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Our 20th Anniversary Newsletter

May /June 2020:  NL4                                      

 

Welcome to our 20th Anniversary Newsletter, please excuse our indulgence with elements of reflective nostalgia, there is a blend of past and present. We wanted to celebrate our milestone and remember how it all started and what we will offer going forward.

It is still very strange times that we continue to live in, although it appears that this month (June) we will start to see some semblance of a partial return to a “new normal” as more of the restrictions are eased, and more businesses are returning to active trading again. A “New Normal” whatever that means remains to be seen. It will however, offer new challenges. We will still be dealing with an active virus that currently has no cure therefore we must be alert to any unnecessary dangers our working practices pose to others; we appear to be innovative and are adapting to many of these challenges already. There is plenty of advice out there from HSE and other organisations. Some of that advice will follow in this Newsletter. I am encouraged that there is very much a spirit of wanting to get things moving again as quickly and safely as we can.

 

For us at Junction 17 the model that business will be following going forward, is very different from when we started the company in June 2000.

In this edition as we celebrate our 20th anniversary on the 1st June. We would like to thank all our friends, colleagues, and clients, past present and future for supporting us over the last twenty years and we hope through the years yet to come.

 

A very big thank you to you all, we couldn’t have achieved this mile stone without you.

Junction 17, very much look forward to continuing to work with our clients, providing a variety of training solutions and support. We as a company have always tried to be flexible in our support and delivery, we intend that approach to continue. Junction 17 have been fortunate that our training teams share our values. There is no doubt our successes in the last 20 years have in no small way developed because of their flexibility and support.

 

                       June 2020

This Newsletter does carry some current news and information. As the Government has started to make some minor changes to the lockdown rules, and are encouraging people to return to work where they can. I have included some advice offered to employers by DAC Beachcroft. They advise of things we all need to consider in making our work places as safe as we can against this virus.

 

First of all though, I thought it may be fun to look back at what we were doing back in 2000, what difficulties we were all facing then and what other memorable events have taken place in the last 20 years.

 

2000

The start of a New Millennium

 

With the dawn of the year 2000 businesses were worried that their computers may fail.

 

The Y2K problem is now seen as a bit of a joke – but only a fool would be complacent about the vulnerability of IT systems.

 ‘There were many failures in January 2000, from the significant to the trivial.’ Millennium celebrations on Westminster Bridge, London. Photograph: Gary Calton/The Observer

On New Year’s Eve 20 years ago, Scottish air traffic controllers called the emergency room in London to say their radar had failed as they could see no aircraft. The radar was actually working perfectly. All flights had been cancelled because of fears that planes or airports would fail at midnight because of the “millennium bug”. Around the world, plenty of other people were anxious too.

The first signs of this “Y2K problem” or the Year 2000 bug had appeared 12 years earlier in 1988 when a batch of tinned meat was rejected by a supermarket because it appeared to be more than 80 years past its use-by date. Four years later, Mary Bandar of Winona, Minnesota, was invited to join a kindergarten class because according to a computer she was four. Aged 104, she decided against.

Since 1951, when Joe Lyons introduced the world’s first business computers to manage their bakeries and cafes, dates had been abbreviated in computer data. To save space and speed up processing, the century was omitted, so January 1900 was 01/00 and December 1999 was 12/99, just as it still is on the front of credit cards today.

Apocalypse was avoided in 2000 because we worked through the problems.  It will still be avoided in 2020 as we work through the Covid Crisis. It has been an entity we have never faced before but we are a resourceful society and Junction 17 intend to offer support to our clients throughout 2020 and beyond. We look forward to working alongside you as we all return to our workplaces in the next few months.   

                                                                

These were some of the cars that were available to us in 2000.

Thursday 1st June 2000 saw the launch of Junction 17 Defensive Driver Training Ltd.

 

 

 

From our official humble beginnings on Thursday 1st June 2000 we have delivered training all over the UK and into Europe. 

How did it all start:

The Directors John Dutton and Peter Coppenhall have been friends since childhood, they both joined Cheshire Police in the early 1970’s their careers took them to different divisions. Although they never served together during their 30-year tenure with Cheshire Police, they did both serve in Road Policing Departments (Traffic Policing as it was then) Peter in Crewe Division (Section, Traffic and Firearms) John in Northwich Division (Section, Traffic and then the Motorway) 

John was seriously injured in 1995 having been involved in a collision on the Motorway and retired from the Police in October 1998. Retraining as a driver trainer in 1999 he set up a driver training school. In 1999 he joined up with Peter who was still serving and delivering a driver training course to the public to reduce collisions in the Crewe Division.

 

In Peters role as Road Safety Officer Crewe Division he developed a series of lectures delivered at South Cheshire College. This is an excerpt of a news report from that time.

A LIFE saving driving course run by Crewe's South Cheshire College has come into the computer age.

The Wheelwise scheme, which helps teach young drivers’ better skills, has been relaunched after its major success last year.

And the police aided scheme has also been developed into a user-friendly CD Rom to help students.

Wheelwise tutor PC Peter Coppenhall of Crewe Police said: "Young drivers between the ages of 17 and 25 make up only 10 per cent of all license holders, yet 20 per cent of all accidents involve this same group of people.

"The majority of these accidents are caused by a lack of experience and skill, and Wheelwise aims to address this by promoting safe and sensible driving techniques."

