Duty of Care and the Importance of Health and Safety Inspections
Under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, all employers have a duty to protect the health, safety and welfare of their employees and anyone else who might be affected by their acts or omissions. Workplace health and safety inspections/audits help prevent injuries and illnesses as well as ensuring that as a business you are complying with statutory health and safety legislation.
Health and safety inspections also allow you to identify hazards and risks that require corrective action as well as identifying any opportunities for improvement.
What is the Purpose of a Health and Safety Inspection?
Whilst ensuring that an employer is complying with statutory law, Health and Safety inspections also provide proof of your commitment to achieving a safe and healthy workplace.
Employers should carry out inspections/audits to:
- Listen to the concerns of workers and supervisors
- Gain a further understanding of jobs and tasks
- Identify existing and potential hazards
- Monitor hazard controls (personal protective equipment, engineering controls, policies, procedures etc.)
- Ensure compliance with health and safety legislation
What Does a General Safety Inspection Involve?
A general workplace inspection/audit should look at some of the following, however please be advised that the below list is not exhaustive and is dependent on the activities carried out by the business (For example, an inspection/audit of an engineering workshop will require additional processes or procedures to that of an office environment):
- Health and safety policy – does the business have a written health and safety policy? (written policy required if you employ 5 or more people)
- Machinery – is it sufficiently inspected, maintained and guarded?
- Risk assessments – are risk assessments carried out for activities and briefed to the required personnel?
- Electricity – is PAT testing carried out? Is the fixed wire system inspected as required (usually 5 yearly)?
- Hazardous substances – are they assessed, used and stored safely?
- Manual handling – are staff adequately trained?
- Slips trips and falls – is housekeeping kept to a good standard (no trailing cables etc. particularly in walkways)?
- Fire precautions – do you have an up to date fire risk assessment, do you have the appropriate fire alarm system, fire extinguishers, evacuation plans etc.?
- Welfare and first aid – have you carried out a first aid needs assessment to identify the requirement of first aiders? Is there a fully stocked first aid box in place to cover the hazards appropriate to your work activities, are burns kits required, eye wash etc. Are toilets clean with hot and cold running water available?
The outcome of the health and safety inspection must be recorded, along with an action plan with responsibilities and timescales.
If you have any questions relating to Health and Safety Inspections/Audits or any other Health & Safety issue, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with a member of the team at HR Services Scotland on 0800 652 2610.
While employees work from home, most office functions have moved to remote operations. If your job requires the management of secure employee data, this could cause some issues related to GDPR compliance.
If you manage payroll or HR admin for employees, printing secure information from a home computer could end up costing your employer in fines and penalties.
Since GDPR was enacted in 2018, data security related to employee information is enforced when it comes to the collection, storage, and destruction of personal information.
If your job includes processing of employee information like payroll, medical benefits, or hiring new employees, or even if you’re printing notes from a meeting, the documents related to these activities could put your company’s GDPR compliance in jeopardy. Talk to your employees about the importance of data security and what can be printed.
Securing employee data and ensuring privacy is easier with cloud-based technology to manage payroll and HR admin. This allows you to:
- Access data directly from any device with no need to print reports or sensitive employee data
- Process payroll, manage appraisals, and more with integrated cloud-based tools
- Protect employee and company data
- Ensure you are following GDPR when working from home
Please note that this list is not exhaustive and you should contact your DPO if you have any GDPR concerns or queries.
If you have any questions related to this or any other HR or payroll issue, please contact our team on 0800 652 2610.
There are currently deadlines in place for CJRS (Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme) claims, where they must be submitted within 14 calendar days after the month they relate to, unless this falls on a weekend in which case the deadline is the next weekday.
From this month, HMRC will publish the names, an indication of the value of claims and Company Registration Numbers of employers who make CJRS claims for periods from December 2020
The published value of claims will be shown within a banded range.
Your employees will also be able to check if you have made a CJRS claim on their behalf through their online Personal Tax Account from 25th February 2021.
If you have any questions relating to the CJRS or any anything else related to HR or Health and Safety, please contact our team on 0800 652 2610.
From 1st April 2021, the National Minimum Wage (NMW) / National Living Wage (NLW) will increase as follows:
£8.91 per hour – 23 years old and over
£8.36 per hour – 21-22 years old
£6.56 per hour – 18-20 years old
£4.62 per hour – 16-17 years old
£4.30 per hour – for apprentices under 19 (or over 19 who are in the first year of apprenticeship)
All employers will need to check which staff are eligible for the new rates and update your payroll accordingly.
If you have any questions relating to this, then please don’t hesitate to contact our team on 0800 652 2610.
A key factor to the success of any business is communication. Without communication, not much would get done.
