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As you may have noticed, Xmas is well on the way. Every year health and safety gets the blame for allegedly trying to ruin the enjoyment of the season. Not only are these myths usually untrue, they also serve to trivialise the important message of health and safety – protecting people from very real risks in the workplace.

In the wake of the Health & Safety Executive’s (HSE) recent construction inspection initiative, the construction industry has launched fresh guidelines around the tricky problem of occupational health risks.

HSE issued over 200 enforcement notices relating to occupational health as a result of its recent wave of inspections of construction industry sites. It was clear that there is a misunderstanding of what “occupational health” means to the construction sector.

A requirement of the Immigration Bill currently before Parliament is that all public sector employees in public facing roles will need to be able to speak fluent English or Welsh.

The requirement will apply to all existing employees as well as new recruits to public sector workplaces such as local and central government, the police and the NHS.

Health & Safety At Work magazine recently reported on the case of national interiors fit-out company, Newman Scott, who were prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after a visit in 2013.

Joint Managing Director John Graham said “We were mortified at the thought of being prosecuted because we had a good safety record and thought we were pretty good at health and safety.” They had employed a subcontractor who had erected scaffolding poorly on an escalator. “Although no one was hurt there was a very real and high risk of injury, or worse, to the operatives,” he added.

Maintaining accurate data is vital in most businesses. From an HR point of view it is essential, especially in relation to discrimination, diversity and disciplinary procedures.

Discrimination and Diversity

If your company has public sector dealings or has a discrimination and diversity policy, then it may need to be able to back up that policy with actual data. What you don’t want is a sudden straw poll of your employees to try and establish some relevant data.