerated. The Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act received Royal Assent on 13 September and came into force on 13 November. This will increase the penalty, from 6 to 12 months, for those who assault emergency workers including prison officers. We provide post-incident care teams, occupational health support and counselling for members of staff who are assaulted while doing their jobs.

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