Monday 4 April 2016

What is the Duty to Manage asbestos?

The Duty to Manage asbestos is aimed towards those who manage non-domestic premises. These are the people with responsibility for protecting others who work in such premises (or use them in other ways), from the risks to ill health that exposure to asbestos can cause.

The Duty to Manage asbestos is contained in regulation 4 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.  It requires the person who has the duty (i.e. the ‘Dutyholder’) to:

  1. take reasonable steps to find out if there are materials containing asbestos in non-domestic premises, and if so, its amount, where it is and what condition it is in
  2. presume materials contain asbestos unless there is strong evidence that they do not
  3. make, and keep up-to-date, a record of the location and condition of the asbestos containing materials – or materials which are presumed to contain asbestos
  4. assess the risk of anyone being exposed to fibres from the materials identified
  5. prepare a plan that sets out in detail how the risks from these materials will be managed
  6. take the necessary steps to put the plan into action
  7. periodically review and monitor the plan and the arrangements to act on it so that the plan remains relevant and up-to-date
  8. provide information on the location and condition of the materials to anyone who is liable to work on or disturb them

There is also a requirement on others to co-operate as far as is necessary to allow the Dutyholder to comply with the above requirements.

For further information and guidance on your Duty to Manage Asbestos, please contact MSP Business Services on 08456 808304 or


Friday 1 April 2016

Your legal duties to pay the National Living Wage

The National Living Wage (NLW) has been introduced today (1 April 2016).  
It is £7.20 per hour and applies to all those aged 25 years and above.  

It is timely therefore, to remind ourselves of the actions that should have been taken to ensure that no penalties are incurred through not complying with the law.  If you haven't done so already, do the following now:

  1. Check through your records to identify any employees who are entitled to received the National Living Wage (NLW)
  2. Alter your payroll systems so that they flag up any employee who reaches their 25th birthday.  You should then review these employees to see if they need to receive a pay increase.
  3. Write to your employees who are entitled to receive the NLW to tell them that they are now receiving it. 

If you have not taken these actions, it would be wise to do so now. 

You are liable for for a fine of up to £20,000 per employee if you are not paying at least the National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage.

Don't forget, the National Minimum Wage (NMW) still applies, the National Living Wage has been introduced in addition to the NMW.

Thursday 14 January 2016

Employers can read workers’ private messages, says European Court

Employers are being warned against ‘snooping’ on staff, despite the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruling that an organisation that read a worker's personal messages sent while he was at work was within its rights.
Romanian engineer, Bogdan B─ârbulescu, was dismissed for using his Yahoo Messenger email account – created for work purposes at his company's request – to send personal emails during working hours.
He claimed that his employer had violated his right to correspondence and was in breach of the Constitution and Criminal Code by accessing his communications. However, his complaint was dismissed on grounds that his employer had complied with dismissal proceedings and the complainant had been informed of company regulations.
B─ârbulescu appealed, claiming his e-mails were protected by Article 8 – the right to respect for private and family life, the home and correspondence. The Court of Appeal held that the employer’s conduct had been reasonable and that monitoring had been the only way to establish whether a disciplinary breach had occurred.
Ben Willmott, head of public policy at the CIPD said the ruling was "not a green light for businesses to start snooping on employees".
“The line between work and personal life is becoming increasingly blurred. We know that the working day rarely fits into a nine-to-five mould any more. Employees often respond to work emails on personal devices outside of usual working hours so it makes sense that, on occasion, they may want to engage in social correspondence during the working day on a work device,” he said.
The case follows news this week that The Daily Telegraph newspaper reportedly installed monitoring devices under employees' desks to track their movements. An email sent to employees after the devices were fitted said they were to help the company improve energy efficiency.

