A weekly roundup of the most important news concerning health and safety developments, enforcements and regulatory changes.
The annual Health and wellbeing at work survey from the CIPD & Simply Health revealed that both presenteeism (working while unwell) and leavism (working outside of contracted hours or while on ‘holiday’ time) continue to be a major problem. This is particularly shocking given the majority switch to home-working seen throughout industries in the past year.
The survey found that 75% of organisations reported presenteeism in employees attending the workplace, while 77% reported presenteeism when employees were working from home. Many organisations are taking steps to address this issue; however, a massive 40% of respondents reported that their organisation hadn’t taken any action yet.
As the UK REACH transition period continues, there will be further changes beginning during the summer of 2021. A fifth UK REACH statutory instrument is scheduled to be laid before Parliament this summer and will likely address changes made by the EU during 2019 and 2020.
Interestingly, the Environment Bill looks set to be discussed during the current Parliamentary session, which began on Tuesday 11th May. The Bill contains enabling powers for a significant overhaul of REACH, however, those powers will not be available until the Bill becomes law, which is expected to happen in Autumn this year.
The HSE updated the Registry of Restriction Intentions, notifying that it intends to prepare two restriction dossiers. This follows a request from Defra with consent from the Scottish and Welsh governments.
The dossiers will assess the risk of lead in ammunition and of substances in tattoo inks and permanent make-up.
If restriction is found to be the most appropriate measure, the dossiers will propose new restrictions. Publication is expected in April 2022 and will be implemented via the HSE website.
May is Stroke Awareness Month. It may seem strange to have an awareness month for something that most people would probably claim to be aware of already, however, it is not just ‘old’ or ‘older’ people who have strokes.
According to the Stroke Association, only 25% of strokes happen to the over 65s and over 100,000 people have strokes each year. Even young children and babies can suffer strokes, with a reported 400 per year.
Strokes can turn life upside down and can strike out of the blue. For more information visit stroke.org.uk.
The ICO’s new Data Sharing Code of Practice was laid before Parliament on Tuesday 18th May and will sit before Parliament for 40 days before it comes into force.
The new Code is a statutory code of practice, replacing the previous Data Sharing Code from 2011, which covered the Data Protection Act 1998, and covers the Data Protection Act 2018. The ICO will be required to take the new Code into account when determining if an organisation has complied with data protection law when sharing personal data.
“The new data sharing code aims to give businesses and organisations the confidence to share data in a fair, safe and transparent way, and it dispels many of the remaining myths about data sharing. The code will guide organisations through the practical steps they need to take to share data while protecting people’s privacy.”
There was no mention of an Employment Bill in the 2021 Queen’s Speech, despite it being promised in the previous Speech last December.
A source close to Downing Street was reported as saying that an Employment Bill will be introduced “when the time is right” and the COVID-19 pandemic was cited as the reason for the delay. It looks like 2022 will be the earliest a Bill can be expected to be announced.
Although restrictions are being slowly lifted across the country, Government guidance on working at home remains the same. Coronavirus restrictions: what you can and cannot do continues to instruct people to “work from home if you can.”
The guidance dictates that employers should facilitate home-working, which includes providing suitable IT equipment to enable remote working.
A sole trader has been fined after a sub-contractor fell five metres through a skylight onto a concrete floor. The worker fell backwards while renewing guttering between two buildings, striking the rail of a lift truck below before landing on the floor, suffering a fractured skull and broken ribs.
The investigation by HSE found that the work at height had not been properly planned or appropriately supervised to ensure the sub-contractor was not exposed to risks to their health and safety. After pleading guilty to contravening Regulation 4(1) of the Work at Height Regulations 2005, the sole-trader received a 4-month custodial sentence, suspension from work for 18 months and 180 hours of unpaid community work.