Monthly Archives: December 2014

A Merry Christmas Wish!

It’s that time of year again when friends and family think about the Christmases of the past and plan for the coming holiday with their loved ones in mind. As we reflect on this wonderful holiday, we must keep in mind that Christmas is not just any holiday but may be the most important one of the year for some people.

It is a time for remembering, a time to share the goodness of your heart with others, and for expressing with words and gifts what someone means to you. It is a chance to make wishes come true and to give something from your heart. It is a chance to give a message that will express love and caring to the ones we care about the most. As you write your messages, take the time to make a Christmas wish for each and every person on your list.

Walker Health and Safety Services wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy new Year!

(Instead of purchasing Christmas Cards, we have donated to the Telford Food Bank.)



Planning Your Festive Event? 7 Top Tips for a Hassle-free Christmas Party

Organising the Christmas party can often be a headache, rather than a celebration. You need to be aware of potential risks such as sexual harassment, religious discrimination, alcohol-fuelled fights and post-party absenteeism. But by taking simple steps to ensure you protect your employees’ wellbeing, you can avoid the potential for costly litigation should things go wrong.

7 Tips for Managing the Office Party

  1. If you choose to hold the event externally, choose somewhere that is safe and is easy to access for your employees. Ask to reserve a dedicated area that will remain under your control throughout the event.
  2. Remind everyone of your policies, so that people know the company rules apply outside the office too. When it comes to social networking and uploading photographs, ensure your policy on email and internet usage extends to work-related events.
  3. As an employer, you could be held responsible for an employee driving home after an office party, so look at how employees will get home. Prior to the event, you can issue advice about not drinking and driving and remind employees to organise their trip home. You could also provide them with the numbers of local taxi firms. Advise staff that they should drink in moderation. Consider using a ticketing system to limit the free alcohol and provide non-alcoholic drinks for young workers and the teetotal, and to curb excess drinking.
  4. Be clear about your expectations regarding absence from work the morning after. Staff should know the extent to which you will be lenient about coming to work late.
  5. Ask employees about any dietary requirements, e.g. allergies, vegetarian or diabetic, so that these can be catered for.
  6. Keep fresh party food in the fridge, e.g. meats, trifles, cheese and do not leave them out at room temperature for more than 4 hours, otherwise, they can make people ill.
  7. Make clear what is and what is not acceptable behaviour and inform staff of the procedures and consequences should their behaviour be unacceptable. Ask some senior members of staff to be alcohol free so that they can deal with any unacceptable behaviour that arises.

Planning health and safety before the event will help things run smoothly, so remember to relax and enjoy the festivities!

The five essential elements of driver risk management

Do your staff drive on business? If so there are certain activities that all employers must undertake as part of their duty of care under current health and safety at work legislation.

1. Employer Risk Assessment

Under the Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations, employers are required by law to carry out a written assessment of the risk involved in asking staff to drive on business – risk both to the drivers and other road users.

2. Safer Driver Policy

This sets out the rules that your drivers must follow and includes things like your rules on mobile phone use, guidance for vehicle checks and alcohol awareness. It also needs to explain your employees’ responsibilities for driving safely, informing you of collisions and convictions, and making sure they understand why they will need to have business cover added to their private motor insurance if they ever use their own car for a business journey. The policy must be detailed, comprehensive and robust – one or two pages of bullet points is not sufficient. Happy with your policy? It then needs communicating effectively to all drivers to make sure they understand what standards are expected. A handbook is a good idea but you may also like to supplement this with monthly emails or toolbox talks to reinforce their awareness in specific areas.

3. Licence Monitoring

Employers MUST check that their drivers are correctly licenced to drive the vehicle in question and that they do not have any convictions, restrictions or disqualifications that mean they shouldn’t be driving. Many companies visually check driving licences on joining, or even annually but this is often not considered a sufficiently compliant activity in court due to the potential for fraud. Employers should look to monitor licences on a regular basis directly against the DVLA database.

4. Driver Risk Assessment

Employers should risk profile their drivers to ensure competence (especially where new recruits or graduates are concerned) and to assess whether drivers may be at greater risk from driving higher mileages, the types of road they use, the times of day they commonly drive and the length of their working day as well as many other variables such as their job role and the type of vehicle they drive.

5. Record Keeping

Finally it is absolutely essential to have a solid audit trail. In the event of a serious collision, the police will want to see adequate record keeping for all of the above activities in relation to the driver concerned.

Get the above activities sorted out and you’ll be well on your way to being a compliant business.

Contact us should you require assistance.