All Domains

2019 - September

DRIVING - 30.09.2019

Will hands-free mobiles be banned?

According to press reports, the ban on using a mobile phone while driving may soon be extended to hands-free devices. Is this true?

GAS - 30.09.2019

How to safely use liquid nitrogen

Using liquid nitrogen is hazardous - it’s extremely cold, can lead to asphyxiation and may even cause a vessel to explode in the wrong circumstances. What’s covered in the latest industry guide?

MACHINERY - 30.09.2019

Accident compounded by first aid errors

A court has heard how an agency worker’s hand injuries were made worse by a lack of trained first aiders on shift at the time. What mistakes were made and what can you do to avoid a similar situation?

WORK AT HEIGHT - 30.09.2019

Director blown from roof

Three construction companies have been fined after roofing work continued during a major storm, resulting in one of the directors being blown off a three-storey building. How should the weather conditions have been assessed?

WORK EQUIPMENT - 30.09.2019

Overseas certification for chainsaw use

One of your employees occasionally uses a chainsaw. Although they appear to be proficient, their certificate was gained outside of the UK. How should you proceed?

CONSTRUCTION - 30.09.2019

Improving construction safety by design

Those involved in construction design work have a responsibility to design structures which can be built safely. In practice they may lack the experience to do this well. Researchers are looking at ways to improve the situation. What are the options?

WORK EQUIPMENT - 30.09.2019

Plant operators have responsibilities too

A construction company has been fined £1 million with one of its employees given a suspended prison sentence after a worker was killed by an excavator. What happened?


uninterruptable power supply alert

SOFTWARE - OFFICE - 30.09.2019

Make more efficient use of Word

Do you use Microsoft Word intensively? This program offers loads of options you may not be familiar with. The following tips will help you to make even more efficient use of Word.


Monitoring projects with Trello or Caltra?

Trello takes an original approach to the co-ordination and follow up of your professional projects, while Caltra calls itself a “Trello for humans, not companies”. Which tool is most suitable for you?

SOFTWARE - ANDROID - 30.09.2019

Use two apps simultaneously in Android

You’re probably used to running only one app at a time on your Android smartphone. However, it’s possible to work with several at the same time. How do you do this?

E-MAIL - WEBMAIL - 30.09.2019

Less is more: create order in your webmail

Webmail services sometimes look unnecessarily complex or messy. The following tips will help you to reduce the overload and allow you to work much more efficiently.

LEISURE - BOOKS - 30.09.2019

Borrowing or lending books with your Kindle

Are you a Kindle user? Few people know that you can easily lend your books to others. Let’s examine some scenarios to read books on multiple devices and share them among users.


The new Dropbox desktop app

Do you use web service Dropbox to securely store and share your files? We have good news for you: it has developed a new desktop application that offers extra possibilities.


Working more efficiently with Google Assistant

Google Assistant is becoming increasingly popular, since its launch it has been extended with many more possibilities to give voice commands. So what are the things can you do in Google Assistant?

SECURITY - PRIVACY - 30.09.2019

What are you revealing on Facebook? A checklist

Social networks store all kinds of personal data about you. Facebook does not enjoy a very good reputation when it comes to protecting privacy. Fortunately, you can do something about this yourself.

BUSINESS - TRAVEL - 30.09.2019

Airbnb: new search tools for business travellers

Airbnb has become a highly popular platform for cheap and original vacation rentals. Business travellers can also make good use of this service, and the professional possibilities have recently been made more accessible.

WEB SERVICES - Video - 30.09.2019

Record your screen

LEISURE - MUSIC - 30.09.2019

Work in peace and quiet


Conflict in the workplace

Some workplace disagreement is inevitable whatever the size of business. We’ve looked at types of conflict, management and resolutions.

SOFTWARE - OFFICE - 30.09.2019

Work efficiently with PowerPoint templates

Do you have to adjust the position of your logo or colours time and again on each slide of your PowerPoint presentation? The use of a “slide master” can make life easier. How does it work?

