Prisons: Staff

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 27th May 2020.

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Photo of The Earl of Sandwich The Earl of Sandwich Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government what (1) health checks, and (2) tests, are conducted on staff working in prisons on a routine basis.

Photo of Lord Keen of Elie Lord Keen of Elie The Advocate-General for Scotland, Lords Spokesperson (Ministry of Justice)

HM Prison and Probation Service makes sure that it fully complies with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 in providing a safe place of work and safe systems of work for all of our staff working in prisons.

Prior to employment of a prison officer, a trained nurse will carry out a medical assessment and upon employment, mandatory physical fitness tests are conducted for prison officers on an annual basis. Fitness tests must be passed for the prison officer to remain fit for work.

Wellbeing days are delivered across prison, probation and HQ sites and includes weight, body fat percentage, blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol checks.

Staff receive occupational vaccinations programmes and vaccine history checks, including blood tests, to ensure prison and probation staff are protected at work. This includes Hepatitis B immunisation, the annual flu vaccine and a 24-hour helpline for suspected and actual body fluid exposure incidents in prisons and at probation sites.

In respect of Covid-19, occupational health is able to give clinical advice to managers on fitness to work. Testing is currently offered to all prison staff through a national programme delivered by the Department of Health and Social Care.

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