Week Commencing 12/12/2022 – In The News

Four ways to keep warehouse staff safe this Christmas

warehouseOperational demand within warehousing and logistics always ramps up at this time of year. But new starters, tight deadlines and busy working environments all increase the risk of an accident. Stuart Taylor of Mentor FLT Training highlights what managers can do to keep everyone safe.

The winter months see a workload surge within the warehouse sector, what with Black Friday deals, Christmas, and January sales orders to fulfil. But this sector has been struggling with staff levels for some time, made worse by the pandemic and by Brexit. A recent study found that more than 80% of companies have experienced warehouse staff shortages in the past two years.

For many businesses, this might mean moving employees into different roles to cover shortages, or asking them to work in unfamiliar environments/areas. Other businesses may turn to recruitment, often looking to agency workers to supplement staff levels.

But if staff are not adequately trained to start a new job safely, they put themselves, and those around them in danger. In fact, research suggests workers are up to four times more likely to be involved in an accident during the first month of their employment.

So what can you do to minimise accident risk during the seasonal rush?

Read the advice on the SHP website.

Cold weather working: Helping staff stay safe and warm

Employers are being reminded of their responsibilities to keep workers safe as cold weather continues to affect large parts of the country.

Great Britain’s workplace regulator, the Health and Safety Executive, is stressing the importance of protecting workers during the cold weather. It comes as the Met Office has issued a level three cold weather alert until Thursday 15 December for large areas of the UK.

John Rowe, Head of Operational Strategy, said: “We’re calling on all employers to take a sensible approach during the cold weather we are experiencing. There are lots of jobs that will be more difficult in the current conditions. Most employers will recognise this and make appropriate accommodations for their staff. That is the right thing to do.

“It’s also important employers ensure staff are working in a reasonable temperature. People working in uncomfortably cold environments are less likely to perform well and more likely to behave unsafely because their ability to make good decisions deteriorates.”

Temperatures in indoor workplaces are covered by the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, which place a legal obligation on employers to provide a “reasonable” temperature in the workplace.

Read more on the HSE website.

Motor trade tackles poor mental health and wellbeing

stressed woman holding her headMotor trade organisations have joined forces with the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) Working Minds campaign to tackle work-related stress in the motor repair trade ahead of Christmas.

Ben, a charity that supports people who work or have worked in the automotive industry, has revealed one in two workers in the automotive sector have struggled with their mental health and wellbeing in the past 12 months, while 50% of those involved in the industry are likely to have been dealing with stress, worry or anxiety, low mood or depression. Ben has also seen a 190% rise in people using their benefits counselling service and accessing their financial guidance.

HSE, together with Working Minds campaign partners Ben, the National Body Repair Association (NBRA), the commercial Vehicle Body Repair Association (VBRA) and the Independent Garage Association (IGA) are promoting how to prevent work-related stress and support good mental health across the sector.

During the winter months, Ben sees an increase in enquiries and cases as many people tend to spend more time indoors and have less interaction with others, negatively impacting their emotional wellbeing. The charity says enquiries also come from people who are suffering with financial issues as they see an increase in their bills, which can also lead to poor mental health.

To learn more, visit the HSM website.

Residents of unsafe block of flats in Leamington told to spend Christmas in hotels and other accommodation

block of flatsResidents of a tall Leamington block of flats will have to spend Christmas in hotels or in other accommodation after being told the building is not safe to live in.

The landlord of Christine Ledger Square, Warwick District Council (WDC), has taken the drastic action amid fears of a Grenfell-type disaster.

WDC has written a letter to residents and representatives also held a meeting yesterday to notify those living in the block of the situation.

In the last year the council has had a ‘waking watch’ in place to provide fire safety cover and has discussed emergency evacuation action with more vulnerable residents should they need it.

John Brennan, a 52-year-old HGV driver who has lived there for more than 20 years, said: “I work shifts and was woken up a couple of days ago and thought there was a fire but it was two women from the council telling me I had to move out ASAP.

“We were told at the meeting the next day that some issues had recently come to light.

“They just want us to drop everything and if we want to get back into our flats we’ll need to ask for permission.”

For more on the incident, visit the Warwickshire World website.

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