This website uses cookies primarily for visitor analytics. Certain pages will ask you to fill in contact details to receive additional information. On these pages you have the option of having the site log your details for future visits. Indicating you want the site to remember your details will place a cookie on your device. To view our full cookie policy, please click here. You can also view it at any time by going to our Contact Us page.

The Legal Column

27 January 2012

The experts at Workplace Law address your legislative and compliance issues.

Grit / salt on iced areas
Q: What are employers’ / landlords’ responsibilities in respect of making roads, car parks and footpaths safe during periods of snow and ice? Is it true that we are only liable should an accident occur if we have treated or tried to clear away the snow and ice?

A: The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, Section 3, clearly states that the employer owes a duty of care to all those affected by their work. If an accident occurs on your premises as a result of slipping on ice, for example, an injured party could prosecute. However, if an employer has made an effort to manage a foreseeable risk of slipping by gritting / sweeping away snow and ice then this will be looked on more favourably than if no effort was made.

Company relocation
Q: We are moving offices and will need all employees to work from the new location. Can we change their contracts to show this new address as their new workplace and what happens if they do not agree to work from the new office?

A: The action you need to take, and the degree to which you can enforce the relocation to the new office, is dependent on how far the new location is from the old location, and the resultant impact on each individual's journey time to get to the new premises.

If the new office is very close to the old office and is easy to get to by public transport and car travel, then each member of staff should be consulted about the move and receive a letter confirming the change of location and the effective date.

If the location is much further afield or will be considerably longer / more difficult to reach as a result of the new location, you may need to consult for longer; consider travel expenses to counter the difference or where the journey is severely disrupted, you may even need to consider redundancy consultation with affected employees.

There are no hard and fast rules about what would be deemed 'unreasonable' in terms of distance or time added to the employee's journey; therefore you will need to take a consistent and reasonable approach to each case. Every step should be followed up in writing to show you have undertaken appropriate steps.

Weight limits
Q: We store raw material in large bins which are then lifted by a forklift truck. Currently the bins do not have any weight limits on them and we have been informed that legally the bins should be marked with maximum weights. Please can you advise if this is the case?

A: It is law that the forklift truck is labelled with the safe working load (SWL), but, regarding the bins, the weight will change all the time so I don't see how you can label it. However, you need to satisfy yourself that you DO NOT exceed the safe working load when the bins are at full capacity.

If you have a question that you would like addressed in this column please email it to the editor at

Contact Details and Archive...

Print this page | E-mail this page


View more articles
Article image

Why the Law Says You Need a Nappy Bin Disposal Service

At home, parents are used to disposing of their babies’ used nappies the same way they do any other domestic waste - bagging it up and sticking it in the r...
Article image

PFM Partnership Awards 2021 winners

Last night saw the first live presentation of the PFM Partnership Awards since 2019 and the evening was hailed as a great success....
Article image

Zero carbon increasingly influencing contractual agreements

With the UK continuing to increase its efforts to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050, these efforts can be seen to be increasing their influence on ...
Article image

Global standard for reporting of carbon emissions in buildings published

Launch of the International Cost Management Standard (ICMS3) universal standard for the reporting of carbon emissions resulting from the construction and l...
Article image

Duty of care for home workers update issued by HSE

Employees working from home are entitled to the same duty of care from employers as they would be if working from a company-owned or run facility, says the...

Benchmarking maintenance

BSRIA has just published this year's operation and maintenance benchmarking report as a guide for building operators to evaluate their performance against ...