Current figures seem to indicate that increased driver education in Crewe and Nantwich has reduced accident statistics.

In 1995, 21 people died in road traffic accidents in the borough. This was reduced to 10 in 1996, and so far this year they have reached an all-time low of three.

More than 120 people have completed the course, and it has proved so popular that the college is launching adult and senior courses.

Cheshire Constabulary presented the college with six copies of the Wheelwise CD Rom, produced by Brighouse company Fourth Dimension Interactive, for students to use on site.

The six-week Wheelwise course includes four theory lectures on safety, driver development, risk assessment and controlling a car in dangerous conditions, followed by practical demonstrations and skid pan practice.

The course is sponsored by local car dealers Grassmere and Robert Eardley.

John and Peter joined forces and set up Junction 17 Defensive Driver Training Ltd in June 2000 delivering a variety of Driver Training solutions nationwide. Many of the training packages were based around the Wheelwise course. Over the next 20 years they developed a variety of training solutions for clients and expanded their training team to meet the various demands their clients posed. They are still dynamic in their approach to road safety and business demands.  2020 is no exception to their development of the company. During this period of global disruption with Covid 19, they have realised that the demands for training and client support have changed. They have been developing new packages and support structures, we will cover these in detail in our next newsletter in greater detail. We have set up remote training to support drivers with their Driver CPC if you require this please don’t hesitate to contact our office to book on the next available course.

Some Trivia facts about covering the last 20 years.

We share our Birthday with:

  • Marylin Monroe (1926-1962 Actress/model)
  • Bob Monkhouse (1928-2003 Comedian/Actor)
  • Edward Woodward (1930 – 2009 Actor)
  • Morgan Freeman (1937 - Actor )
  • Robert Powell (1944 - Actor)
  • Ronnie Wood (1947 – Rolling Stones)
  • Jason Donovan (1968 – Actor /Singer)
  • Heidi Klum (1973 – Model/Actress/Designer)
  • Willow Shields (2000 – American Actress)

I think we also had a bit of a baby boom in 2000.

How many babies were born on June 1, 2000?

Base on the data published by the United Nations Population Division, an estimated 130,960,864 babies were born throughout the world in the year 2000. The estimated number of babies born on 1st June 2000 is 357,817. That’s equivalent to 248 babies every minute. Try to imagine if all of them are crying at the same time.

The World population:2000 world population: 6,088,571,383 The current world population is 7.8 billion as of May 2020 an increase of just short of 2 billion people.

2020

Glastonbury Cancelled

(18th March 2020)

We are so sorry to announce this, but Glastonbury 2020 will have to be cancelled, and this will be an enforced fallow year for the Festival.

Clearly this was not a course of action we hoped to take for our 50th anniversary event, but following the new government measures announced this week – and in times of such unprecedented uncertainty – this is now our only viable option.

We very much hope that the situation in the UK will have improved enormously by the end of June. But even if it has, we are no longer able to spend the next three months with thousands of crew here on the farm, helping us with the enormous job of building the infrastructure and attractions needed to welcome more than 200,000 people to a temporary city in these fields.

We would like to send our sincere apologies to the 135,000 people who have already paid a deposit for a Glastonbury 2020 ticket. The balance payments on those tickets were due at the beginning of April and we wanted to make a firm decision before then.

 

At Least Glastonbury went ahead in 2000 

 

 

Number one in the Charts in May 2000 was:

 

"Maria Maria"      performed by: Santana featuring The Product G&B

 

 

Number one in the charts 2020 is:        “You’ll Never Walk Alone”

 

Captain Sir Tom Moore and Michael Ball singing “You’ll never Walk Alone”

Captain Tom Moore (Now Colonel Sir Tom Moore) The face of the Corona Virus fund raising for the NHS having topped £32 million

He also achieved number one spot as he turned 100 years old.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News and Information for 2020

 

     (issued 29th may 2020)

Drivers' hours rules update

As part of the Government’s effort to keep supply chains moving throughout the coronavirus outbreak, the Government announced a temporary measure to relax the enforcement of both the EU and GB drivers’ hours rules until 31 May 2020.

Following a review, the Department for Transport has confirmed that the temporary relaxation to the EU drivers’ hours rules will not be extended and will end at 23:59 on 31 May 2020.

The relaxation to domestic GB drivers’ hours rules will continue until 23:59 on 14 June 2020, but will be kept under review.

More information can be found on this link.

Guidance for furloughed drivers

The Department for Transport has issued guidance for employers and drivers on how being furloughed will affect the working time rules that apply to mobile workers.

The guidance will help you understand how you should record activities on your tachograph, or by manual record, when furloughed, including when undertaking other work.

You can find the guidance on this link.

Access to toilet and hand washing facilities

Drivers are legally entitled to easy and safe access to toilets and hand washing facilities while carrying out their work.

The Department for Transport and the Health and Safety Executive have written a letter outlining the legal requirement for businesses to provide such access to drivers.

The letter can be found on this link.

Keep up to date with all official government advice on coronavirus (COVID-19) at www.gov.uk/coronavirus

 

(issued: 28th May 2020)

Coronavirus (COVID-19): annual test exemptions

We have issued annual test exemptions to heavy vehicles which are due to have their annual test in June 2020.

This includes vehicles that were originally made exempt in March 2020.