BUSINESS - music - 30.09.2019

Spotify at your business premises?


Are anaerobic digestion plants an option?

According to its trade association, anaerobic digestion (AD) plant installations have never been so popular. But a major river pollution incident has shone a spotlight on the technology. So is AD all it’s cracked up to be?

POLLUTION - 27.09.2019

Lead scare caused by Notre Dame fire

The roof of Notre Dame cathedral contained hundreds of tonnes of lead cladding. When fire engulfed the building in April 2019 toxic particles were released, settling on neighbouring buildings and the soil. What’s happened since?

CLIMATE CHANGE - 27.09.2019

New F gas guidance

The Environment Agency and Defra have issued new guidance to help businesses comply with regulations concerning fluorinated gases (F gases). Does this apply to you?

ENFORCEMENT - 27.09.2019

Can you be incentivised to comply with regulation?

The Environment Agency (EA) is looking into how more incentives might be used when it comes to regulating business on environmental performance. What do you need to know?


Review your management of waste

The correct sorting, recycling and disposal of waste is a high priority for most businesses not only because of the environmental benefits but also for the cost savings. Our checklist will help you evaluate how you’re doing.

WASTE - 27.09.2019

Suspended prison sentence for waste directors

Two directors have been sentenced after their poor waste management led to two of the largest fires the local fire and rescue service has ever experienced. What should you do to avoid the same situation?

ENFORCEMENT - 27.09.2019

Prosecution numbers drying up

Environment Agency (EA) statistics show that prosecution numbers have dropped significantly over the last few years. Why?


Unfairly dismissed for “pointing out staffing issues”

A manager who was dismissed for “pointing out problems but not finding solutions” has won his claim for unfair dismissal at the tribunal. Where did the employer go wrong and what must you not do?

MISCONDUCT - 26.09.2019

Workplace plastic = dismissal

It’s been reported that an employer has made it a disciplinary offence for its employees to bring single-use plastics into the workplace. Those who breach the rule three times will be dismissed. Is this legal?

RECRUITMENT - 26.09.2019

Interviews: can you ask about current salary?

As part of your standard interview questions you ask candidates about their current or most recent salary. However, a colleague says that this type of question isn’t allowed. Can you ask prospective employees for this information or not?

CONTRACTS - 26.09.2019

Is an unsigned contract unenforceable?

You want to invoke a clause in an employee’s written contract of employment and have dug it out to check the wording. Whilst that’s all fine, they’ve not signed the document. Does that mean the clause is unenforceable?

DATA PROTECTION - 26.09.2019

GDPR: €150,000 fine for getting “consent” wrong

PwC has been fined €150,000 after it wrongly used consent as the basis for processing its employees’ personal data. What’s the problem with relying on consent when you’re processing employment-related personal data?


Q&A - can an employee alter an OHA report?


Employee embarrassed by ruling

An employee has asked the Court of Appeal to withhold a tribunal ruling from the public register because the details were “embarrassing”. Can it do this?


Changes to off-payroll working rules to go ahead as planned

The government has now confirmed that the private sector reforms to the off-payroll working rules are still to happen from 6 April 2020.What’s the latest?


Offending words can be severed from restrictive covenants

In the first restrictive covenants case to reach the Supreme Court for over 100 years, it has held that any unreasonably wide words can be severed from the remaining, reasonable parts of a covenant. Can you now start to worry a bit less about your drafting?

CONTRACTS - 23.09.2019

Are pay secrecy clauses legal?

To prevent your employees discussing their pay and conditions with each other, you need a pay secrecy clause in your employment contracts. But to what extent is such a clause legally enforceable if an employee breaches it?


Negotiating settlement agreements

Settlement agreements are a useful means of ending an employment relationship on agreed terms and avoiding an employment tribunal claim. What are the main issues to consider when drafting and negotiating such an agreement?


