KBzine: the original kitchen and bathroom industry e-newssince 2002
15th June 2018


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Welcome to the

While producing this latest issue of KBZine I wondered where everyone would be whilst reading it... whether, because of the unusual arctic weather conditions that have brought much of Europe to a virtual standstill, you've managed to make it into your place of work yet or whether you're picking up your work emails and reading this in the comfort of your home (if you still have heat and light).

Wherever you are, we wish you a Happy New Year and hope that 2010 will prove to be a good year for you.

I heard this morning that the cost of a single day of absenteeism in the UK alone, caused by disruption such as this, is estimated to be some £230million. But what can a business do to minimise the damage?

The Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development says employees should do their best to get into work on foot, or where travel is less badly affected. Where they are genuinely unable to get in, decisions will need be taken as to whether to grant special leave, whether to require employees to take annual leave, or whether to shut down operations altogether. While there is no right or wrong answer, employers must take care to be consistent in the way they make the necessary decisions – guided by existing policies where relevant, to ensure that they are seen to be fair to all workers.

Employers should make clear to employees that they should not risk life and limb to get to work, and be understanding if employees need to leave early to avoid getting stranded unnecessarily on their way home – particularly if conditions worsen during the working day. Where employees are required to drive for work, employers also have a health & safety duty to ensure drivers are allowed extra time to complete journeys and factor in alternative routes – and that they are not pressurised to complete any journeys made dangerously difficult by the weather.

And although many 'white collar' employees might be able to work perfectly well from home for a day or two, the Forum of Private Business has warned that it is the responsibility of the business owner to ensure that their houses meet health & safety standards! I've been thinking about this one all day and can't imagine how they're reasonably supposed to do that, or what the penalties might be if an employee has an accident or something and it's found that he or she was working in an unsafe environment at home!

Having fallen foul of the weather around this time last year, when I was due to take delivery of a couple of large kitchen appliances which could not be moved out of the warehouse because of the conditions, I am aware of the problems it causes and the knock on effects where undelivered products start to bank up. If you're normally very busy, how on earth do you catch up? And then of course there's all the extra liaison with either the customer or trades person to ensure that someone is available to sign for the goods when they finally arrive.

I've become more aware of some of the problems this year, having attempted to oversee the fitting of a new kitchen for my mother while she's away over Christmas. Various parts weren't delivered because of the snow, gas fitters and electricians had to be delayed as a result... and now the appliances are in place the trades people can't get to the job!

And of course if the gas has been turned off ready for the hob to be connected and the trades person forgets to turn the gas (and therefore the heating) back on before leaving, there's the problem of frozen pipes to deal with... Luckily my mother's snowed in slightly north of Watford and won't be back home until everything's perfect!

Stay safe, and if you do have to let people down because of the weather, I hope they're as reasonable and understanding about it as I've been...



Jan Hobbs

30th November 1899

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