What do I need to do?

The exemptions have been applied automatically.

You can use the MOT history service to check the expiry dates for your vehicles.

When will you be providing testing?

We are working towards resuming heavy vehicle testing in June.

This involves talking to our staff, ATFs, the industry and operators about how we can provide a service which is safe for all involved and helps the return to regular testing.

Further information about our plans will be provided in due course.

(issued: 28th May 2020)

Clarification: vehicle test exemptions

 

We recently sent you an email alert concerning heavy vehicles due for annual test in June.

This did not clarify the period of the test exemption for these vehicles.

Vehicles due for test in June will receive a three-month exemption from needing an annual test.

This applies to vehicles which received a three-month exemption in March, as well as those with a due date normally in June.

 

 

(8th April 2020)  

RIDDOR – reporting coronavirus (COVID-19)

HSE has issued details of when and how you should report coronavirus incidents under RIDDOR (the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013).

You must only make a report under RIDDOR, relating to coronavirus, when:

  • an unintended incident at work has led to someone’s possible or actual exposure to coronavirus. This must be reported as a dangerous occurrence
  • a worker has been diagnosed as having COVID-19 and there is reasonable evidence that it was caused by exposure at work. This must be reported as a case of disease.
  • a worker dies as a result of occupational exposure to coronavirus.

Visit our website for further details on the above, along with examples.

 

Coronavirus: joint statement issued

The Health and Safety Executive, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) have issued a joint statement... 

Many workers, union reps and employers have questions and concerns about safe working – especially for those continuing to work away from home.

 

The joint statement between HSE, the TUC and the CBI is intended to clarify the position, as the health and safety of workers remains paramount.

 

Employers must continue to provide workers with information about risks to their health and the actions their employers must take, particularly in following Public Health England guidelines on social distancing.

 

Read the full statement.

 

Advice for employers with homeworkers

If you have people working from home temporarily as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, HSE has advice for employers to follow. 

As an employer, you have the same health and safety responsibilities for home workers as for any other workers.

 

Issues you should consider include:

  • lone working
  • working with display screen equipment (DSE)
  • stress and mental health

Read our advice on how to deal with these issues. 

 

 

 

Regulation of chemicals during the outbreak

HSE is continuing to provide services for regulating chemicals during the coronavirus outbreak.

We have made some administrative changes for each of the chemical regimes. Follow the appropriate link below for more information:

We also have further information applying to all regimes, which you can view here.

 

Social distancing guidelines issued

HSE has produced guidelines on how businesses must maintain social distancing and protect their staff during the coronavirus outbreak.

The guidance explains what employers must do in order to protect their workers and keep their businesses open and it covers:

  • social distancing
  • essential and non-essential work
  • safe in-work activity

Read the guidelines for more information

 

 

 

 

The Governments Recovery strategy please use the link to view their 50 page document: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/884760/Our_plan_to_rebuild_The_UK_Government_s_COVID-19_recovery_strategy.pdf (May 2020)

 

  (17th April 2020)

Coronavirus update: D4 medical suspension, driver hours and motorway services

The government has temporarily suspended the need for a D4 medical when renewing driving entitlement.

 

D4 medical suspension

With NHS staff rightly focused on the nationwide response to COVID-19, the government is taking action to protect essential supply chains by making temporary provisions for commercial drivers aged 45 and over, to forgo the need for a D4 medical in order to renew their driving entitlement.

This change is temporary and will only apply where the driver does not have any existing notifiable health conditions, and their licence has not expired before 1 January 2020. The licence will only be valid for 1 year instead of 5 years and the driver will need to submit a completed D4 when the licence is due for renewal in 12 months. 

Drivers will still be required to self-declare any medical conditions that may affect their ability to drive. Those with health issues that prevent them from driving safely will not have their licence renewed. All drivers must ensure they are medically fit to drive.

More information can be found on GOV.UK

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Motorway services are open

Motorway and major trunk road services remain open 24 hours a day following advice from the government deeming them as ‘essential services’.

The welfare of commercial drivers is a priority. While some service stations have reduced their opening hours, fuel, toilets, food and drink remain available at all service stations 24 hours a day.

Drivers can plan their break stops by visiting the Highways England website, which is updated 7 days a week.

 

 

Reopening Workplaces

 

This month will see some changes and a move back to a level of normal working for some businesses, Sally Roff and her colleagues offer some advice for this transition and point out some of the things we need to consider as we get things slowly moving again.

 

Sally Roff

National Head of Regulatory

+44 (0)844 980 3430

 

 

 

 

 

Changing times: Reopening Workplaces Safely

Published 7 May 2020

A change in regulatory approach?

 

 

Ahead of the heralded relaxation in the emergency measures in place in response to the COVID 19 pandemic, for Organisations planning to reopen their offices and premises for non-essential activities, we sense a change in mood and approach. At the outset there was certainly a feeling that employers and employees were all in this together and needed to do the best they could to respond to this little known and invisible risk.

The HSE on its website says that it will take a flexible and proportionate account of risks around the pandemic. Employers might have interpreted this to mean that the HSE will take a light touch to enforcement and that there was a low risk of prosecution.

However, we consider that as non-essential workplaces re-open there is every likelihood that this approach will change for the following reasons;

We understand that Government is working on guidelines to introduce mandatory requirements for all businesses to publish the measures they have taken in relation to COVID 19.

