Hartlepool's fire brigade hails low Covid-19 absence rate as success of health and safety measures

Chiefs at Hartlepool’s fire brigade have hailed their low Covid-19 absence rate is testimony to measures in place to look after the health, safety and welfare of staff.

Wednesday, 10th March 2021, 1:44 pm
Ian Hayton, chief fire officer at Cleveland Fire Brigade
Ian Hayton, chief fire officer at Cleveland Fire Brigade

The latest meeting of Cleveland Fire Authority Executive Committee heard how, as of Thursday, March 4, just 13 people were absent due to Covid-19 related issues, out of 549 members of operational and corporate staff

Brigade chiefs said one of their key priorities in tackling the Covid-19 pandemic was ensuring the health, safety and welfare of staff, along with supporting wider pandemic efforts and continuing to protect residents.

Ian Hayton, chief fire officer at the brigade, said the low numbers of workers absent due to Covid-19 was an indication of measures in place to support and protect staff.

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He said: “Looking at confirmed positive cases, we have two operational members of staff, which is very low, less than half a percent.

“We have 11 members of staff, both operational and corporate, who are self isolating for a variety of reasons, including being clinically extremely vulnerable.

“If you looked to the total in that respect, we have 13 who are affected by Covid out of a total workforce of 550, which is a complete testimony in relation to the measures we have put in place to look after the health, safety and welfare of our staff.”

In total, as of the end of last week, there were 28 members of staff who were absent from work due to sickness at the brigade, including both Covid-19 and non Covid related illnesses.

The brigade also had nobody off due to being suspected to have Covid-19, and just the two members of staff with confirmed positive cases.

Of the 11 members of staff self-isolating due to Covid-19, eight are members of operational staff, and three are corporate workers.

It comes after the fire authority audit and governance committee heard last month from April 2020 to January 2021 the number of staff sickness days taken per employee was lower than 2019/20, despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

On average 6.56 duty days have been taken due to sickness during the period this year per employee, which is 13% and 0.95 shifts lower than in 2019/20.

The main causes of absence up to the end of January, throughout the fire brigade, are mental health issues, in 25% of cases, upper limb troubles, which account for 13% of absences, followed by Covid-19, accounting for 12%.

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