Related posts:No related photos. One in 10 of all adults who suffer from asthma can blame their workplace,according to figures from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Bakers were one of the most vulnerable groups, with some 65,000 bakingindustry workers potentially at risk from flour dust, it found. A survey of 55 bakeries in the UK, conducted for the Advisory Committee onToxic Substances (ACTS), revealed a low level of compliance and poor workingpractices. Despite most (80 per cent) being aware that flour dust was a respiratorysensitiser: – only 26 per cent with five or more employees had assessed the hazards andcompleted a written risk assessment; – only 27 per cent were aware of the exposure limits; and – most bakeries were still using inappropriate work practices, such as flourdusting by hand and cleaning by dry-brushing. www.hse.gov.uk Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Poor conditions link to asthmaOn 1 Jun 2004 in Personnel Today
Previous Article Next Article This week’s lettersAre we really doing our bit for theenvironment?The actions of British Geological Survey (BGS) and others on environmentalsustainability are to be applauded (21 September), although, in at least one instance,they illuminate the potential for confusion and the complications that cansurround this issue. A milk float will undoubtedly provide quiet and fumeless transport around awork site, and using a second-hand vehicle makes an important contribution torecycling (including the prevention of the early release of lead and acid intothe environment). However, unless the electricity is generated from hydroelectric, nuclear orwind turbine plants it will merely transfer pollutants to the power station. Infact, it is a lot worse. It will generate more CO2 and NO emissions per milecompared to a conventionally engined vehicle, as 65per cent or more of the energy value of the fuel will have been wasted byconverting it to electricity (which is why natural gas heating is cheaper thanelectricity). Some experts believe that the much touted solar panels are only justreaching a point where in the UK climate they produce more electricity overtheir lifetime than is expended in their manufacture (mainly because of thelarge amounts of electricity required to purify the silicates used in them).When the additional carbon-based energy used in maintaining thermal plants onstandby to kick in during periods of cloud cover is factored in, each kilowattof supposedly “green” power they produce has probably contributedmore greenhouse emissions to the atmosphere than a thermally produced one. If organisations want to become environmentally sustainable they must beclear about the total impact their actions will have on the global environmentand not just consider their worksites. I have no doubt that BGS is aware ofthese issues and has ensured that the energy supplyfor its vehicle is from an appropriate source. But it is a point that should bemade to others seeking to emulate the company. David Kreikmeier-WatsonSenior HR consultant, The Corporation of London,Personnel & Management Services Encourage over 50s to stay at work Liberal Democrats leader Charles Kennedy has claimed that the retirement ofthe “baby boomer” generation ought to be treated as an”opportunity” and not as a “demographic timebomb”.As Kennedy rightly noted, the management of retirement itself is set for achange. “Retirement should be seen as a process, rather than a singleirreversible event,” he says. However, he went on to say: “We need to change the rules so that peoplecan carry on working part-time and still receive a pension from their company.This will allow people to gradually wind down their work with the comfort ofsome of the pension they have earned.” I applaud Kennedy’s commitment to the continuation of people’s workinglives, but instead of putting workers out to grass gradually rather than in onefell swoop, what is needed is a shift in employers’ attitudes towards older employees.The pigeonholing of employees both young and old will exacerbate the skillscrisis as the over-50s begin to outnumber the under-30s. What we have is anageist “glass-ceiling” – and one that needs to be broken through. Employers need to wake up to the fact that older staff can, in thishealth-conscious age, be just as dynamic as younger staff. This is thegeneration that drove business forward during the technological revolution.These employees are not afraid of a challenge and have experience on theirside. Many want to continue to develop their careers and remain in high-levelpositions – not embrace their bus pass and slippers. Why should we waste theirwilling, experience and expertise? Far from a demographic timebomb, the change indynamics within the workforce offers employers an opportunity – and it is theHR professional’s job to ensure that this opportunity is not wasted. Tim BradleyManaging director, PecasoUK Baby faces on the board of directors?It is comforting to know how important the directors featured on your frontpage considered the over-55s to be when commenting on your survey into olderworkers, conducted