Monday 30 November 2015


A round up of some recent HSE prosecutions and enforcement action in the construction sector  


25/11/15: Construction firm fined after worker suffers cement burns 
Further information
Construction health risks - Cement  

Lead exposure

04/11/15: Roofing firm fined after workers are exposed to lead
Further information
Construction health risks – Lead  

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

16/11/15: Building contractor fined for safety failings
Further information
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)  

Working at height/scaffolding

03/11/15: River Brain scaffold collapse lands three in court
03/11/15: Building firm in court for ignoring regulator
06/11/15: Ladder fall leads to court for Nottingham sub-contractor
13/11/15: Worker’s fall from scaffold leads to life-changing injuries
24/11/15: Roofer killed in fall from height
25/11/15: Construction site manager fined for safety failings 

Further information
Construction Safety Topic - Assessing all work at height
Construction Safety Topic – Ladders
Construction Safety Topic – Scaffold checklist


Further information
Construction Safety Topic - Excavations


Further information
Construction Safety Topic – Demolition  


Further information
Construction Safety Topic – Electricity – underground cables  

Mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs)

Further information
Construction Safety Topic - MEWPS  

Struck by
Further information

Tuesday 17 November 2015

Shared Parental Leave – for Grandparents

Chancellor George Osborne has announced plans to extend shared parental leave and pay to working grandparents. The Government intends to bring forward legislation to enable it to introduce a more flexible shared parental leave and pay policy by 2018. The announcement follows the publication of evidence indicating that almost two million grandparents have given up work or taken time off to care for grandchildren. More than 50% of mothers rely on grandparents for childcare, and over 60% of working grandparents with grandchildren under the age of 16 provide some childcare. More details regarding the plans are expected in the first half of 2016.


Monday 16 November 2015

46 per cent of sites fall below standards during a recent inspection initiative.

The Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE’s) Chief Inspector of Construction is challenging the refurbishment industry to act now and protect their workers, after 46 per cent of sites fell below standards during a recent inspection initiative.
HSE targeted small refurbishment sites during the month long drive and 692 enforcement notices and 983 notifications of contravention had to be served where there was a material breach of health and/or safety. Inspectors had to deal with immediate risks, such as work at height*, and also to deal with sites where workers were being exposed to silica dust and asbestos, which cause long term health problems.
Health and safety breaches were also followed up with clients and designers, reinforcing their duties under the Construction Design and Management Regulations (CDM) 2015 and help them understand their responsibilities.

Monday 21 September 2015

Mobile workers’ journeys to and from work count as working time – ECJ ruling

Journeys made by mobile workers must count as working time, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has on 10th September 2015.
The ruling could have significant implications for companies that employ mobile workers who spend a lot of time travelling between appointments.
The decision on the case of Spanish security system installation company Tyco Integrated Security SL followed the Advocate General’s opinion on the case earlier this year.
It concerns Tyco’s technicians, who use company vehicles to travel to appointments across Spain. The employer has argued that the first journey of the day (from home to the first appointment) or the last journey of the day (from the last assignment to home) do not count as “working time”.
Instead, they regard this travel time as rest time under the Working Time Directive. The technicians brought a claim, and the Spanish courts referred the case to the ECJ to consider whether the travel time at the start and end of the day was officially working time.
The Court ruled: “Where workers, such as those in the situation at issue, do not have a fixed or habitual place of work, the time spent by those workers travelling each day between their homes and the premises of the first and last customers designated by their employer constitutes working time within the meaning of the directive.
It said that not taking the journeys into account would mean Tyco could claim that only the time spent actually installing and maintaining security systems was within the concept of “working time”, and that this would jeopardise the health and safety of its workers.
The ECJ added that, because the workers are “at the employer’s disposal” for the time of the journeys, they act under their employer’s instruction and cannot use that time freely to pursue their own interests.
Chris Tutton, an employment partner at Irwin Mitchell, said that the ruling could mean employers will have to ask staff to opt out of the Working Time Directive’s 48-hour working week.
“Many UK companies do not consider travel time outside normal working hours as working time, but now that the ECJ has said that it should, thousands of companies may need to make changes, for example, by ensuring that assignments at the start and end of the day are near employees’ homes, adjusting working hours generally or asking employees to opt out of the 48-hour working week,” he said.
“If they don’t, employees could quickly exceed the number of working hours that they are legally allowed to work and bosses could therefore soon find that they are operating illegally and at risk of facing costly claims against them.”