Making sure the work environment is safe

Winter has slammed into the UK with a vengeance this year, with record snowfalls and Arctic winds blasting the length of Britain. It can be difficult enough trying to get through hazardous weather conditions to reach work on time, but what if when you get there the office is only marginally warmer than the outside temperature? Here’s a quick guide to your employer’s obligations when it comes to creating and maintaining a safe working environment during cold weather. The legal requirements Despite what a lot of people think, there is…

Workplace temperatures: It’s too cold in here!

Recent weather forecasts are predicting a cold winter this year with rumours of potentially Arctic conditions. If the worst does happen and temperatures plummet to well below freezing, do employees have the right to go home? Whilst we can't say whether the predicted Arctic conditions will materialise, it is well worth employers being aware of what the law says on minimum working temperatures and whether employees have the legal right to go home. Minimum legal temperatures The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, which cover workplace temperatures, have, since…

Health and safety rulings reflect new penalties coming soon

Courts move towards higher tariffs on health and safety breaches. Two high profile health and safety court rulings have caught the headlines this month, but the penalties imposed reflect the expected shift towards higher tariffs and businesses need to sit up and take notice say experts. First, fashion retailer Hugo Boss UK Limited was fined £1.2 million with costs of nearly £47,000 following a prosecution relating to a fatal incident at one of the brand’s outlets in June 2013, when a small child died after a free-standing mirror fell on…

Keeping workers updated on new health and safety standards

A worker who was dismissed after failing to follow new health and safety guidelines has won his claim for unfair dismissal in the Court of Appeal. The decision is a warning to companies that it is not enough to issue new procedures and risk assessment requirements, without making sure that employees are fully aware of the changes and are properly trained. The case of Newbound v Thames Water Utilities involved a long-serving and experienced sewer worker, who was summarily dismissed after an incident in which he entered a sewer to…

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