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News & Updates

Broadcast December 2020

Welcome to this month’s Broadcast, where we have a message from one of our Directors and updates from our HR, Compliance and Health & Safety teams.

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Well, that wasn’t quite the 20th year in business we were expecting!

Buying a new company in February before heading into a lockdown in March certainly wasn’t in the business plan, nor was working from home and trying to support our clients and team while home schooling, like the rest of the UK. As always we’ve done what we do best, we have pushed forward. Like every year previously, our team has been there to support and guide our clients through any issues that they may have had, and continued to be #oneoftheteam, even while socially distancing.

Your ongoing commitment to Stallard Kane throughout 2020 demonstrates that we are providing a service that people trust and value, and for that we thank you.

The only reason any of this is possible is due to the dedication of everyone within the Stallard Kane Group.

I’m incredibly proud of each and every person who is part of the Stallard Kane team; the resilience they have shown while working from home, dealing with increased calls filled with uncertainty from our clients in the midst of a full lockdown, attending site to ensure their compliance and make their premises safe, doing everything they can to ensure that we keep moving forward.

This is very much a thank you to both our clients and our team.

Maybe our 21st year in business will be a little more relaxed…? I hope you have a merry Christmas and a very happy new year.

Carl


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HR UPDATE: Holidays – clearing up the confusion

As we are fast approaching the festive period, so here is a recap on the guidance around staff holidays and what you can do for those who have a high number of outstanding holidays to use before the end of the holiday year. 

Holidays whilst on Furlough

Employees can book holidays as normal (as per the company’s Holiday Rules, Policy and Procedures) whilst on either of the furlough schemes.

Employees should receive their full rate of pay for any period of holiday. Should an employee book holidays during furlough, the Company is still able to claim 80% of the employee’s pay through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, however, they are liable to top up the remaining 20%, so the employee receives full pay for any period of holiday. 

On this basis, the forthcoming Christmas and New Year bank holidays can still be taken during a furlough period. The Company will still be able to claim for 80% of the employee’s wage for that day, however as it is a day’s holiday, the Company should top up the remaining 20%.

Enforcing a period of holiday

Employers can enforce a period of holiday during a furlough period. In order to do so, employers must give employees double the amount of notice as per the number of days holiday they require the employee to take. For example, if the Company wishes to impose 5 days holiday, they are required to give at least 10 days notice.

Employers can also enforce a period of holiday just the same for workers who are not on furlough. This may be the preference, rather than allowing employees to carry over outstanding holiday entitlement. The same rules regarding notice will apply. 

Carrying over untaken holidays

Employees can carry over untaken holidays into the next holiday year.  The Government has introduced a new law allowing employees who, because of the Coronavirus pandemic, have been unable to take their statutory annual leave entitlement this year, to carry over up to four weeks unused leave into the next two holiday years. Also, any of the untaken 8 bank holidays can be carried over for one year.  

Please keep in mind that there is no requirement to allow employees to carry over holidays if they have had the opportunity to book holiday and have failed to do so.

This means that for those on furlough who have had the opportunity to take their holiday this year but have failed to do so, the Company does not have to allow the carry forward of outstanding days. It is worth companies advising furloughed employees of this fact and give them the opportunity to book their holidays before the end of the year accordingly.

Start of a new holiday year

Planning for the next holiday year. For many Companies, January marks the start of a new holiday year. Employers should review their holiday policy for the forthcoming holiday year and share this with staff, with a view of ensuring all employees know the rules and expectations in regard to submitting holiday requests for the year ahead. 

It may be that employers wish to amend holiday request forms to ask if the employee has any intention of travelling abroad. In the current circumstances, this may determine whether the holiday request is authorised or declined (employers are within their right to refuse a holiday request, as long as the Company has a formal holiday procedure which states holidays must be authorised). It may also be worth outlining clear guidance on the Company’s stance as to what options are available to employees when returning from a country, if they are required to quarantine. Employees who are required to quarantine are not entitled to SSP and may have to take unpaid leave.  

If you need further advice, please contact your advisor, call 01427 678 660 or email hr@skaltd.co.uk


COMPLIANCE UPDATE: What do you call a genie made of asbestos?

A Carcinojinn.

Now you have stopped laughing and wiped the tears away from your eyes (like I have), let me take you through the seemingly confusing world of asbestos management.

Picture yourself for a moment. You are good-looking, successful, a dutyholder in their prime – you lucky devil you. What does asbestos management possibly have to do with you? 

“All dutyholders must manage the risk from asbestos on the premises”
– Regulation 4 – Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012

Now you know why – but how do you go about achieving compliance with the regulations?

Identify asbestos within your premises

This can be done by undertaking an asbestos management survey. The survey is intended to identify any asbestos that may be disturbed during normal occupancy and foreseeable maintenance tasks. It involves minor damage, and suitably trained and competent surveyors will take samples if they identify any suspect materials.

Develop an Asbestos Management Plan (AMP)

You have the latest management survey in hand – excellent! Now you can begin to develop the AMP. This will identify:

  • The persons responsible for managing asbestos risk on site
  • A copy of the asbestos register and how it can be accessed if kept electronically
  • Instructions detailing how any future work on the fabric of the building will be facilitated
  • The schedule of monitoring the condition of asbestos containing materials
  • Emergency procedures in the event of asbestos disturbance or exposure
  • How the management plan will be communicated/reviewed
  • Priority risk assessments

A good AMP will help drastically minimise the risk of exposure to asbestos to employees, contractors, visitors, and members of the public.