We are already seeing HSE making regular enquiries as to the measures implemented by businesses to respond to the risk presented by COVID 19. We are also seeing the first regulatory investigations commence relating to a failure to implement effective social

 

distancing measures. We are being asked to advise on health and safety compliance in relation to the reopening of work places.

What action should employers take?

To protect the safety of employees and to protect their organisation from risk of prosecution employers need to ensure the safety of employees and others affected by their undertakings in so far as it is reasonably practicable in accordance with their section 2 and section 3 HSWA 1974 duties. As in all HSWA cases the burden is on the employer to demonstrate that he has discharged its duty.

Employers should follow the normal hierarchy of controls in relation to the COVID 19 risk ensuring that they follow sector guidance but also are aware that measures they take to address issues in relation to COVID 19 might increase the risks in relation to other hazards or indeed introduce new risks. For example, in relation to manual handling a system which requires 2 persons to lift might need to be reviewed to give effect to social distancing, but could inadvertently increase the risk of injury if reduced. Where lone working is introduced to respond to the risk of COVID 19 the risks relating to lone working need to be assessed and control measures introduced.

A significant part of assessing COVID 19 risks is to look at individual fitness to work at the relevant location. The employer should be asking himself a number of questions which will include, but are not limited to;

Employers have now had a number of months to understand the risks of COVID 19 (although knowledge about the virus is still evolving) and to put appropriate planning in place;

Guidance (although sometimes inconsistent and variable in the level of detail depending on industry sector) is available on HSE and Government websites;

The public are concerned about the implications of lockdown being relaxed (49% of those asked in a TUC survey indicated that they were worried);

Workers could report concerns to the HSE or other regulators if they are unhappy with the way that operations have been resumed or accelerated at the expense of safety; and

The TUC and other Unions have called for the HSE and other regulators to increase enforcement and to take a more interventionist approach. The TUC are calling for HSE to act quickly to apply sanctions to employers including prosecutions who don’t take safety seriously.

Can the employee carry out his or her work at home? Should the employee be shielded due to underlying health conditions? Is there any psychological/mental health reason of which the employer is aware why the employee can’t work at the required location?

Can the employee carry out his or her work at home? Should the employee be shielded due to underlying health conditions? Is there any psychological/mental health reason of which the employer is aware why the employee can’t work at the required location?

Employers will need to include some of these questions in the enquiries they make of contractors visiting their premises, as to how they are managing the risks of COVID 19.

COVID 19 presents employers with new challenges in relation to implementation of measures and the supervision and monitoring of them. Employers will be required in the defence to any prosecution to demonstrate that the control measures it has devised to reduce the risks of COVID 19 infection are being effectively implemented. Historically employers have relied heavily upon managers and line managers to observe that control measures are being effectively implemented. Measures to ensure effective social distancing might make that type of supervision more problematic. Employees may be reluctant to report symptoms for fear of being prevented from working.

Monitoring the effectiveness of the control measures as with any other identified workplace risk will also be key. It will undoubtedly be more challenging given that those employees reporting COVID 19 symptoms might not have developed it as a result of a work place exposure.

A multi-disciplinary approach will be required between HR, Operations, Occupational Health to effectively manage the risk.

Ultimately the message to work forces should be that although we live in uncertain times, this doesn’t mean that we have to take an uncertain approach to working safely. Ensuring there is comprehensive, but targeted and simple to understand guidance provided to employees, contractors and others should ensure that certainty in what is expected of them is achieved, and therefore a healthy and safe work environment established.

 

                

 

 

Preparing for the end of lockdown – key issues for employers.

(Published 5th May 2020)

Authors: Udara Ranasinghe and Joanne Bell (DAC Beachcroft)

 

 

