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Bob Mayley - G4S National Health and Safety Manager Writes for Defender

We are once again at that reflective time of year, when before going into the new year we consider what our major achievements were, but also those things we would rather put behind us.

For me, Friday October 13th was a milestone, it was the first meeting of the G4S / GMB National Health & Safety Committee. You may ask,- 'well, what will that do for me ?'

This committee will formally bring together the largest union and the largest employer in the security industry, in a constructive manner - with the common aim of improving your health & safety. There may be challenges along the way with both sides having differing views - we may not agree on mechanisms, sometimes we may not agree on basic facts, however it is important to remember that we are working together with a common purpose which in the end will support us in achieving our common aims.

"What is the committee for, what will it do?" It may be quicker and easier to say what it won't do! It isn't there to discuss minor or local issues, those issues that only affect a few employees or for matters occurring within other companies.

All those items I've listed above do have correct and proper forums for discussion, but they may be with your local H&S Committees, which we now need to establish or re-invigorate or with your own company forum. "But what will the committee actually do?" It is a Board level body - so it is there to make decisions. I will not allow it to become just a talking shop that is not an effective use of time for Officers that attend, and that ultimately does nothing for you, the membership.

To achieve this aim of making the Committee a vibrant body, that tackles the large issues facing you, the membership, I need your help. What are you the security officers within the GMB experiencing in your place of work that needs to be tackled? G4S is the largest security company in the country, and we want to focus on tackling and finding resolutions to those large issues affecting you. If you are aware of things that worry or trouble you, let your Shop Steward know, let your H&S Representative know, get in touch with your branch. Your Union will then ensure we are aware, so that together we can take action.

From my own experience within this industry, we all think we are heroes (but some of you genuinely are), we think when we get hurt "it wasn't too bad so, why should I report it". This results in severe under reporting of incidents, which in turn means that we cannot put adequate protections in place.

If you are hurt, injured, threatened or abused at work, please, please report it to your employer. Never feel it is a waste of time, if we don't know it's broken, we can't fix it.

Finally, remain vigilant, keep focused and report incidents or hazards you feel are not adequately controlled.

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