Viewing the Legal category, page 1
It’s a fact that we are moving towards a recycling society as our (ancient) way of disposing of household waste is evolving. It used to be that we had one bin, we threw everything in it, and the council took care of it, doing whatever they did to it. That usually meant a landfill site, minimal recycling, if any, or wherever rubbish ends up.
That has changed though as we are now more environmentally aware, mandated by Government of course, but we are at least trying to make an effort and be more like our conscious European cousins (take the German recycling effort as an example there). Wonder if they do fortnightly collections though?
What’s our part in this grand master plan? Well we’ve recently finished printing off a large run of signs for the local rubbish trucks, to go onto their sides. As you see from the picture, they’re hard to miss, and remind us of what our recycling efforts can mean.
This is from the smokefreeengland.co.uk website:
From 1st of July 2007 virtually all enclosed public places and workplaces in England will become smokefree. A smokefree England will ensure a healthier environment, so everyone can socialise, relax, travel, shop and work free from secondhand smoke.
So what are the requirements for No Smoking signs from the 1st of July? Here is a quick list:
- no smoking signs must be displayed in a prominent position at every entrance to smokefree premises
- no smoking signs must be a minimum of A5 in area (148mm x 210mm)
- no smoking signs must display the international no-smoking symbol at least 70mm in diameter
- no smoking signs must carry the following words in characters that can easily be read: ‘No smoking. It is against the law to smoke in these premises.’ You can personalise your signs by changing the words ‘these premises’ to refer to the name or type of premises, i.e., ‘this gym’, or ‘this restaurant’
See our extensive list of different no smoking signs, including the signs with the text mandated by law.
The importance of assessing fire risk cannot be overstated.
If you keep on top of this and perform a fire risk assessment say, every 6 months or so, you’ll be doing a big favour for your employees. Don’t keep the information to yourself either. Share it with them, involve them in the assessment, and share the report and final details with them. The better they know where the exits are, where the fire extinguishers are, where the risks are, the less likely an accident will occur.
It is vitally important for a company that has hazardous chemicals stored to perform a fire risk assessment. For example, volatile solvents can leak, and the fumes might be flammable. Are there extinguishers nearby? Is the extractor fan inadequate?
GRS Sign Company Ltd. follows the guidelines laid down in the Fire Safety Risk Assessment guide handed out by the Department for Communities and Local Government. You can find out more at their site about the Fire Safety Risk Assessment rules and checklist.
As it stands here are the five main points they outline:
- Fire hazards;
- People at risk;
- Evaluate, and act;
- Record, plan and train;
And, it will affect you if you are:
- responsible for business premises;
- an employer;
- self-employed with a business premises;
- a charity of voluntary organisation;
- a contractor with a degree of control over any premises;
After designing a set of signs for a prominent educational facility, a discussion was started regarding the upcoming Health Bill enactments. The Health Bill will force all public places to ban smoking. Period.
For a sign company you can imagine the positive aspects of this, we hope that a lot more companies will realize their need for such signs, and use our online ordering systems to order their No Smoking Signs while they can get them. But the discussion centred around the position of most companies waiting until the last minute to buy them all in.
As of right now, UK companies have just under a year to prepare for this new legislation and get their workplaces properly outfitted with signage to remind employees of their obligation to not smoke.
To end this post, here are the Government’s proposals dealing with No Smoking Signs, section (7) of the Health Bill:
(1) It is the duty of any person who occupies or is concerned in the management of smoke-free premises to make sure that no-smoking signs complying with the requirements of this section are displayed in those premises in accordance with the requirements of this section.
(2) Regulations made by the appropriate national authority may provide for a duty corresponding to that mentioned in subsection (1) in relation toâ€”
(a) places which are smoke-free by virtue of section 4,
(b) vehicles which are smoke-free by virtue of section 5.
The duty is to be imposed on persons or descriptions of person specified in the regulations.
(3) The signs must be displayed in accordance with any requirements contained in regulations made by the appropriate national authority.
