POA Circulars

167 | 29.11.2011

30th November 2011

Following the promulgation of POA Circular 166/2011 the National Executive Committee determined that the following information should be promulgated to all branches. 

It is NOMS responsibility and that of the Prison Governor to ensure that all staff working in prisons have a safe working environment. This obligation derives from the common law and also statute, including the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and various regulations made under the Act.

Statute also provides that employees who take certain action to remove themselves from danger in circumstances of “serious and imminent danger” have protection against being unfairly dismissed.

Members and branches should rely on assurances given by their Governor about contingency plans concerning health and safety. It is difficult to anticipate or describe with certainty what a situation of “serious and imminent danger” might be, but generally it will be something entirely unexpected like a fire, or collapse of a building. Members and branches should not try and second guess contingency plans or risk assessments although they should engage in assisting in producing them so that all eventualities can be covered. Members should follow reasonable instructions from management.

Yours sincerely


National Chairman