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75% of UK workers are too scared to complain about poor health and safety

Health and safety whistle-blowers ‘fear the sack’ Climate of fear surrounds workplace safety – even for trivial problems

Three-quarters of British workers are too scared to complain about workplace safety because they fear that rocking the boat could cost them their jobs or promotion prospects.

The fear of singling yourself out as a “trouble maker” means that dangerous situations in factories, shops and offices often go unreported, a major health and safety law consultancy says.

According to the Protecting.co.uk legal company, this climate of fear surrounding a national decrease in job security could result in workplace accidents, injuries and possibly fatalities.

“We’ve spoken in confidence to hundreds of workers right across the country,” says Protecting.co.uk spokesperson Mark Hall, “And the recurring theme is that reporting a safety problem is a real taboo in work places – even for the most trivial of complaints.”

Protecting.co.uk surveyed 1600 employees in offices, factories, shops and public service across the United Kingdom and found:

  • 74% would be afraid to report a health and safety problem at work
  • This rose to 81% if it were something they thought trivial, such as a broken chair or a ripped carpet
  • 53% wouldn’t report a serious H&S problem such as an electrical fault or broken machinery in somebody else’s work area
  • 21% wouldn’t report a serious H&S problem such as an electrical fault or broken machinery in their own work area

The reasons given included:

  • Afraid of losing my job
  • Worried about promotion prospects
  • Worried about missing out on a pay rise
  • Don’t want to be labelled a trouble maker

“It’s a sad indictment of the way workplace relations have deteriorated in recent years,” says Mark Hall of Protecting.co.uk, “Employees feel they have far less job security, and would prefer to keep their heads down, even if it meant exposing themselves to danger.”

Protecting.co.uk says that media reports of whistle-blowers losing their jobs or being treated appallingly by their bosses deters people from speaking out themselves. However rare these stories, their relatively high profile – especially in public service employment such as hospitals – means that fewer people are likely to report dangers to their managers.

“We heard a lot of anecdotal evidence about people getting into trouble for complaining,” says Hall, “The survey turned up dozens of friend-of-a-friend stories that may or may not be true, but they do the rounds and scare people into silence.”

Recent changes to employment law has also deterred employees from rocking the boat over safety, Hall says. Increased fees and more complex access to Employment Tribunals mean that the number of people using the service has fallen by 59% in the last year.

“People are just too scared to take on their bosses,” says Hall. “Be it over pay, unfair dismissal, or health and safety, it’s suddenly become very hard to defend your rights.”

Protecting thinks safety in the work place is too important to be ignored, and calls for an end to this climate of fear.

“Safety shouldn’t be ignored. Workers at any level in a company should be encouraged to speak out, not fear for their livelihoods.”

For more information please contact mark on 07841779892 or protecting@disturb.co.uk

Protecting.co.uk is a national health and safety law consultancy that aims dump the jargon and get Britain’s businesses up to code with a no-nonsense, transparent approach.

The company employs six NEBOSH (National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health) accredited staff, and hopes to

Website: http://protecting.co.uk

Twitter @ProtectingUK

Source: Big fall in employment tribunals – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-27807516

Has remote working gone too far or not far enough?

Mother and baby in home office with laptop

Has remote working gone too far or not far enough?
Despite some firms pulling remote workers back to the office, experts find a revolution in where, when and how people work is underway

When Yahoo’s CEO Marissa Mayer issued an ultimatum to the company’s remote workers – return to the office or quit – it sparked a debate over whether new ways of working have gone too far. Some critics claimed organisations had allowed people to become too disconnected. Others feared remote working was killing collaboration and the ad hoc exchange of knowledge.

But new evidence suggests agile working isn’t about to disappear. In fact, two experts predict that more and more employees will decide when, where and how they do their jobs as communications technology, demographic shifts and globalisation drive a revolution in working practices over the next decade.

No turning back

cass_logoIn Future Work: Changing Organizational Culture for the New World of Work, Alison Maitland, a Senior Visiting Fellow at Cass Business School, and Peter Thomson, an Executive Visiting Fellow at Henley Business School, claim we are in the early stages of a transformation of work and there is “no turning back”.

In the book’s newly published second edition, they provide compelling evidence that progressive work practices are gaining momentum throughout the world. And far from being the preserve of a few trendy tech companies, even investment banks and insurance firms are starting to embrace them.

In the two years since the publication of the first edition of Future Work, we have seen yet more evidence that there is a revolution in working practices on the way,” says Maitland.

Given the economic downturn of the last few years, it might be thought that organisations would revert to ‘safe’ traditional practices and abandon agile working as a luxury. Yet we are seeing more companies recognising the need to adopt progressive working practices, even in traditionally conservative sectors such as law and investment banking. Companies like GAP and BDO in the US have meanwhile strongly reaffirmed their commitment to future work practices on the grounds that they are good for business and for employee wellbeing.”

The updated, expanded edition of the book includes an extra chapter on how to implement future work, including how individuals can drive change and how to avoid technology overload. Thomson explains: “The debate over Yahoo highlighted how important it is to manage new working patterns effectively. Poor management can, at one extreme, lead to people becoming disaffected and cut off from the organisation, and at the other extreme can mean people overwork and burn out. The solution to these challenges is not to give up and revert to out-dated working practices but for management and employees to work through the issues together.”

Industrial age

Maitland and Thomson argue that, while more companies are adopting radically new work styles, there are still many that cling to a rigid model of fixed working time and place that is better suited to the industrial age than the information age. Long hours are often required and rewarded without any measure of the productivity involved, and technology has simply extended working time instead of being used to enable “smarter” working.

