Issuing and managing PPE
You’ve decided that staff need PPE and have spent time selecting suitable items. But before you hand them out, it’s worth considering the next steps.
Using personal protective equipment (PPE) as a means of controlling risks to health and safety is not as simple as it first appears. Even if you’ve managed to choose something which suits the task and fits the individual, there are still hurdles to overcome, e.g. ensuring it is stored properly and getting staff to wear it. These difficulties are summed up in the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 and the official guidance which supports them.
Keeping a lid on workplace pranks
When staff are in good spirits it makes for a pleasant work environment. However, if staff begin to play pranks on each other it can go too far. One case includes an employee being struck on the head by a claw-hammer which had been thrown by his boss as a joke.
In addition to the physical injuries caused by pranks, being victimised at work can have an impact on mental health. An inquest in Reading heard how a mechanic at Reading Audi killed himself partly due to repeated abuse from colleagues, which included being locked in a cage and set alight, being pressure washed and driven around in the boot of a car.
Allowing assaults to take place is not and option. If such insidious bullying is taking place, take action, as the management of this garage did after the event.
Could you have to pay out?
A factor which will be considered should your business be taken to court is whether the acts of staff are something which should have been anticipated. If there’s evidence of similar events in the past, it’s more likely that the employer will be held responsible. One-off incidents are unlikely to attract liability.
Make sure that your terms and conditions of employment ban horseplay and classify it as a disciplinary offence.
Ask your human resources advisor to assist in investigating any complaint of bullying, assault, horseplay or harassment.
Catering safely sheets updated
The HSE has updated a number of its catering information sheets which advise on the management of common hazards experienced in the sector. They’ve been produced with input from the Hospitality and Catering Industry Liaison Forum, which has members from trade and professional associations, unions and enforcement authorities.
Following the guidance will stand you in good stead as it’s based on legal requirements.
The updated documents are free to download and cover: (1) use of cleaning chemicals; (2) ventilation of kitchens; (3) maintenance of catering facilities and equipment; (4) emptying and cleaning fat fryers; (5) preventing back pain and other pains in staff; and (6) gas safety.