Category Archives: Tips and Advice

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International Women’s Day 2024

8 March 2023 marks International Women’s Day. It’s a day that celebrates ‘the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women’ whilst also calling for equality – where men and women are treated the same. No one government, country, charity or group is responsible for it.





















































We hope you found this of interest. Here are some useful links

IWD: About International Women’s Day (

International Women’s Day 2024: UK Statement to the OSCE – GOV.UK (

International Women’s Day | World Vision UK



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Dealing with cancer … with workplace support

World Cancer Day is held on 4 February every year and this year is the final stage of the event’s current three-year “Close the Care Gap” campaign to raise awareness and improve cancer diagnosis and treatment for nations and communities around the globe, including people at work. Jon Herbert reports.

Established on 4 February 2000, the World Cancer Day aims to promote research, prevent cancer, improve patient services, raise awareness and mobilise the global community to make progress in cancer care. Titled “Close the Care Gap”, the current three-year (2022–2024) campaign for World Cancer Day is about addressing the barriers that prevent people around the world from accessing the cancer care they need.

This year sees the end of this international campaign based on the message “Create a future without cancer — the time to act is now”. The organisers, the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), want governments around the world to promote health equity, enhance cancer service accessibility and reduce disparities in cancer incidence and mortality, to finally “close the care gap”.

They also hope that the 2024 message of “Uniting our voices and taking action” will create an opportunity for many to celebrate their own, or someone else’s recovery, from cancer. However, they acknowledge that the day can also be a complicated and emotional one.

People and organisations not sure how to support someone on World Cancer Day can refer to this information.

2022–2024: Close the Care Gap campaign

Below is a summary of the ongoing three-year World Cancer Day awareness campaign.

2024: Together, we challenge those in power — This final year will concentrate on engaging world, national and local leaders and demanding a commitment for prioritising cancer to “shake the very foundations of injustice” that it says many communities and groups suffer.

2023: Uniting our voices and taking action — The second year of the campaign focussed on bringing together the power of like-minded people. Real-world progress included building stronger alliances and innovative new collaborations — such as motivating neighbours to provide cancer treatment transport, and ensuring healthy and affordable food options are offered at local schools.

2022: Realising the problem — The first year of the “Close the Care Gap” campaign involved understanding inequities in cancer care around the globe with an open mind that challenges assumptions and looks at hard facts.

It added that people seeking cancer care can be hit by barriers at every turn — from income to education, location and discrimination based on ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability and lifestyle. However, these are not set in stone and can be changed.

Another priority has been helping to reduce the stigma of cancer, listening to perspectives of people living with cancer and letting their experiences guide thoughts and actions.

Cancer support

Macmillan Cancer Support is one of the largest UK charities and a leading cancer support organisation for the three million people in Britain currently living with cancer. It is also a major World Cancer Day supporter. Its initiative, Macmillan at Work, provides information, training and resources to help employers support their staff affected by cancer, as well as advice for employees.

The service is free and includes an Essential Work and Cancer Toolkit and access to Macmillan’s expert training.

According to Macmillan, 393,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with cancer each year. On an average, a diagnosis is made at least every 90 seconds. Cancer incidences in the UK have risen by 19% in the last decade and 40% since 2002.

HSE says occupational cancer can be caused by significant exposure to carcinogens in the workplace, often over a prolonged period. Carcinogens can be solid substances, liquids, mixtures, vapours, gases, dusts or even radiation.

Helping employers support people affected by cancer

Businesses need to have proper procedures in place to minimise cancer risks. However, they can also do much to support employees with cancer and others affected in their lives and the workplace. See Beating cancer… globally and in the workplace.

Work is important for many people with, or caring for someone with, cancer for numerous reasons. It can create a sense of normality and help with recovery. Managers and employers play a key supporting role.

A person who has, or has had, cancer is protected by law from unfair treatment at work for the rest of their life. Under equality laws, companies must try to support employees, including making reasonable adjustments to help them stay in, or return to, work when ready and able.

When making reasonable workplace or working pattern adjustments, the employee needs to be involved. Simple first steps could be to: talk and understand the employee’s needs, provide training for managers, check policies are up to date, educate all employees and raise cancer awareness.

Supporting employees affected by cancer can be difficult for small enterprises with concerns about impacts on their company teams and day-to-day activities. Information about legal responsibilities and supporting employees through cancer or a bereavement is available on the Macmillan Cancer Support website.