Preparing for the end of lockdown – key issues for employers Published 5 May 2020 with the UK Government considering an “exit strategy” it is now time for employers to start doing the same. Here we look at the possible lockdown exit strategies and the key practical issues for employers to consider. Planning for the Return – If not now then when? It is important that employers begin to plan how to manage the return to the workplace when the Government starts to ease the lockdown. The guiding principle will be to safeguard the health and safety of your workforce and customers/clients. The leaked Government guidance documents give us an indication of the Government proposals to get people back to work in the coming weeks. The TUC has published a paper setting out the steps it wants the Government and employers to undertake, making it clear that no easing of restrictions should take place until adequate measures are in place to protect the health and safety of working people. We already have the first European case on this with a French court’s ruling that an employer failed to recognise its obligations regarding the health and safety of its workers, in respect of physical distancing, hygiene and cleaning of its warehouses. We can expect to see similar challenges in the UK both on an individual and collective basis to precipitate attempts by employers to achieve workplace “normality” and this is likely to be accompanied with significant adverse reputational consequences. This briefing looks at some of the issues under three heads: considering health and safety measures, looking at the other workforce issues associated with a return to work and finally addressing where an employer may consider it is not economically viable to allow employees to return to work in the way they were before the lockdown. Health and safety measures Despite returning to work, the risk of infection and resurgence of Covid-19 remains. Employers are under an obligation to ensure they take reasonable steps to provide employees with a safe place of work. This will mean undertaking appropriate risk assessments and implementing controls to mitigate identified risks. While we can expect sectoral guidance from the Government, this will not remove the obligation on employers to consider their specific circumstances. Relevant issues to consider will include: Social distancing will fundamentally involve consideration of managing the minimum number of staff necessary to be present in the workplace at any one time. Appropriate steps to reinforce social distancing may include: displaying appropriate signage and floor markings to remind employees/customers to observe social distancing guidance, wherever possible; continued working from home for some staff; staggering start and finish times; a rota system for being present in the workplace and/or reduced hours. Some measures may require a change to staff terms and conditions and the mechanism by which such changes are achieved will need to be considered before implementation. Physical layouts: Does the layout of workstations allow for social distancing, can one flow pathways be created through buildings that allow for this, with, for example, separate entry and exit points from buildings/ floors? Can the physical features of the workplace be changed to maximize protection for staff and customers/clients? Travel arrangements: Can an employer minimise staff commuting at peak hours and encourage using modes of transport which reduce exposure to others? Consideration may need to be given to whether the business can support this financially, for example by offering free/ subsidised parking or cycle or walk to work schemes. If workers need to share vehicles to carry out work, can such use be minimised? Additional hygiene requirements will need to be considered. Along with the familiar reminders to handwash frequently employers may need to consider whether PPE or simple facial masks should be worn in the workplace. Testing, Screening and Credentialing: More controversial options for managing the risk include the use of temperature testing and the Covid-19 antigen test if an employee or someone in their household suffer symptoms. Employers may also consider the use of antibody tests and tracing Apps if/when these become available or requiring employees to obtain and carry health credentials confirming they have recovered from Covid-19. Any requirement for such testing/ credentialing will need to be carefully considered in light of prevailing government guidance. There will also be significant contractual and data protection issues to work through before introducing mandatory measures. Insurance: employers will need to check their insurance arrangements to ensure they have appropriate cover in place and notifying their broker / insurance provider of the plans to return staff to workplace may be necessary. Preparing for the end of lockdown – key issues for employers Published 5 May 2020 With the UK Government considering an “exit strategy” it is now time for employers to start doing the same. Here we look at the possible lockdown exit strategies and the key practical issues for employers to consider. Planning for the Return – If not now then when? It is important that employers begin to plan how to manage the return to the workplace when the Government starts to ease the lockdown. The guiding principle will be to safeguard the health and safety of your workforce and customers/clients. The leaked Government guidance documents give us an indication of the Government proposals to get people back to work in the coming weeks. The TUC has published a paper setting out the steps it wants the Government and employers to undertake, making it clear that no easing of restrictions should take place until adequate measures are in place to protect the health and safety of working people. We already have the first European case on this with a French court’s ruling that an employer failed to recognise its obligations regarding the health and safety of its workers, in respect of physical distancing, hygiene and cleaning of its warehouses. We can expect to see similar challenges in the UK both on an individual and collective basis to precipitate attempts by employers to achieve workplace “normality” and this is likely to be accompanied with significant adverse reputational consequences. This briefing looks at some of the issues under three heads: considering health and safety measures, looking at the other workforce issues associated with a return to work and finally addressing where an employer may consider it is not economically viable to allow employees to return to work in the way they were before the lockdown. Health and safety measures Despite returning to work, the risk of infection and resurgence of Covid-19 remains. Employers are under an obligation to ensure they take reasonable steps to provide employees with a safe place of work. This will mean undertaking appropriate risk assessments and implementing controls to mitigate identified risks. While we can expect sectoral guidance from the Government, this will not remove the obligation on employers to consider their specific circumstances. Relevant issues to consider will include: Social distancing will fundamentally involve consideration of managing the minimum number of staff necessary to be present in the workplace at any one time. Appropriate steps to reinforce social distancing may include: displaying appropriate signage and floor markings to remind employees/customers to observe social distancing guidance, wherever possible; continued working from home for some staff; staggering start and finish times; a rota system for being present in the workplace and/or reduced hours. Some measures may require a change to staff terms and conditions and the mechanism by which such changes are achieved will need to be considered before implementation. Physical layouts: Does the layout of workstations allow for social distancing, can one flow pathways be created through buildings that allow for this, with, for example, separate entry and exit points from buildings/ floors? Can the physical features of the workplace be changed to maximize protection for staff and customers/clients? Travel arrangements: Can an employer minimise staff commuting at peak hours and encourage using modes of transport which reduce exposure to others? Consideration may need to be given to whether the business can support this financially, for example by offering free/ subsidised parking or cycle or walk to work schemes. If workers need to share vehicles to carry out work, can such use be minimised? Additional hygiene requirements will need to be considered. Along with the familiar reminders to handwash frequently employers may need to consider whether PPE or simple facial masks should be worn in the workplace. Testing, Screening and Credentialing: More controversial options for managing the risk include the use of temperature testing and the Covid-19 antigen test if an employee or someone in their household suffer symptoms. Employers may also consider the use of antibody tests and tracing Apps if/when these become available or requiring employees to obtain and carry health credentials confirming they have recovered from Covid-19. Any requirement for such testing/ credentialing will need to be carefully considered in light of prevailing government guidance. There will also be significant contractual and data protection issues to work through before introducing mandatory measures. Insurance: employers will need to check their insurance arrangements to ensure they have appropriate cover in place and notifying their broker / insurance provider of the plans to return staff to workplace may be necessary. Workforce measures In parallel with considering the health and safety issues, employers will need to address their mind to associated employment/ workforce issues: Who should return and when? Should you have a staggered start to build up to a full return? Is there a requirement for certain roles to be represented in the office? Can / should staff continue to work from home? If you do not require all staff back immediately how do you select staff to return in the first wave? One option could be to ask for volunteers. Employers may also consider allowing employees to stay at home if they are vulnerable (in such a case an individual risk assessment should be considered) or have caring responsibilities. Until schools and nurseries are open, staff will continue to have issues around working whilst accommodating childcare responsibilities. All decisions relating to selection for return should be based on objective business reasons to avoid discrimination risks. What happens if an employee refuses to return? It is anticipated that some staff will be worried about coming back to work and may refuse to do so. Such concerns should be managed sensitively and employers should seek to understand the reasons for the objection to returning to the workplace. As well as the duty of care to take reasonable steps to protect the health and well-being of staff, employers should be aware of their duty not to victimise those who have raised genuine health and safety concerns (which could be protected under the whistleblowing legislation as well as specific provisions in health and safety cases). Communication of the return to work. Employers should review previous communications / agreements reached with staff regarding furlough or working from home. These may refer to notice or other provisions required for a return to work. Employers should bear in mind that if any staff are being asked to return before they have had 3 weeks’ of continuous furlough under the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) they will not be able to claim the Government grant in relation to that individual. Communication, engagement and support In relation to both health and safety and workforce planning it is recommended that employers have early engagement with Union or employee consultative bodies. This will assist development of proposals and employee buy-in. Transparent and regular communication of plans to employees will also be important. A “Coronavirus return to work policy” may be helpful to provide guidance on the measures the business is putting in place, what is required of staff, and the support available. It should also deal with the consequences of staff not following the policy and how staff may raise any potential concerns. Reviewing annual leave entitlements may be necessary if staff have a significant amount of untaken leave which may disrupt business during the remainder of the year. Consider requesting that some leave is taken during furlough periods and/ or that a percentage of leave entitlement is taken by a point in the holiday year or in subsequent holiday years. Providing contractual and statutory requirements are followed an employer may give an employee notice of dates to take annual leave. Legislation has also been introduced which gives some flexibility to carry over leave for 2 years where an employee has not been able to take this for a Covid-19 reason. Dealing with employees suffering with Covid-19 symptoms after return to work This is likely to continue to be an issue for workplace planning until we have a vaccine. An employee who is unable to attend work due to illness will be entitled to sick leave and pay as per statutory and contractual entitlements. Employees with Covid-19 symptoms will need to stay at home but a number of additional complex issues may arise. For example, what if they need to self-isolate because a member of their household has symptoms or is shielding – what implications will this have for pay? What if an employee has symptoms whilst in the workplace? In addition to deep cleans of the premises, contact tracing and potentially asking close colleagues to not come into the work place may be needed. It is better to have a clear policy on how such situations will be dealt with rather than leaving it to the discretion of individual managers which might result in inconsistent practice and expose staff to avoidable risk. Changes to the workforce / Furlough exit strategies There is ongoing uncertainty as to what the future holds. Currently the CJRS is due to end on 30 June 2020. Many employers have called for an extension of the CJRS or more flexible transitional measures to enable staff to work reduced hours whilst furloughed. Certainty is required as soon as possible given the time required for collective consultation. In the meantime many employers will need to consider possible cost cutting steps in order to ensure the sustainability in the longer term. Employers will be familiar with the usual considerations that apply here. These include: Alternatives to redundancy Options include; bringing people back on normal hours but reducing pay; reducing hours and corresponding pay; voluntary redundancies; voluntary pay cuts; extending furlough without the benefit of the CJRS grant, offering unpaid or part paid sabbaticals. Some of these may be offered on a voluntary basis. Where these alternatives require a change to terms and conditions of employment, collective consultation requirements (see below) may apply. If employees do not agree to the change, an employer may, as a last resort, need to consider dismissing employees and reengaging them on new terms. Redundancies A need to make redundancies will trigger individual and potentially collective consultation obligations. Employers