As temperatures in the UK plummet to below freezing, experts are suggesting this current cold snap may be a sign of things to come, with some predicting the worst winter in over 5 years.
Public Health England have issued a warning to prepare for a long spell of cold and advising those at risk to take precautions. In the workplace colder weather can have an adverse effect on employees, not only their productivity but it can also make carrying out some roles more hazardous.
What does the law say?
You may be surprised to hear that legally there is no minimum or maximum temperature in the workplace that employers must stick to, only a number of guidelines.
Regulation 7, under the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 states: “During working hours, the temperature in all workplaces inside buildings shall be reasonable” and “provide reasonable comfort without the need for special clothing.”
Guidance on working temperature varies depending on the nature of the environment, with a suggested minimum temperature of 16 degrees. For employees doing physical work this is lowered
Abuse experienced by shopworkers has risen by a quarter in the past year according to a survey conducted by retail union Usdaw, the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers.
In 2016 around two thirds of those working in shops were verbally abused, with 40% claiming that they had been threatened whilst at work, an increase of 38% on the previous 12 months.
Some of the incidents reported by participants range from verbal abuse dished out by disgruntled customers, to physical assaults and threatening behaviour involving the use of weapons. In one example, a frozen gammon was thrown at a store employee by an irate member of the public. Other cases include threats of physical violence being made against staff, with some even being followed home after work.
Shoplifting and refusal to sell age restricted goods are often flashpoints, although workers are also commonly targeted when they are most vulnerable for example when working alone, handling money, taking deliveries or locking up.
Combining this with recent news that crime in England and Wales is rising year on year, against a
Food banks have become a controversial topic ever since their usage increased rapidly after the recession. Some would argue that food banks are a giving service offering help to those in need. Contrasting views however, have caused a stir as some would question the high demand for food banks in the UK and argue that their purpose is being abused.
The Guardian recently revealed that there are at least 2,000 food banks operating in the UK, handing out emergency food parcels on a weekly basis to people in hardship. Furthermore, the number of people using food banks in the UK has risen by seven percent in the last year highlighting the increasing issue of food poverty.
Volunteers working for charities act as the driving force of their organisations. Without them, food banks simply wouldn’t function. According to the Belfast Telegraph “Food bank volunteers put in a staggering 4.1 million hours of unpaid work every year distributing food, fundraising and other duties”.
Like most charity workers, those working in food banks have to accommodate very vulnerable people, which
The number of crimes recorded in England and Wales has risen by 13% according to official figures from the Office of National Statistics – the largest annual increase in a decade.
A reported 5.2 million incidents took place in the 12 months leading up to June 2017 compared to 4.6 million the previous year. The volume of crime recorded over the past few years appears to be following a worrying upward trend, with an increase of 5% in June 2014-15, followed by a 7% rise from June 2015-16.
Violent crime is also climbing with around 1.2 million incidents recorded – 19% higher than the year before. This figure encompasses a range of offences such as violence with injury, knife crime, harassment and stalking.
Some key statistics:
Gun and knife crime has increased by 27% and 26% respectively
‘Violence against the person’ resulting in injury is up by 19%
Stalking and harassment rose by 36%
The number of murders has risen by 8%
Should we worry about the reported rise in crime?
There is some debate about the
Figures released from the Office for National Statistics Crime Survey 2016/17 revealed some alarming figures regarding the retail sector within the UK. According to the findings, in 2016, the retail sector experienced the highest level of crime, an estimated 5.2 million incidents within the year.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) statistics show that one shop worker is attacked or threatened every minute of the shopping day in the UK. Alongside verbal threats and violence that retail workers face, the survey revealed that in 2016/17 customer theft remained the most common type of crime, accounting for 75% of crime by incidents and 66% of the direct cost of retail crime (£438m).
Retail is considered a significantly large industry sector in the United Kingdom. Thus, there are many occupations that fall within this field. The retail industry employs around 3 million people across 300,000 outlets in the UK. At times retail workers can find themselves working alone during late hours. Although people may not instantly associate retail jobs with danger, quite often these workers hold responsibilities that can