  • Talking about cancer with employees — HR advice is given in a podcast which includes examples of how people told colleagues about their diagnosis.
  • More information about cancer — Also as a podcast, a doctor explains how cancer develops, can be treated, and what might happen.
  • Cancer impacts on business — This presentation considers how small companies should deal with the financial implications of an employee with a cancer diagnosis.
  • Legal responsibilities — Two employers explain temporary changes they made to their employees’ work duties to help them remain in work during treatment for cancer.
  • Help with bereavement — Two managers describe how they handled the death of colleagues, the impact on their teams, plus advice from a bereavement counsellor.
  • Support for carers — Here Macmillan provides real examples of how people were supported by their employers while looking after someone with cancer.
  • Money and work — Financial worries about money are very common for people affected by cancer and Macmillan provides help.

Further information and resources

The leaflet 10 Top Tips for Line Managers offers top tips for managers to help them support staff who are affected by cancer.

Your Navigate Safety service includes a Working with Chronic Health Conditions Policy to download as well as in depth information relating to occupational exposure in the Carcinogens topic.

Commonly asked questions

Macmillan Cancer Support’s Work and Cancer webpage answers commonly asked questions about work and cancer, including help with money and finances.

To help both employers and employees, it looks specifically at the following questions.

  • How will cancer affect my work life?
  • How will cancer affect me if I’m self-employed?
  • How do I make decisions about work if I have cancer?
  • Will I need to take time off work?
  • What are my rights at work?
  • Am I entitled to sick pay if I have cancer?
  • What benefits am I entitled to?
  • What are the other forms of financial support?
  • What kind of support can I have from my employer?
  • How will cancer affect my feelings about work?

Coping with side effects at work

This is of concern to everyone affected and how you can get help is detailed here.

Specifically, this page looks at fatigue, risk of infection, bruising and bleeding, numbness or tingling of the hands and feet, changes in appearance, difficulty writing, plus other side effects or symptoms.

People with cancer-related fatigue tire more quickly and may find it very hard to do their usual tasks, concentrate or make decisions, and may feel more emotional and less patient than usual.

Some cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, can reduce white blood cells count in the body. White blood cells fight infection. With fewer of these cells, there is a higher likelihood of infection which may prevent an employee from being able to work. Also, it is important for them to avoid other people with symptoms of illnesses that may be infectious, such as a sore throat, cold, flu, diarrhoea, vomiting and other kinds of infection, like chickenpox.

Reasonable adjustments

People in paid employment who have, or have had, cancer are entitled to ask their employers to consider making reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act and the Disability Discrimination Act.

Employers must make such adjustments when the workplace or work practices put employees with cancer at a “substantial disadvantage” compared with colleagues who do not have cancer. The disadvantage has to be “more than minor or trivial”.

Employees are not obliged to tell employers that they have cancer. But employers do not have to make reasonable adjustments unless they know, or should reasonably know, that employees have cancer, for example, because of different behaviour. It is reasonable for employers to check whether this is connected to a disability. They can then ask how they may provide support.

Examples of adjustments are more flexible working arrangements, scheduling time around the days an employee is most needed at work, agreeing which tasks are most important, what can be managed and what other staff might do to help, changing duties, or making any changes to an employee’s role the employee thinks would help.

Other options include working from home when possible, having someone else assess which phone calls need to be taken and which emails are forwarded, telling colleagues how workloads will be managed and contact arrangements.

Eating well and keeping active are also important, as is relieving emotional stress.

Contact points

Direct information via mobiles and landlines is available free of charge from 8am to 8pm by calling 0808 808 00 00. The Macmillan Support Line can also be accessed. The Macmillan Chat Service offers confidential support to people living with cancer and those supporting them.

Macmillan also runs an Online Community. This online forum with a safe environment is available 24 hours a day and has more than 80,000 members who have been directly affected by cancer.

In Your Area is an online directory of cancer support services, self-help and support groups and fundraising events across the UK.


Since 2000, World Cancer Day on 4 February has been a focus point for improving worldwide cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment, while also reducing fear, dispelling misleading myths and altering unhelpful behaviour and attitudes.

This year is the last of a three-year campaign around the message “Create a future without cancer — the time to act is now” that wants governments to promote health equity, enhance cancer service accessibility, reduce disparities in cancer incidence and mortality, to finally “close the care gap”.