Plan any remedial actions

You have put together an asbestos management plan – amazing! Now you can clearly see what asbestos you have on site and what condition it is in. Where asbestos has been identified in a poor condition or presents an unacceptable risk, you are now able to ensure the ACMs on site are either made safe or removed – keeping in line with your legal duty to manage asbestos.

It is strongly recommended that any removals or repairs are done using a Licensed Asbestos Removal Contractor (LARC)

Communicate the risk

Once you have all the asbestos information for your site, you need to make sure that anyone who needs it – receives it. This can be in the form of a hard copy or electronic copy. It is simple to do and can save someone being exposed to asbestos!

Train your staff

Training is a vital part of your asbestos compliance and simple to do. Anyone who may disturb asbestos during their work should undertake asbestos awareness training. This will give your team the knowledge and confidence to work safely when there is asbestos in vicinity. 

Don’t forget that SK Training can help with this – email training@skaltd.co.uk and someone will get back to you to discuss your requirements

Regularly review

Your AMP is a live document and should be reviewed regularly. This needs to happen whenever there is an asbestos disturbance, exposure, change of building structure, reinspection where changes have been identified, and removal or repair. All identified/presumed asbestos containing materials must be reinspected regularly – normally no later than every 12 months. 

Now I know what you are thinking:

“Tim, you make it sound simple but is it really that easy?”. 

Yes, it really is! But if you are not convinced, call SK Compliance today where our experienced team can advise, guide, and even walk you through the whole process.

Need an asbestos survey? Need asbestos removed? Need an Asbestos Management Plan? Completely stuck and still have no idea? SK Compliance can help.
Call us on 01427 678660. Not a fan of phone calls? Email us at compliance@skaltd.co.uk


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H&S UPDATE: Workplace Exposure Monitoring and Health Surveillance

How to identify and manage occupational health risks

The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, subsequent regulations, and other legislation place a duty on employers to safeguard the health and wellbeing of people at work, and those who may be affected by their work, such as visitors and contractors. 

There is no specific requirement in UK law for an employer to buy in or provide occupational health services. However, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 require employees to be provided with such health surveillance as is appropriate, having regard to the hazards the employees may be exposed to, and risks to their health and safety identified by a risk assessment. In addition, there are specific requirements for health surveillance in several health and safety regulations, which include the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002, the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005 or the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005. 

In their ‘Helping Great Britain work well: A new health and safety system strategy’ (HSE, 2016), HSE identified highlighting and tackling the costs of work-related ill health as one of their six long-term strategic themes. 

With 12,000 lung disease deaths each year estimated to be linked to past exposures at work, and 1.6 million workers suffering from work-related ill health (new or long-standing) in 2019/20 (HSE, 2020), it is no surprise that early prevention of work-related ill health is on the top of HSE’s priorities. 

The HSE are clear in their expectations that companies must manage health risks exactly the same way and with the same urgency as they manage safety related risks. 

The first step to be taken in order to safeguard employees’ health, is to identify occupational health hazards present in the workplace and the individuals that may be affected by these. 

What are the main health hazards at work? 

Health hazards at work can be grouped within six main categories:

  • Physical: Vibration, noise, ionising and non-ionising radiation
  • Chemical: Substances that may be inhaled, ingested, absorbed or injected
  • Biological: Zoonoses, tetanus, legionnaires disease, sewage, contaminated body fluids
  • Ergonomic: Manual handling, display screen equipment, repetitive tasks, confined spaces
  • Environmental: Heat and cold, outdoor work, lone working
  • Psychosocial: Stress, trauma, bullying, harassment

Where can these hazards be found? 

  • Some can be found within the workplace – asbestos within ceilings, air-conditioning units
  • Some can be brought into the workplace – chemicals to be used as part of work processes, the public
  • Some can be created in the workplace by activities carried out – noise, fumes, physical and psychological stresses

Who may be harmed and how?

  • Employees – in general, in certain work areas and departments, undertaking certain work activities
  • Vulnerable individuals – new or expectant mothers, disabled employees or applicants, those with underlying health conditions, young or older workers
  • In certain circumstances, harm may be gender specific (male or female)
  • Lifestyle factors – those who are overweight or smokers

Once the occupational hazards are identified, the associated risks must be assessed, and the degree of exposure identified. 

Apart from sickness absence data and accident records, results of workplace exposure monitoring and health surveillance are the main tools organisations can use to assess the extent of the occupational risks to their employees, as well as to monitor the health of employees and the efficiency of their health risk management.

Identifying, measuring, monitoring and managing health hazards often requires specialist skills, expertise and equipment, as well as time and effort across an organisation. 

SKA Compliance can assist with workplace exposure monitoring. We can complete full vibration, noise, dust and fume exposure monitoring in the workplace to assess the adequacy of existing controls during specific tasks. In order to best protect the employees, a full report is provided with measurement results, action plans and recommendations.

More information:
HSE, 2016. Helping Great Britain work well. 
HSE, 2020. Work-related ill health and occupational disease in Great Britain.

If you need further help or advice, contact your advisor, call 01427 678 660 or email healthandsafety@skaltd.co.uk