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TWO health boards in south Wales have been given warnings for breaching health and safety law.

The Health and Safety Execuctive (HSE) issued Hywel Dda University Health Board eight improvement notices last year for not doing enough to protect staff from violence and aggression, and from manual handling and sharp medical object injuries.

The HSE also issued Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board with nine similar notices in 2018-19, two specifically relating to portering staff and one to theatre staff.

Three more improvement notices have been issued this financial year to Swansea University Health Board, which replaced Abertawe Bro Morgannwg in April 2019.

Darren Griffiths, Swansea Bay University Health Board’s assistant director of performance and finance, said it took health and safety very seriously.

“When the HSE notified us about issues in relation to violence and aggression and manual handling, we took immediate action, working with our staff, staff side and stakeholders to robustly address them,” he said.

A response team was set up, he said, and the health board’s health and safety committee provided extra oversight and scrutiny to ensure work was done.

The spokesman added: “We can confirm the HSE has informed us we have complied fully with all notices.”

A Hywel Dda University Health Board spokesman said the HSE had found some good practice and committed staff, as well as the breaches, when it visited last July.

He said the improvement notices were for manual handling policy implementation, risk assessment for violence and aggression and for manual handling risks, manual handling of health records and laundry bags, and preventing and controlling injuries to employees and others from the use of sharp medical instruments.

The spokesman said: “We have developed a full action plan to address the issues identified by the HSE and have established a number of different working groups to assist with robust implementation of the agreed actions.

“The board are monitoring the implementation of the action plan to ensure that the timescales set by the HSE are met.”

The breaches were among 40 reported by health trusts and boards in England Wales since April 2018, according to the Health Service Journal.

There are five main pieces of health and safety law which are relevant to violence at work.

According to the HSE, there is a high level of under-reporting of violence and aggression within the health and social care sector.

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