Information on how to support World Cancer Day can be seen here.

Macmillan Cancer Support provides information, training and resources to help employers support their help staff affected by cancer, plus advice for employees.

There is a lot of information to go through. If you require further advice, contact us so we can point you in the right direction.


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Christmas 2023




















































Contact us if you require any information.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!!!!!!









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Electric Vehicle Safety

Electric vehicles are becoming increasingly popular and so ensuring their safety is paramount. This article explores how to manage the key hazards and risks for the safe operation of electric vehicles.

Current UK Government policy is to end the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030 and for all new cars and vans to be fully zero emission at the tailpipe by 2035.

As a result, vehicle manufacturers are now focusing on alternative means of power, most notably electric as they phase out the manufacture and sale of petrol and diesel engine vehicles.

Latest figures from the RAC suggest that there are 712,000 “Battery Electric Vehicles” registered in the UK along with over 200,000 plug-in hybrids.

As this figure increases annually, organisations transitioning to an electric vehicle fleet will need to consider the potential hazards and risks associated with electric vehicles.

Vehicle hazards

Currently, there are three types of vehicles.

  1. Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV).
  2. Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV).
  3. Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV).

Battery electric vehicles use a large capacity battery and electric motor/s to drive the vehicle. The battery needs to be charged from the electricity supply network when the vehicle is not in use.

Hybrid vehicles typically use two sources of power (internal combustion engine and battery) automatically with the vehicle braking systems used to charge the battery. This differs from a plug-in hybrid vehicle that can have its battery charged directly from the electrical supply network.

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), “voltages present in electric and hybrid vehicles are significantly higher (currently up to 650 Volts direct current (dc)) than those used in other vehicles (12/24 Volts dc)” and that “in dry conditions, accidental contact with parts that are live at voltages above 110 Volts dc can be fatal”.

Battery systems may contain chemicals that can be harmful if released. They also store significant amounts of energy that can give rise to explosion if not dealt with correctly.

Based upon the above, the HSE have produced a list of hazards associated with these types of vehicles. This includes the following.

  • Fatal electric shock through the presence of high voltage components and cabling.
  • Fire and explosion through the storage of electrical energy.
  • Components that may retain a dangerous voltage even when a vehicle is switched off.
  • Electric motors or the vehicle itself that may move unexpectedly due to magnetic forces within the motors.
  • The potential for the release of explosive gases and harmful liquids if batteries are damaged or incorrectly modified.

Other hazards identified include:

  • the possibility of people being unaware of vehicles moving as when electrically driven they are silent in operation
  • the potential for the electrical systems on the vehicle to affect medical devices such as pacemakers
  • manual handling risks associated with battery replacement.

Although data is limited, there is some evidence to suggest that fires involving electric vehicles are increasing.

With an increase in vehicles this is likely to be the case but certainly there has been some notable warnings issued by UK fire and rescue services in recent times, particularly in relation to electric bicycles and scooters using lithium-ion batteries.

Of the data available, it does suggest that “thermal runaway” associated with vehicle batteries is causing rapid fire spread and total loss of the vehicle involved in the fire.

As a result, transport providers for example are banning users from taking their e-scooters onto trains.

Charging electric vehicles

The powerful voltages required to charge battery electric vehicles must be carefully managed. Factors to consider include:

  • installation of charging points
  • use of charging points
  • inspection and maintenance.

Organisations will need to consider where charging points are to be installed. If at the workplace, then all relevant general health and safety and fire safety regulations will need to be adhered to.

There may be circumstances where employees may be required to charge vehicles at home. Although there is limited guidance on this situation, organisations should as part of the risk assessment process be determining if this can be undertaken safely, following best practice.

In terms of best practice, the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) have published Code of Practice for Electric Vehicle Charging Equipment Installation, 4th Edition.

This publication provides a clear overview of charging equipment, as well as setting out the considerations needed prior to installations and the necessary physical and electrical installation requirements.

It also details what needs to be considered when installing electric vehicle charging equipment in various different locations — such as domestic dwellings, on-street locations, and commercial and industrial premises.

The fire risk assessment for the workplace should also be reviewed to determine whether any additional general fire precautions may be required when installing charging facilities. Factors to consider may include:

  • location of charging points (for example segregation from other areas)
  • when charging is likely to take place (for example, will charging be overnight)
  • current means of monitoring for fire and explosion in charging point area
  • whether premises will be unoccupied during charging
  • potential for arson (for example to hide theft of charging equipment).

