Fire Risks in the Workplace

Fire Risks in the Workplace

Following the fire that tragically destroyed Grenfell Tower in West London on June 14th, it is important that employers are made aware of their legal obligations when carrying out fire risk assessments and what procedures they should follow in relation to this.

Legal Duties

The Fire (Scotland) Act 2005 and the Fire (Scotland) Regulations 2006 have replaced most workplace fire regulations. Under this legislation, those who are responsible for fire safety in the workplace include:

-The employer;

-The owner;

-The landlord;

-The occupier; and

-Anyone else with control of these premises

What do you have to do?

Employers are legally obliged to carry out fire risk assessments and keep these documents up to date, this is similar to a health and safety assessment.

Depending on the findings of this assessment, an employer will have to ensure that the appropriate measures are then put in place to minimise any risks. You must then take action to control these risks and consider how you will protect people in the event of a fire.

If you are responsible, you should take steps to prevent the impact a fire may have to the work environment. It is your responsibility to prepare and maintain any fire safety measures which will be required in order to safeguard anyone in the workplace – this includes visitors!


-When safeguarding employees, employers must appoint individuals to specific roles that may be required in an emergency plan;

-Employers should consult their employees of who has been nominated to carry out any role in connection with the fire and safety proposals;

-On carrying out fire and safety risk assessments, employers should inform anyone else that shares the building of any significant risks found;

-If you do not employ anyone else, yet, in control of a premise, you are legally obliged to ensure fire legislation is complied with in any area that you have control over;

-Employers should establish a sufficient means of reaching the emergency services and arrange that they can be easily reached;

-In some buildings, there may be a requirement of a licence before the business can operate, your local authority can inform you of this

The Equality Act 2010

When carrying out a fire risk assessment, the first aspect to be identified is, those who are at risk. Employers should assess those who are most vulnerable, E.G. children and those with a disability.

The Equality Act 2010 provides that those with a disability should not be treated less favourably. An employer should ensure there is arrangements in place to safely evacuate disabled employees/visitors from the building. You may be held liable for discrimination should you fail to implement this into your evacuation plan. It is important to note in this instance; the definition of a disability is not just restricted to physical disabilities.

Other measures to safeguard those that have a disability under the Equality Act 2010 include, providing clear, concise instructions and maps with diagrams that set out how disabled employees can get to a place of safety.

Additional information on fire safety

You can find a comprehensive guide to fire and safety by visiting the Scottish Government website through this link

Failure to comply with the law, even unintentionally, can leave your business vulnerable to costly Employment Tribunal claims. Seeking Employment Law Advice from qualified employment law practitioners can help you ensure you safely manage issues in arguably one of the most complex areas for any business to get to grips with.

Employers concerned about how these new regulations might impact them can take advantage of Employment Law Services (ELS) free consultation service – Contact us today to arrange your free consultation.

New Research Produced by the CIPD establishes the need for a flexible, affordable, and straightforward immigration system

CIPD: As Brexit negotiations commence, business owners sound the alarm over immigration crisis

Recent research published by the CIPD has highlighted the demand for a direct, flexible and cost-efficient immigration system following Brexit.

The research produced by the CIPD displayed:

-UK employers struggled to fill low or semi-skilled jobs with UK born citizens and therefore had no option but to recruit EU nationals

-25% of employers believed that a requirement for a job offer for an EU migrant would see a negative effect on the business

-11% of business owners claim they have recruited less EU nationals since Brexit

It has been suggested that the end of free movement in the UK will cause havoc to UK businesses and public sectors, unless post Brexit Immigration Policies consider the need in the UK for not just high skilled workers but, low skilled labour workers from the EU as well. The CIPD have been seen to stress this throughout their research.

In addition, the research asks that businesses expand their recruitment and people development strategies to make sure that organisations are attracting and developing UK nationals, further pushing for the Government to make significant changes to the skills policy.

The Future: Tackling Post Brexit Labour Skills and Shortages

The Policy Report investigates the reason behind why UK employers recruit EU nationals. In addition, it reveals issues around the shortage of skills and the scope of UK nationals.

The report also makes an assessment on whether the UK’s decision to leave the EU has had any impact yet on employers in the event of recruitment and retention of EU nationals.

The main purpose of the report is to analyse solutions for the challenges and obstacles that UK employers will face when filling vacancies, in hope of forming a policy that fits all sectors.