(4) The signs must conform to any requirements specified in regulations made by the appropriate national authority (for example, requirements as to content, size, design, colour, or wording).
(5) A person who fails to comply with the duty in subsection (1), or any corresponding duty in regulations under subsection (2), commits an offence.
(6) It is a defence for a person charged with an offence under subsection (5) to show â€”
(a) that he did not know, and could not reasonably have been expected to know, that the premises were smoke-free (or, as the case may be, that the place or vehicle was smoke-free), or
(b) that he did not know, and could not reasonably have been expected to know, that no-smoking signs complying with the requirements of this section were not being displayed in accordance with the requirements of this section, or
(c) that on other grounds it was reasonable for him not to comply with the duty.
(7) If a person charged with an offence under subsection (5) relies on a defence in subsection (6), and evidence is adduced which is sufficient to raise an issue with respect to that defence, the court must assume that the defence is satisfied unless the prosecution proves beyond reasonable doubt that it is not.
(8) A person guilty of an offence under subsection (5) is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding a level on the standard scale specified in regulations made by the Secretary of State.
(9) The references in this section, however expressed, to premises, places or vehicles which are smoke-free, are to those premises, places or vehicles so far as they are smoke-free under or by virtue of this Part.
Given the current political climate and this Health Bill coming into force next year, it is more and more important that No Smoking signs be clearly posted and displayed so citizens can clearly understand where it is permissible to smoke. Employers could even be committing an offence by NOT displaying No Smoking signs!
While large companies might have large budgets for signage it is also important small- and medium-sized businesses to conform to the letter of the law. We think that our pricing is fair and honest, and suits the large as well as the small business – you can order hundreds of No Smoking signs, or just a few, and the choices available are numerous – 3 pages in all.
If you are looking at No Smoking signs right now – are you looking for anything in particular? Are you looking for a specific design? Give us your feedback and tell us what you think of our own signs.
Take a look at our online ordering system for No Smoking signs and decide for yourself.
In a discussion recently, the issue of alcohol-related injuries at work was brought up. Clearly, no-one wants any injury to occur at work, but we have prepared ourselves for the eventuality, and as a sign company we have plenty of signage indicating the procedures to take in case of an accident.
However, this assumes one important thing – that the injury occurred on someone who was sober. What if an employee came to work in the morning and for whatever reason, was intoxicated, to any degree, a little or a lot. I should make it very clear right here, that it is our policy to send home any employee who is thought to be intoxicated. We do not tolerate that kind of behaviour.
After some thought though, it was suggested that breathalyzer tests might be implemented at work. It is an odd procedure to have to carry out mind you, can you imagine ‘spot’ breathalyzer tests, and having to explain them?
This leads us to think of the legal implications of course. What protection does the company have in terms of liability? If we permitted someone to work here who was slightly intoxicated, and they had an accident, would we be liable? What protections does the law provide the company in implementing such tests to prevent the issue of liability from even coming up?
Obviously this is not something that we can just implement at a whim, we have to be certain of our own protection, and the very protection we provide the other employees, before we instigate such a draconian method of enforcing sobriety. But on the other hand, to enforce sobriety in an individual might provide greater protection for all the other employees!
So, for those of us who are reading this and want to take part I have compiled a list of resources to browse through at your leisure, which I thought might be of some use to the discussion:
- The Institute of Alcohol Studies’ PDF document on this subject: Alcohol and the Workplace.
- Channel 4′s webpage suite on Drugs and Alcohol.
- Life Style Extra’s article on alcohol: one in six brits under the influence at work
- The TUC’s article on alcohol and work, a dangerous mix.
- Safe and Healthy Working: a good article on the obligations of employers, some legislation to follow, the benefits of having a good alcohol policy at work, etc.,
I should note that there is precious little information available online as to whether using a breathalyzer test is legal or not. Perhaps someone could add a comment if they find something useful regarding this subject?