Any installation should be undertaken by a competent organisation. The Office for Zero Emission Vehicles contains a list of authorised installers. These installers should follow best practice as provided by the IET and also found BS EN 61851-1: Electric Vehicle Conductive Charging System-General Requirements.

Clearly all employees required to charge electric vehicles must be provided with the relevant information, instruction and training. The primary source of information will be any guidance provided by both the vehicle manufacturer and charging equipment manufacturer.

It may also be advisable to extend training to include what action to take in the event of a malfunction including fire and faults with either vehicles or charging equipment.

As with any equipment installed in the workplace, the charging equipment must be subject to regular and appropriate inspection and maintenance. Again, the primary source of information to inform this regime will be from the manufacturer/s.

Employers may face situations where employees wish to store and charge e-scooters/e-bikes at the workplace (when using them to commute to and from work for example).

This should be subject to a risk assessment/fire risk assessment to determine the risks involved.

The National Fire Chiefs Council has produced generic guidance on charging including using approved charging devices and avoiding storage in escape routes. Further details can be found from the link below.

Using and working on electric vehicles

Electric vehicles can have different characteristics to combustion engine vehicles. As such all drivers should be given familiarisation training to include:

  • differences in performance and power due to instant torque
  • acceleration and throttle use
  • increased vulnerability of pedestrian/other road users due to less noise
  • braking distances due to heavier vehicles
  • battery range/efficient driving
  • journey planning (to take account of the above and charging points)
  • signs and symptoms of battery faults and damage (and what to do).

There may be circumstances where electric vehicles have to be worked on. The HSE have identified four categories as follows.

  1. Valeting, sales and other lower risk activities.
  2. Incident response including emergency services and vehicle recovery.
  3. Maintenance and repair excluding high voltage electrical systems.
  4. Working on high voltage electrical systems.

The HSE website notes that “additional skills and training will be necessary to allow people to work safely with E&HVs. The levels of competency required will vary greatly and are dependent on the type of work that people are expected to do”.

A suitable and sufficient risk assessment should be undertaken if any of the above activities are to be carried out by employees. Organisations such as the Institute of Motoring Industry have various courses to ensure competency of employees.

The HSE website also provides basic safety information in relation to the four categories noted above.

For example, it states that when undertaking maintenance (that excludes the high voltage systems), employees should:

  • refer to vehicle specific sources of information from the manufacturer and trade bodies to identify precautions necessary to prevent danger
  • keep remote operation keys away from the vehicle to prevent any accidental operation of electrical systems and accidental movement of the vehicle
  • visually check the vehicle for signs of damage to high voltage cabling or electrical components before starting any work on the vehicle
  • determine the locations of high voltage cables before carrying out tasks such as panel replacement, cutting or welding.


Electric vehicles are becoming the norm. As such, where an organisation is to utilise such vehicles, it is important that the hazards and risks associated with the use of such vehicles are known and appropriately managed.

As electric vehicles are a relatively new technology, it may be the case that the hazards involved with their use may change and increase.

It is advisable when introducing electric vehicles and associated charging points that their use and maintenance are kept under review.

Contact us for further information.

(Correct at time of posting)

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Fire Safety and Risk Assessments

What is a fire risk assessment?

A fire risk assessment helps you to identify risks from fire hazards on your premises and work out what actions you need to take to make sure any risk is as low as reasonably possible.

Help with the fire risk assessment?

A responsible person must carry out and regularly review a fire risk assessment of the premises. This will identify what you need to do to prevent fire and keep people safe.

You can do the fire risk assessment yourself with the help of standard fire safety risk assessment guides. Alternatively, if you do not have the expertise or time to do the fire risk assessment yourself you need to appoint a ‘competent person’ to help, contact us for further details.

You’ll need to consider:

  • emergency routes and exits
  • fire detection and warning systems
  • fire fighting equipment
  • the removal or safe storage of dangerous substances
  • an emergency fire evacuation plan
  • the needs of vulnerable people, for example, the elderly, young children, or those with disabilities
  • providing information to employees and other people on the premises
  • staff fire safety training

We have put together an infographic. I would recommend that you share the information with employees as it could be beneficial to them.

Contact us for further information.

Fire Safety Infographic