This is just as important while working from home than it is whilst office based. It is vital that you maintain regular contact with your team. Some of the ways this could be implemented are:
- Daily calls to check in – make sure your colleague is coping at home and don’t have more on than they can handle.
- Emails – an email a day just to let someone know that you are thinking of them or letting them know that you are there for support can go a long way.
- Team meetings – make sure these are scheduled in. Let the team see each other’s faces on screen and keep everyone informed on what is happening within the business. Have there been any changes, any new faces to meet, any news from your employees that they wish to share?
While working from home is the new normal, you may find that you miss socialising with your work colleagues more than you thought you would. Now more than ever, we need to work harder to maintain these relationships.
Here at HR Services Scotland, we have enjoyed taking part in a few of the team activities below over Zoom – we hope these help you and your team too.
- Zoom Quizzes
- Virtual Escape Rooms
- Virtual Coffee Breaks
Let us know if you use any of these ideas or have any fun suggestions for our team to try!
If you have any HR or Health & Safety issues you’d like to discuss, then please don’t hesitate to contact our team on 0800 652 2610.
Working from home is a reality for many of us due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, but many people are struggling to adjust to their home also being their work environment.
The most useful thing to do to adjust to your working life is to build a routine that matches your office-working one as closely as possible.
Starting the Right Way
Although sitting in your pyjamas all day may seem fun at first, the novelty will soon wear off, and you might end up feeling unproductive and lethargic. Without the morning routine of an office job – wake up > shower > eat > travel > work – it’s easy to start setting that alarm a little later, and you’ll find the amount of time spent ‘lying in’ increases as time goes on.
This doesn’t mean you have to wake up at 6am, and wear your normal work clothing, but you may find the transition easier if you do wake up early enough to leave time to have a shower and get changed to start work at the same time you usually would.
It is also good to keep to your usual eating routine. If you would usually have breakfast, lunch and dinner at a set time, try to still eat at these times. This includes actually taking the time you are usually allowed for lunch to step away from your screen and take a proper break. Taking regular breaks away from your computer will ensure you stay as focused and productive as possible.
One of the most common issues people often mention is not being able to ‘switch off’ after they have finished when working from home. It’s easier to switch off from work when you leave your office and travel back to your house as this provides a change of scenery and some time to switch off. When you are working and living in your house however, the lines can blur. It’s important you find something to do to signify the end of your working day and the start of your evening. This could be a workout, shutting down your laptop and making dinner, going for a walk or picking up a book to read.
Keeping to a routine will help you feel more productive and hopefully feel more mentally positive in this worrying time.
If you have any HR or Health and Safety related issues, please contact our team on 0800 652 2610.
Given the recent Government announcements on increasing national restrictions amidst the Coronavirus pandemic crisis, there is an ongoing debate about the merits and effectiveness of working remotely versus working in a traditional office building. Recent research indicates that more than half of workers are reluctant to return to the office. Adaptation to remote working, returning to work and a hybrid model will continue to evolve, albeit at a far more rapid pace in the 2020s than it did in the 2010s.
On Tuesday 22nd September 2020, the First Minister of Scotland announced that car sharing should no longer be carried out and businesses are urged to avoid car sharing, where possible.
The Scottish Government website has clarified this and says:
- “You should only car share with members of your own, or extended, household, and follow guidance when there is no alternative”
How will this effect businesses where multiple staff will travel in the same vehicle?
It is recognised that there may be situations where driving for work requires multiple people to be within the one vehicle, in this instance, the business is required to carry out a risk assessment and implement suitable control measures.
On such occasions, you should:
- Keep to small groups of people
- Keep your distance and take care entering and exiting the vehicle
- Sit as far apart as possible in the vehicle, avoiding face-to-face
- Maintain good ventilation by keeping the car windows open (where possible)
- Wear a face-covering for the duration of the journey
- Clean your hands before and after your journey and utilise hand sanitiser
- If the vehicle is your responsibility, clean the door handles and other areas that people touch
- If you regularly share transport whether it is a car, van, lorry etc. try and share with the same people each time
The emphasis will be on the employer who will need to demonstrate that there was no other reasonable alternative and are required to mitigate any risks of cross infection between driver and passenger(s).
If we can help you with this or any other Health and Safety issue, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our Health and Safety Team on 0800 652 2610 – select option 2 for Health and Safety.
Conducting a Covid-19 risk assessment is both a necessary and vital part of managing infection within your organisation. However, your responsibilities extend far beyond that. When your staff return, it is your responsibility to implement and enforce the control measures set out in the assessment i.e. ensuring social distancing, providing hand sanitising stations, ensuring PPE is available etc.
The team at HR Services Scotland Ltd are delighted to have achieved BSI certification on our Associate Consultant Membership. This is awarded based on evidence of projects delivered, training, competency and experience against the standards included on the certificate.
The standards to which our consultancy services are included are as follows: