The Insider Issue Four

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Last year, an Edinburgh-based national bus and coach builder was fined £100,000 and ordered to pay £18,643 in costs after failing to protect its employees from uncontrolled exposure to hand-arm transmitted vibration. At Sound Advice, we constantly stress to businesses the importance of implementing a robust occupational health and health surveillance culture. Failing to manage the health-risks brought on by work can see employers prosecuted by the HSE and be subjected to financial penalties. Additionally, injuries and fines will also indirectly affect your entire workforce by reducing staff morale and productivity. According to our head of occupational health, Danny Clarke, “Employers have a duty – and are obliged by law – to protect workers from injuries at work including risks from vibration. Transmitted vibration can cause Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS), as well as other ailments such as carpel tunnel syndrome which are both reportable diseases under RIDDOR. HAVS is a condition which can affect a person’s ability to work, and so it is extremely important that the health and safety of workers is a top priority for employers. “By law, employers need to conduct risk assessments for vibration and assess employees who are likely to be exposed, whilst simultaneously

protecting them from the risks from vibration. Where there is a risk to health, all affected employees should be part of a regular health surveillance programme. Failing to appropriately protect your employees can result in a fine from the HSE and also civil claims from employees. It’s important to remember that in most circumstances where there are risks from vibration, there is also likely to be risks associated with noise”. Since 1990, we have been helping businesses nationwide to implement and deliver suitable health surveillance programmes. Our team of Doctors, Physicians and Nurses work with companies, ranging from small independents to large multi-site operators, to produce bespoke health surveillance solutions guaranteed to protect the health of your employees. As with everything we do, we go over and above to deliver high quality solutions to our clients. Our fleet of mobile medical units are fully equipped to carry out a range of health surveillance services, including hand arm vibration assessments, hearing tests, lung function tests and skin checks right on your doorstep.

For more information, call our health surveillance team today on 01925 838 350

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We are all aware of the importance of making the right recruitment choice, and according to The Chartered Institute of Professional Development (2016), it is estimated that the cost of recruiting the wrong person is £8,200, rising to £12,000 for senior managers and directors. DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) checks help ensure a person is suitable for a particular job role. Formerly known as CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) checks, DBS checks help employers make safer recruitment choices by identifying those who may be unsuitable to work with children and vulnerable adults due to previous convictions, cautions, reprimands or warnings. However, there was a High Court ruling at the end of January – R (P and A) v Secretary of State for Justice – which suggested that DBS checks are unlawful. The case in question focused on two people with more than one prior conviction. Under the current rules of DBS, anyone with more than one offence will have them disclosed indefinitely. If a person has one offence, it would normally not be disclosed after a period of eleven years has elapsed. The judge in this case concluded that the indefinite disclosure of minor offences, such as the ones in this case, was arbitrary. He also said that there should be measures in place to test whether the disclosure of offences is proportionate to ensure that the DBS scheme remains in accordance with the law. In effect, he has questioned the legality of the current system and whether it is justifiable or necessary.

Although the judgment indicates that there are concerns with the system at present, the impact of the decision on DBS checks as they stand is none. The DBS scheme will continue in the same way for now and the checks remain lawful. However, changes do seem to be on the cards for DBS checks, although it is not clear what this will entail at this stage. It is highly unlikely that they will be scrapped altogether due to the numerous benefits the service provides. A more reasonable outcome would be changing the system to either tighten up the rules on indefinite disclosure, or to limit the offences that would show on a DBS check indefinitely. It is therefore vital that employers are mindful of the review and any subsequent changes to the law that may be made over the coming months. At ELAS, we pride ourselves on offering a fast and efficient DBS service. By choosing ELAS as your DBS provider, you can be assured that your potential employees will receive their DBS disclosure as quickly as possible, ensuring there are no unnecessary setbacks in your recruitment process. Our DBS team will help you choose the correct check dependant on your individual business requirements whether this is the standard, enhanced or adult first check.

Ultimately, we will help you make the right recruitment choice.

For more information on our DBS service or for any questions relating to the possible change in the DBS scheme, call our DBS team on 0161 785 2000.

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Choosing the right training provider is an important decision food businesses must undertake. As leading food safety trainers, we have created a five step guide to help you through the process of selecting the right course for you and your business:

Training is about developing existing attitudes and behaviours of those required by the business. The focus of the course should not just be about remembering facts and figures, but should also be about why this information is important to the learner and how it can be put into practice. Problems can also arise if barriers to learning are not identified prior to the course. One such problem may be an employee’s stress levels increasing due to the possibility of failing the exam and how it may affect their job security. We recommend having a conversation with your employees prior to the course to alleviate their fears and to identify any possible need for additional support. The good news is that any potential learning barriers can be overcome with the right teaching, learning and assessment methods. For example you could opt for a work- based assignment for a level 4 award in food safety, rather than an examination.