“Alongside access to the single market, EU immigration policy is arguably the most important public policy issue facing employers and policy-makers resulting from the UK’s decision to leave the European Union.” – CIPD

The Chief Executive of the CIPD, Peter Cheese states: “Access to skilled and un-skilled labour is a huge concern for employers. If the Government does not provide a straightforward, flexible and affordable immigration system for EU nationals post Brexit, as set out in our recommendations, significant numbers of employers are likely to face real skill shortages which may hold back their growth and performance.”

“With the Brexit negotiations starting this week, there is still little clarity on the immigration system that the UK will adopt after Brexit. An overly blinkered approach focused on simply cutting immigration to tens of thousands and focusing only on high skilled employees could leave employers high and dry, especially those who rely more on EU migrants to fill low-skilled jobs. The Government must therefore consult far more widely about their plans and invite employers to play a key role in shaping the future of UK immigration policy to ensure it works for businesses and the economy.”

“Our research also suggests that while Brexit will encourage some employers to work harder to recruit local candidates and people from under-represented groups in the UK, many employers are already working to build links with schools, provide apprenticeships and invest in training and yet are unable to find the skills and people they need.”

Within the report, the qualitive research identified that many employers struggle to attract satisfactory UK Nationals to fill low paid and low skilled job roles. Additionally, it was found that employers who are classed in the lower paid sectors (retail, hospitality, factory workers and care) had a higher chance of recruiting EU migrants as their expectations were lower for wages and employment conditions.

“Our research adds further weight to evidence that employers don’t recruit EU migrants in preference to British workers, but because they attract too few British applicants. Ideally, many employers would like to recruit more young people but working in a meat factory or a care home is not top of the list for school leavers now, and never has been.” – Heather Rolfe, Associate Research Director of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research.

There has been a substantial amount of criticism in regard to efforts made by employers when attempting to attract a larger range of UK candidates. It has been suggested that this particularly occurs in organizations such as, food manufacturers, hospitality and care, which heavily rely on migrant workers.

The report concludes by urging the new Government to implement a future Immigration Policy that is viewed as, straightforward, flexible and affordable.

How Can We Help?

If you are unsure about how these potential changes to employment law might affect your business, or simply want to check your company’s compliance generally, contact us and we will undertake a full review of your current arrangements and provide you with our findings and recommendations. Call us now for your free consultation – 0800 612 4772

Zero Hour Workers Holiday Pay Implications

Zero Hour Contracts & Holiday Pay

With the summer holidays on the horizon, it is important that employers are fully aware of workers annual leave entitlements and in particular those who are employed on zero – hour contracts.

Research by the Citizens Advice has recently shown that half of workers on zero-hour contacts wrongly believe that they are not entitled to paid annual leave. This has led to the Citizens Advice calling on the new Government to ensure workers are fully aware of their employment rights and holiday entitlements.

The charity reported further that employers are purposely misleading their employees which has been suggested to exploit employee confusion.

Gillian Guy, who is the Chief Executive of Citizens Advice stated: “Citizens Advice is calling for all employment rights enforcement to be brought into one Fair Work Authority that can tackle employers that break the rules. We also want to see a £50 cap on Employment Tribunal fees, so that people who are unfairly treated aren’t priced out of justice.”

The charity announced that over the last financial year, 185,000 employees sought help from them regarding employment issues. 10,000 cases out of this were connected to holiday pay.

One particular employee that received help from the charity had worked in a care home for over five years, roughly 48 hours a week. His employer had misinformed him by telling him that night workers did not have a right to paid time off. On helping this man, the Citizens Advice calculated that he had missed out on £8,900 worth of holiday pay.

It is important that employers who have workers on zero hour contracts, calculate their holiday pay entitlement on the basis of worked hours. If you have zero hour workers who have not worked any hours, their holiday pay entitlement for that period will be zero.

The law on zero-hour workers and status within an organisation is not straightforward for some employers. However, it has been proved as advantageous when a business requires a pool of staff throughout busy periods.

How can Employment Law Services (ELS) LTD Help?

If you are looking for tailored advice on taking on staff on a casual or zero-hours basis, or would like to ensure the employment contracts you currently have in place are suitable and truly reflect the reality of your employment relationships, our expert team of employment law and HR Specialists are ready to help. We offer employers practical and effective solutions for any HR or employment law matter, aimed at giving you peace of mind so you can focus on running your business.