by BMRB (News, 14 September). However, judging by their photographs, it looks unlikely that any of thepeople you quoted – clearly senior in their organisations – hold the valuableexperience that comes with being 55-plus (or maybe they’ve just got good skin)!Chaz Williams (still a tad under55) Consultant, KLC Advisory Services Benefits do not apply to everyone I am writing following Patricia Hewitt’s suggestion that a future LabourGovernment will further extend maternity and paternity benefits and extendflexible working rights to carers. These proposals are fantastic news for parents-to-be, but not for those whorun a business around employees who can take long periods of time off at thedrop of a hat. Many City companies try to accommodate the needs of employees who havecaring responsibilities, whether for a child or a relative. However, enshrining this in legislation and extending the scope of thebenefits places significant additional costs on companies. On top of that,those employees who do not qualify for these benefits and who have to cover fortheir colleagues’ absence may resent the extra burden. While such initiatives are welcome in theory, the way they are implementedneeds to be considered carefully so that a benefit for one employee is notgranted at the expense of another. Ken BrotherstonChairman, Morgan McKinley Tribunal system is unfair to companiesA thorough review of the tribunal system to remove its clear bias towardsemployees is long overdue. Employers are constantly being blackmailed byemployees who bring meritless tribunal cases againstthem. Recently, a temporary worker brought a tribunal claim for unfair dismissaland sex discrimination against both our recruitment business and our client. Although the tribunal dismissed the case as without merit, it would notaward our costs, even though the worker later failed to produce evidence for anadditional claim under the Public Interest Disclosure Act. She subsequentlydropped this claim, having made it known that she would never have carried onwith the claim if we had paid up at the outset. So although we had acted blamelessly, we spent £2,500 defending ourselves. Opportunistic ex-employees know that the system is biased in their favour,so we are faced with a dilemma in future. Do we give way and pay off suchindividuals, or stick to our principles and defend our business against legitimisedblackmail? Janet Crawford Executive chairwoman, Angel HumanResources Rules needed to protect information The article by Stefan Martin ‘Share and share alike?’(24 August) touched on the issue of information disclosure and the forthcomingrequirements of the new information and consultation regulations. This issue has been a central concern of many employers in connection withEuropean Works Councils. The EWC directives confidentiality rules mirror thoseapplicable in the new regulations. One key issue is that the UKlisting rules and the New Yorkstock ex-change were drafted with a view to stopping financial gain fromdisclosure. That is not the problem. Neither is it enough to only excludeprice-sensitive information. Many European Works Councils have experienced thatthe disclosure of even ordinary information can provide strategically importantdata to a competitor. Disclosure can happen by error rather than intention, particularly intraining exercises organised with employee representatives from differentcompanies in the same sector. We need to find effective rules to protect bothcompanies and advisors. Peter Reid Principal, Peter Reid Consulting Government should fund union trainingI write following your article on the training of union representatives andwhether employers should pay some of the cost of that training (News, 7September). There has been a reduction in funding to the Health & Safety Executiveand there are insufficient enforcement officers to ensure illegal and unsafeworking practices among employers are being eliminated and reduced. The best-trained employees in a workplace are stewards and safety repsbecause of the Trades Union Congress education programme. These individualscontribute to highlighting bad working practices and ensuring new safetystandards are introduced, implemented and monitored. In effect, they are carrying out the implementation aspect of theGovernment’s enforcing officers. This confirms that to continue and improve thetraining and learning needs among the trade union movement, it is vital thatthe Government recognises the benefits of using activists’ skills. Therefore,it should financially contribute to ensure more people in all industries arefully trained. This would allow ground activists to be more involved and forHSE officers to concentrate on other issues. However, as well as financial help, the Government needs to introducelegislation to enhance union activists’ powers to pursue illegal andunscrupulous employers. This would help redirect enforcing agencies’ resourcesinto other areas of priority, or prosecution for more serious offences. Tracy Hill Health and safety representative LettersOn 28 Sep 2004 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.