will need to bear in mind the timing of such consultation if redundancies are possible at the end of the CJRS. Where an employer proposes to dismiss as redundant 20 or more employees at one establishment within a 90-day time period, the employer is required to consult for a minimum of 30 days. Where 100 or more redundancies are proposed the requirement is extended to 45 days. This process needs to be concluded before any dismissals can take effect and notice of dismissal cannot be given until after the end of meaningful consultation (although it is possible to serve notice within the statutory consultation period). Current Government guidance on the CJRS is permissive of collective consultation being Workforce measures In parallel with considering the health and safety issues, employers will need to address their mind to associated employment/ workforce issues: Who should return and when? Should you have a staggered start to build up to a full return? Is there a requirement for certain roles to be represented in the office? Can / should staff continue to work from home? If you do not require all staff back immediately how do you select staff to return in the first wave? One option could be to ask for volunteers. Employers may also consider allowing employees to stay at home if they are vulnerable (in such a case an individual risk assessment should be considered) or have caring responsibilities. Until schools and nurseries are open, staff will continue to have issues around working whilst accommodating childcare responsibilities. All decisions relating to selection for return should be based on objective business reasons to avoid discrimination risks. What happens if an employee refuses to return? It is anticipated that some staff will be worried about coming back to work and may refuse to do so. Such concerns should be managed sensitively and employers should seek to understand the reasons for the objection to returning to the workplace. As well as the duty of care to take reasonable steps to protect the health and well-being of staff, employers should be aware of their duty not to victimise those who have raised genuine health and safety concerns (which could be protected under the whistleblowing legislation as well as specific provisions in health and safety cases). Communication of the return to work. Employers should review previous communications / agreements reached with staff regarding furlough or working from home. These may refer to notice or other provisions required for a return to work. Employers should bear in mind that if any staff are being asked to return before they have had 3 weeks’ of continuous furlough under the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) they will not be able to claim the Government grant in relation to that individual. Communication, engagement and support In relation to both health and safety and workforce planning it is recommended that employers have early engagement with Union or employee consultative bodies. This will assist development of proposals and employee buy-in. Transparent and regular communication of plans to employees will also be important. A “Coronavirus return to work policy” may be helpful to provide guidance on the measures the business is putting in place, what is required of staff, and the support available. It should also deal with the consequences of staff not following the policy and how staff may raise any potential concerns. Reviewing annual leave entitlements may be necessary if staff have a significant amount of untaken leave which may disrupt business during the remainder of the year. Consider requesting that some leave is taken during furlough periods and/ or that a percentage of leave entitlement is taken by a point in the holiday year or in subsequent holiday years. Providing contractual and statutory requirements are followed an employer may give an employee notice of dates to take annual leave. Legislation has also been introduced which gives some flexibility to carry over leave for 2 years where an employee has not been able to take this for a Covid-19 reason. Dealing with employees suffering with Covid-19 symptoms after return to work This is likely to continue to be an issue for workplace planning until we have a vaccine. An employee who is unable to attend work due to illness will be entitled to sick leave and pay as per statutory and contractual entitlements. Employees with Covid-19 symptoms will need to stay at home but a number of additional complex issues may arise. For example, what if they need to self-isolate because a member of their household has symptoms or is shielding – what implications will this have for pay? What if an employee has symptoms whilst in the workplace? In addition to deep cleans of the premises, contact tracing and potentially asking close colleagues to not come into the work place may be needed. It is better to have a clear policy on how such situations will be dealt with rather than leaving it to the discretion of individual managers which might result in inconsistent practice and expose staff to avoidable risk. Changes to the workforce / Furlough exit strategies There is ongoing uncertainty as to what the future holds. Currently the CJRS is due to end on 30 June 2020. Many employers have called for an extension of the CJRS or more flexible transitional measures to enable staff to work reduced hours whilst furloughed. Certainty is required as soon as possible given the time required for collective consultation. In the meantime, many employers will need to consider possible cost cutting steps in order to ensure the sustainability in the longer term. Employers will be familiar with the usual considerations that apply here. These include: Alternatives to redundancy Options include; bringing people back on normal hours but reducing pay; reducing hours and corresponding pay; voluntary redundancies; voluntary pay cuts; extending furlough without the benefit of the CJRS grant, offering unpaid or part paid sabbaticals. Some of these may be offered on a voluntary basis. Where these alternatives require a change to terms and conditions of employment, collective consultation requirements (see below) may apply. If employees do not agree to the change, an employer may, as a last resort, need to consider dismissing employees and reengaging them on new terms. Redundancies A need to make redundancies will trigger individual and potentially collective consultation obligations. Employers will need to bear in mind the timing of such consultation if redundancies are possible at the end of the CJRS. Where an employer proposes to dismiss as redundant 20 or more employees at one establishment within a 90-day time period, the employer is required to consult for a minimum of 30 days. Where 100 or more redundancies are proposed the requirement is extended to 45 days. This process needs to be concluded before any dismissals can take effect and notice of dismissal cannot be given until after the end of meaningful consultation (although it is possible to serve notice within the statutory consultation period). Current Government guidance on the CJRS is permissive of collective consultation being conducted with staff representatives who may be furloughed themselves. None of the matters discussed above are straightforward and the current Covid-19 situation will undoubtedly test employers’ relationships with their employees. The employers who come out of this difficult situation best are likely to be those who have planned carefully the steps they have to take, the reasons for those steps and have taken their employees along with them. If you have any questions on this briefing please contact your usual DACB contact, Udara Ranasinghe or Joanne Bell

