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Outside work? Employers don’t shirk

What is the news?

The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) has found that nine in ten skin cancer deaths could be prevented and avoided if employers and employees took precautions to avoid sun damage. Unsurprisingly, outdoor workers are particularly at risk due to the nature of their roles.

What does the news mean?

Legislation sets out that employers have a general duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of their employees at work. A failure to take steps to provide a safe place of work could result in claims against the employer but may also affect employee retention. The Health and Safety Executive recognises this and suggests a number of ways to manage both cold and hot environments through some simple administration controls.

To coincide with Sun Awareness Week, IOSH has come up with “sun safety strategies” which would help to protect skin from the damaging effects of the UV radiation in sunlight. These include:

  • Regular updates on the UV index from weather forecasts;
  • Encouraging sun protection to be worn;
  • Minimising workers’ sun exposure in the middle of the day by swapping jobs among team members; and
  • Asking employees to wear long-sleeved shirts and trousers.

What do we think of the news? 

Health and safety law intertwines closely with employment law.

Of course it goes without saying that an employee needs to know their workplace is as safe as it reasonably can be when they attend work. However, an employer can go further than this and taking steps to show regard for the welfare of employees will improve employee relations and productivity. Engagement and culture continue to be the buzz words for employees and making small changes or gestures to support health and safety are positive steps forward. In the context of this hot response, these changes can be achieved through various means including implementing the suggestions above or simply listening to employees’ concerns regarding workplace temperatures.

If you would like to talk through any concerns you may have in relation to the above content, you can contact Solicitor, Heena Kapadi on T: 0161 358 0540 or E: heenakapadi@hrclaw.co.uk or Associate, Siobhan Howard-Palmer on T: 0161 358 0537 or E: siobhanhoward-palmer@hrclaw.co.uk.

This contains a general overview of information only. It does not constitute, and should not be relied upon, as legal advice. You should consult a suitably qualified lawyer on any specific legal problem or matter.