There is overwhelming evidence that employees are more productive if they have greater autonomy over where, when and how they work. Trusting people to manage their own work lives, individually or in teams, pays off. Organisations that have switched to the new model also benefit from more motivated workers, better customer service and lower costs, say the authors.

Unilever, the global consumer goods multinational, has seen big business benefits from its Agile Working strategy over the past two years, including: €95m in cost savings from avoiding business travel; increased employee productivity; and the continuation of critical projects during disruption from major events such as the London Olympics and Hurricane Sandy.

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Graduate vacancies grow a third in a year

As UK companies return to graduate recruitment


  • Graduate vacancies soar 37% year-on-year, creating 15,732 advertised UK graduate vacancies this month

  • Total advertised vacancies rise 20% year-on-year, with 823,081 available advertised vacancies in April

  • Advertised salaries show first monthly growth in seven months, up 1.2% to £32,185 in April

  • Competition for jobs at record low, with 1.39 jobseekers for every advertised vacancy in April, down 38% year-on-year

  • Salaries soaring in the Science sector, with advertised salaries increasing 7.1% year-on-year in April to £36,249

  • More vacancies than jobseekers in eighteen UK cities, but still more than 10 jobseekers per vacancy in Salford, the Wirral, Sunderland and Rochdale

  • Competition for graduate vacancies falls significantly year-on-year, but still 30 jobseekers per entry-level vacancy in April, and over hundreds of applicants per vacancy at leading graduate recruiters

A recovering graduate jobs market has helped push the number of advertised job vacancies up by a fifth over the last year, according to the latest UK Job Market Report from Adzuna.co.uk.

Total advertised vacancies grew 19.8% year-on-year in April, supported by a flurry of opportunities for new grads and growing science and manufacturing sectors, as well as a burst of activity in the self-employment and part-time sectors. There were 823,081 advertised vacancies in April 2014, compared to 687,167 in April 2013. It was the third consecutive month in which total vacancies have topped the 800,000 mark.

Table 1:

April 2013

April 2014

Annual change from April 2013

UK Vacancies




Jobseekers per Vacancy




Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna, explains: “This month’s labour market reads like a recipe for success. There are far more job opportunities than twelve months ago, with graduates in particular benefitting as employers begin advertising for far more staff. Salaries are showing signs of improvement, which is helping improve household finances across the country. And the science sector is roaring back into life, contributing to both production and employment levels. An influx of self-employed and part-time roles has further bolstered employment numbers, leading to a healthy glow across much of the jobs market ”

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Pathmotion gets more out of Facebook for recruitment

Career Inspirationby PathMotion

On Friday I discovered the Career Inspiration app from PathMotion, which is quite unique in the fact that it allows employees of organisations to communicate directly online with prospective candidates at all stages of the recruitment process. Obviously there are a lot of people in the “social recruitment space” now, but I was keen to receive a demo as it their proposition seemed quite unique and well integrated with Facebook as well.

Although I struggle with Facebook personally, one cannot avoid the fact that you need to take it seriously in this time and age, so I agreed to let David Rivel, the co-founder to show me around their application.

Very quickly I was impressed. Although it is not aimed at recruiters as such, it will give you some thoughts on how to engage and communicate directly with your prospective candidates at different stages of the recruitment process. The product is aimed at larger recruiters and the same could be said for the larger recruitment consultancies. In my opinion, I thought the app would work particularly well for graduate recruits/school leavers.pathmotion

I think the most fascinating aspect of this Facebook app is that not just HR or the Management are reaching out to potential talent, but actual employees are used to facilitate engagement. This aspect may scare a few companies, but it has worked really well for some of its big name clients such as Deloitte, KPMG, Pinsent Masons and the NHS Academy. Basically it is using Facebook as a platform to enable prospective candidates to ask questions at any time in an informal context to their employees; like a conversation over a coffee or even a virtual careers fair. The difference is that it uses employees’ time efficiently, as they can respond from their desks, and that all conversations are stored and made accessible for all app users to read. A few of the discussions had over 500 views which I thought was a very good use to re-use valuable conversations between candidates and employees. Although the integration with Facebook is really smooth, the employees’ profiles are professional profiles set-up specifically to be an ambassador on the app, and candidates can post their questions anonymously if they wish to do so.

Another less obvious benefit of the app other than its ability to promote the company, was that by giving their staff responsibility in the recruitment process, they were empowering their staff to take responsibility in the recruitment process and making them proud to represent their company.

From a candidates’ point of view, using the app would be a good way to get noticed before an interview and I would have thought it would make sense for recruiters to encourage their candidates to participate, as I am sure it would give them an added advantage and help them be more prepared. Or the candidates can actually see if they are the right fit for the company or not, which would then allow the companies to attract more ‘relevant’ hopefuls.

All in all the system functions really well. Apart from its feature that allows candidates to interact with the company, the company can also use the viral function of Facebook to promote their vacancies, while letting candidates interact and communicate with employees, or ‘Insiders’ who can answer their questions that cannot be found in a typical careers page FAQ section.

We know that convincing the right talent to join your organization is a key challenge and involving your employees to help you to engage and attract those candidates makes a lot of sense. At the end of the day, they are the best placed to describe what the job involves and the best representation of the company’s culture.

I would encourage you to see some live examples of the platform to get a better feel of what it can achieve:

NHS Leadership Academy



Pinsent Masons



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