The first step before booking or arranging a training course is to think about how this course will benefit your business. It’s a good idea to outline legal, moral and/or financial reasons for the course. Safety training is more than just getting a certificate; it’s about employees thinking and behaving safely. Be specific in how you will measure success; it could simply be a question of achieving a higher food hygiene rating or a better score on an internal audit.

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It’s really important to employ the services of a provider who has experience in delivering training to your sector.

A competent trainer knows their subject well and will contextualise learning in a manner that makes sense to all.

4. DISCUSS YOUR TRAINING REQUIREMENTS WITH YOUR PROVIDER BEFORE THE COURSE A reputable training company will be happy to listen to your training requirements before the course as there is usually a lot of flexibility in how effective learning can be achieved. This flexibility may include different start and finish times, distance or blended learning approaches, additional content or an even a bespoke training course. So don’t be afraid to ask how a training provider can meet the needs of your business. Measuring success in regards to training doesn’t have to be a complicated and lengthy process. It can simply be a process of asking employees questions about safety, observing their behaviour when they carry out a task or even checking that documentation has been correctly completed. This can usually be done during an internal or external audit. Successful training courses are about positive learning experiences, so it’s important for managers to speak to employees after the training course has finished. Find out what they liked about the course and what could be done to improve the next one. Remember learners know more than anyone which teaching and learning methods work best for them and those that don’t. Finding a food safety training provider that delivers high quality, accredited training courses at the right price can be a hard task. As one of the UK’s primary providers of food safety training, we deliver award-winning training that benefits both the employer and employees. We will work with you to create bespoke training courses to fit your exact needs; whether you are in Lands’ End and in need of a Level 3 HACCP course, or John O’Groats and want your staff to be Level 2 Food Safety qualified, no distance is too far for us. Tomaximise productivity and ensure a competent and compliant workforce, invest in your employees today with training courses by STS. For more information on our extensive list of training courses, call our training team today on 01252 728 300. 5. MEASURING SUCCESS

Can an employer ask an employee to retire on reaching the government retirement age ? CONSULTANT CORNER. . . Since October 2010 when the Equality Act became law, the former statutory retirement age has all but disappeared and is certainly only allowable in some exceptional circumstances. For the majority of employers, it is age discrimination to ask an employee to retire. Some employees may approach you saying they want to take it a little easier. You should be aware they have the right to apply for flexible working. If so, we advise you to call our HR team who will be able to provide advice on how to appropriately deal with this situation. New pension provisions have also made it easier for older employees to draw down large sums of money out of their pensions after attaining the age of 55 years, but such sums can be subject to tax and good advice is needed before considering the same. All this does not mean older employees cannot be disciplined for poor performance or terminated on notice if they become too ill to carry out their employment. Whatever happens, if you or your employees want to discuss retirement options, make sure you follow the golden rule – HOLD ANY DISCUSSIONS WITHOUT PREJUDICE AND SUBJECT TO CONTRACT ! For help and advice on this, or any other employment law issue, call us today on 0161 785 2000

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Have you ever wanted to: a Gain the skills to give evidence confidently and correctly in an employment tribunal? a Know how to fully prepare for an employment tribunal internally? a Understand the tribunal process leading up to and during proceedings and your role throughout? MOCK TRIBUNAL TRAINING

Well, you’re in luck! This is your chance to gain first hand experience of what to expect if you’re ever faced with an employment tribunal or are just interested in learning more about the tribunal process. Although we do our utmost to ensure that our clients will never have to go through the tribunal process, unfortunately things can happen in business where even the most well-ran business could fall victim.

Developed by our employment law consultants, our mock tribunal will take you through the entire tribunal process, from submitting the correct documentation to providing evidence. Providing a hands-on experience of what to expect if you are faced with an employment tribunal, our mock tribunal is definitely not one to miss!

DATE: Wednesday May 25th, 2016 LOCATION: Charles House, Eccles M30 0PW TIME: 9.30am – 4pm PRICE: £175 To book your place on our course, call us today on 0161 785 2000 and ask for Paul Fitzsimmons. Be quick, we only have a few spaces remaining!

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From a s l i t t l e to a s much suppor t a s you need . . .

Ca l l or ema i l us to d i s cus s your opt i ons

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