 

 

 

Working Safely during COVID-19: New Guidelines and HSE Enforcement

Published 13 May 2020

The government has this week published new ‘COVID-19 secure’ guidelines to help UK businesses to get back up and running whilst ensuring that workplaces are operating as safely as possible. The guidelines were prepared by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in consultation with approximately 250 stakeholders including Public Health England (PHE) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), to develop best practice on the safest ways of working across the economy.

The new guidelines cover eight workplace settings:

 

The guidelines include shops such as non-food stores, fashion stores and other types of retail that are currently closed on the basis that the guidelines will help them consider what their operations may need to look like when they are allowed to open.

For the construction sector these guidelines complement guidance already in place by way of the Site Operating Procedures issued by the Construction Leadership Council in April.

The guidelines are designed to give practical steps to enable employers to identify risks that COVID-19 creates and to take pragmatic measures to mitigate them which will depend on the nature of the business including its size, type, how it is operated and regulated.

COVID-19 Risk Assessment

It is important to note that the guidelines do not supersede any legal obligations such as health and safety duties and it is vital that businesses do not fall foul of complying with their existing obligations. Employers have a legal duty to protect employees and others from risks to their health and safety and the starting point is to conduct a suitable risk assessment – a legal requirement under Regulation 3 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. The guidelines recognise this by requiring employers to undertake an appropriate COVID-19 risk assessment to help inform what reasonably practicable steps need to be taken to minimise the risk of employees and others contracting COVID-19.

The guidelines emphasise the importance of consulting with employees and health and safety representatives when assessing the risks and how they should be managed. Furthermore, an employer should share the results of its risk assessment with its workforce – if possible, publishing it on the company’s website, mandatory, if the business has over 50 employees.

 

Mitigating Actions

The guidelines set out preventative measures that should be carried out to reduce the risk to the lowest level reasonably practicable. This includes making every reasonable effort to enable working from home and where this is not possible, workplaces should make every reasonable effort to comply with the social distancing guidelines (2m separation). Where the social distancing guidelines cannot be followed in full, in respect of a particular activity, businesses should consider whether that activity needs to continue for the business to operate. If it does, then all possible mitigating actions should be taken to reduce the risk of transmission.

The guidelines for each of the eight workplace settings have a number of common mitigating actions, examples of which include:

 

  • Deciding who should go to work – for example planning for the minimum number of people needed to be on site to operate it safely and effectively and protecting people at higher risk and those who need to self-isolate.
  • Social distancing at work – employers will need to consider staggering arrival and departure times and break times; using marking and one-way flow on walkways and at entry/exit points to help maintain a 2m distance; reducing job rotation and equipment rotation.
  • Managing customers, visitors and contractors – limiting site visits; encouraging remote connection; providing site guidance on social distancing and hygiene standards to any visitors.
  • Cleaning the workplace – employers need to ensure frequent cleaning of work areas and equipment between uses; providing more waste facilities and more frequent rubbish collection; regular reminders and signage to maintain hygiene standards and providing additional handwashing facilities for example on large construction sites.
  • Managing your workforce – fixing teams or shift groups so that were contact is unavoidable it happens between the same people; minimising non-essential travel and minimising the number of people who have to travel together in any one vehicle.
  • PPE and face coverings – additional PPE beyond what an employee usually wears for protection is not considered beneficial because COVID-19 need to be managed through social distancing, hygiene and fixed teams. The exception is clinical settings such as hospitals for which there is specific advice available from the government and PHE. The guidelines do however say that employers should support their workers in using face coverings safely if they choose to wear one.
  • Inbound and Outbound Goods – for example revising pick-up and drop off collection points; procedures, signage and markings; minimising unnecessary contact at gate house security, yard and warehouses and where possible and safe having single workers load or unload vehicles.

 

It should also be noted that the guidelines state that in the event of an emergency such as an accident, fire or chemical spill, people do not have to stay 2m apart. Although not covered in the guidelines, businesses should consider what their procedures are for administering first aid in the event of a workplace accident and whether the current procedures need to be revised to minimise the risk of transmission of COVID-19.

downloadable notice is included in the documents, which employers should display in their workplaces to show their employees, customers and other visitors to their workplace, that they have followed this guidance. This notice includes a contact number for the HSE for workers to report any concerns that they may have.

HSE Enforcement

It is essential that employers comply with the guidelines that have been published to keep people safe. The guidelines state that where the enforcing authority, whether the HSE or local authority, identifies employers were not taking actions to comply with the relevant public health legislation and guidance to control public health risks, they will consider taking a range of actions to improve control of workplace risks.  It refers to the HSE providing specific advice through to issuing enforcement notices to help secure improvements. 

Although the HSE has said that they will be taking a flexible and proportionate approach to the risks arising from the COVID-19 crisis, employers should be aware that in appropriate cases, it is possible for the HSE to go beyond the issuing of enforcement notices and consider a prosecution. 

Given the guidance that has been issued and the publicising of the HSE’s contact number for reporting any concerns, we consider that many businesses, particularly those involved in high risk industries such as construction, will be exposed to investigations by the HSE on the back of concerns raised by employees, contractors and suppliers. The difficulties of establishing causation given the complexities of identifying the source of the transmission will not necessarily deter the HSE given that they only need to prove that an employer has exposed employees and/or others to a material risk of harm.

As part of this week’s announcement, the government has made available up to an extra £14 million for the HSE, equivalent to an increase of 10% of their budget, for extra call centre employees, inspectors and equipment if needed. This strongly suggests that businesses who do not properly plan for a safe return to work will face scrutiny from the HSE.

As the UK faces months of change and challenge, these guidelines will need to continue to evolve and all businesses will need to ensure they keep updated on changes to guidance to remain compliant and provide ongoing training and information to their employees.

DAC Beachcroft’s National Regulatory team has set up a specialist team who can advise on health and safety queries relating to the COVID-19 guidelines. If you have any queries please telephone or e-mail one of the contacts below:

 


Sally Roff

Newport

+44 (0)163 365 7780

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

Chris Baranowski

Leeds

+44 (0) 113 251 4842

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

 

We hope you found the articles in this month’s newsletter of interest. We will in next month’s edition provide information of changes in legislation that affect the Transport Industry that have come to our notice, and will provide greater detail of our new packages to support our clients.

 

If we can assist in the meantime please don’t hesitate to contact us.