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Risk Assessment & Employee Policy Documents for Severe Winter Weather

December 2014

The UK has recently been experiencing the effects of a much publicised winter 'weather bomb'. As we come into the winter months, do not forget that your business may have to deal with the consequences of more severe weather and all the disruption that this can bring both to your employees and your business more generally.

This may be a good time (if you have not done so already), for your business to review what risk assessment procedures you have in place to deal with any severe weather hazards as well as consider how your business will manage any employee disruptions.

Severe Weather Risk Assessment Materials

We have a comprehensive Severe Weather Risk Assessment package on our website that will help you, as an employer, to assess and fulfill your statutory duties under the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974.

All employers have a duty of care to their employees and others who may be affected by their business activities. Prior to periods of expected cold and potentially severe weather, employers need to be alive to the consequences of slips, trips and other injuries that are more common in severe weather. You need to do all you can to mitigate and manage this process and ensure that you have taken effective action to reduce the chances of severe weather hazards.

Our range of Severe Weather Risk Assessment templates can assist you in implementing the necessary action plans you need. These templates aim to help you to keep your working areas safe as well as providing you with the reassurance (and evidence) that you have taken the relevant steps to prevent a breach of legislation or accidents resulting from negligence in relation to severe weather hazards.

Severe Weather & Disruption to Public Transport Policy

Employers also need to be aware of potential difficulties and disruptions for employees caused by severe weather. Disruption to public transport during the winter months and severe weather conditions may mean that employees may find it difficult to get into work.

Our Severe Weather & Disruption to Public Transport Policy aims to strike a balance between providing employees with flexibility in the event of severe weather events whilst trying to minimise disruption to employers who need to run their businesses twelve months of the year.

Employers should consider alternative ways of enabling employees to continue working, for example, allowing them to work from home or to work flexible hours, or allowing employees to take paid annual or unpaid leave.

If an employee does not turn up for work or turns up late because of adverse weather or disruptions to public transport, the employer is entitled to treat the absence as an unauthorised absence, which means that the employee is not entitled to be paid. However, both severe weather and disruption to public transport are situations that are out of the employee’s control. Thus, the employer should proceed with extreme caution and the reasons for an employee’s non-attendance should be investigated before stopping his or her pay.

To access all these seasonally focused documents, click on the relevant links on the right hand side of this page.

The contents of this Newsletter are for reference purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Independent legal advice should be sought in relation to any specific legal matter.

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