Monthly Archives: April 2014

H&S Update

Health and safety legislation update: April 2014  

This health and safety legislation update looks at the changes which came into force this month and which are expected in the coming year, as well as providing further information and resources that will help you prepare for these changes.

The timetable of changes includes:

Health and safety law poster
Employers have a legal duty under the Health and Safety Information for Employees Regulations 1989 to display the approved poster in a prominent position. When the new version of the poster was published in 2009, employers were given a five year transition period to transfer to the new poster. Therefore from April 2014, the new (2009) version must be displayed

The Health and Safety (Miscellaneous Repeals and Revocations) Regulations 2014
Amendment to the Factories Act 1961 and Offices, Shops & Railways Premises Act 1963 and the revocation of a further 10 regulations associate with the Acts.

Later in 2014

The Deregulation Act 2014
The Deregulation Bill is currently making its way through parliament and the resultant Deregulation Act 2014 should come into force, later in 2014, possibly in October.

Revision of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations and Approved Code of Practice
A radical overhaul of the CDM regulations is being consulted on with respondents given until 6 June 2014 to comment on the proposals. The planned changes would align the regulations with the minimum requirements of the Temporary & Mobile Construction Sites (TMCS) Directive. Industry specialists will be encouraged to develop sector specific guidance.

If you require advice about any of the regulations, please contact us!

 

 

Five questions to ask about the personal safety of your staff

In any business, some members of staff will me more at risk from violence, crime and abuse.

Here are five key questions to determine where the risks lie within your organisation:

  • Do your employees carry out any tasks that could put them at risk? For example – Do they deal with cash or carry expensive gadgets?
  • Could the location where your employees work put them at risk? For example – Do they work in remote locations or high crime areas? Are they in frontline positions, such as on reception, alone for all or part of the day?
  • Does someone in the organisation know where they are and who they are with at all times – and if they don’t return to the office/respond to your calls/arrive at an appointment when expected, does their manager/colleagues know what action to take?
  • Have any staff who may have to deal with violence and aggression had sufficient training in how to defuse it or contain it until they can either exit the situation or help can get to them?
  • Is there a suitable written personal safety policy in place within the organisation, which specifies identified risks to staff and how they are to be managed? And do the managers and staff know about it?

Contact us if you would like assistance…

Manage Stress in Your Workplace

You need to establish if stress is a problem in your workplace by carrying out a risk assessment – either collectively or at individual level. Whilst systems should be in place to manage personal differences, you should give priority to collective protection measures over individual ones.

The HSE Management Standards, otherwise known as ‘hazards’, cover the six primary sources of stress at work: demands, control, support, relationships, role and change. The standards incorporate a number of features to help reduce the causes of stress which, if not properly managed, would produce negative outcomes for staff.

Top Tips for Managing Stress in Your Workplace

  1. Demands. Ensure there are sufficient resources available for employees to do their job. You can support your staff by helping them prioritise or renegotiate deadlines and adjust their work patterns to cope with peaks.
  2. Control. Giving staff some flexibility or control over their own work significantly helps to reduce potential stress. Examples may include the sequence in which your staff carry out their work, their ability to use their own initiative or working creatively with people / tasks. Aim to reduce repetitive duties within workloads and give people the opportunity to participate in meetings.
  3. Support. Give support and encouragement, even if things go wrong, and encourage staff to share their concerns about work-related stress at an early stage. Hold regular meetings and one-to-one talks to discuss pressures. Ask your employees how they would like to access your support, such as an ‘open door’ policy or an agreed time to discuss emerging pressures. Often, a combination of internal and external support works best. Charities such as MIND can offer staff free advice.
  4. Relationships. Work in partnership with your staff to ensure that bullying and harassment don’t become an issue. Create a culture where members of the team trust each other and encourage them to recognise the individual contributions of other team members.
  5. Role. Make sure your staff have a clearly defined role. If your company is going through change, check that everyone understands their new roles and individual tasks.
  6. Change. Change itself is not a bad thing. However, it is essential to have a structure in place so employees are informed and consulted, particularly if redundancy is a possibility.

While stress isn’t necessarily an illness in itself, mental or physical illness can develop if stress is prolonged and / or excessive. Stress is a serious workplace matter which has profound legal consequences for employers. Take steps to manage it now to protect your staff and stay legally compliant.

Contact us for advice.