Effective management of performance

Staff numbers are growing but you’re finding it increasingly difficult to get them to focus on the core business objectives, resulting in time lost on peripheral activities. Could performance management get them back on track?


What’s ahead for employment law?

The government has now launched a further three consultation exercises covering various diverse employment matters. What specific matters is it consulting on and what are its proposals for employment law reform?

TUPE - 23.09.2019

TUPE - who and what automatically transfers?

TUPE applies to a “relevant transfer”, which can either be a service provision change or a business transfer. Where TUPE applies it’s important to know which people, rights and liabilities do or don’t transfer. What’s the answer?

PENSIONS - 23.09.2019

New re-enrolment tool launched

CONTRACTS - 23.09.2019

Electronic signatures are legally valid

The Law Commission has confirmed that electronic signatures are valid and can be used to execute employment contracts, etc. What’s this mean in practice?

HOLIDAYS - 23.09.2019

Holiday pay calculation for part-year workers confirmed

The Court of Appeal has upheld the Employment Appeal Tribunal’s ruling that holiday pay for part-year workers isn’t subject to a pro rata reduction. What should you do now?

TAX PAYMENTS - 19.09.2019

P800 season

It’s the time of year when HMRC completes its reconciliation of taxpayer records for the previous tax year via the P800 process. What do you need to know about it and the inevitable employee queries?

STUDENT LOANS - 19.09.2019

Student loans: unravelling the complexities

As another cohort of graduates joins the workforce, some with £50,000 worth of debt repayable through the payroll system, what questions might you get asked about repayments?


More expensive bikes now available

As cycling becomes increasingly popular, HMRC has updated its guidance to allow employers to provide more expensive bikes. What are the new rules you need to be aware of?


Off-payroll - your next steps

In mid-July 2019 HMRC published the draft Finance Bill legislation that will introduce the off-payroll rules to the private sector in April 2020. What should you be doing as a result?


August Bulletin round up


What’s new for payroll?

Payroll software developers have now been told what changes they will be delivering for April 2020. What do you need to know?

COURT ORDERS - 19.09.2019

Rumours of new court order unfounded

PROPERTY - 17.09.2019

Making the transition from cash accounting

As a landlord you can prepare your tax accounts either on a cash basis or using the normal accounting rules (the accruals basis). If you change methods you must make transitional adjustments. What’s involved?

VAT - 17.09.2019

Did MTD pass its first proper test?

The first big test for Making Tax Digital for VAT (MTDfV) is history. There was a fairly high failure rate but not as bad as originally feared. What lessons were learned and how might they help you overcome future MTDfV problems?


Can you now claim “investors’ relief”?

A few years ago you bought shares in a new company on the recommendation of a friend. It’s done rather well and you’ve received an offer to buy your shares. If you sell, will you be entitled to investors’ relief on the capital gain you make?

PAYE - 17.09.2019

Paying a director off the record

You’ve engaged the services of a non-executive director (NED) who has experience in growing companies. She says she’s freelance and has asked for her fees to be paid free of tax and NI. Is that OK or do you run the risk of trouble with HMRC?


How to enhance tax and NI-free termination payments

New rules will apply to employment termination payments from 6 April 2020 meaning that some settlements will be subject to NI as well as tax. With this in mind, how can you improve the tax and NI efficiency of a termination settlement?

IR35 - 17.09.2019

Latest IR35 guidance from HMRC

HMRC’s guidance on the new IR35 regime for the private sector is light on information for contractors. If you’re a contractor personally providing services, what steps should you take before the new regime applies?

BREXIT - 16.09.2019

Act now if you want to trade with EU

Less than half the businesses known to trade with the EU have taken the necessary steps to allow them to continue after Brexit. Is your business ready?

WEB ANALYSIS - 16.09.2019

How to mine data

Are you making the most of your website? As well as being your virtual shop window your website is a mine of information that you can use to your advantage. How can you tap into the data, and what can you do with it?

TERMS & CONDITIONS - 16.09.2019

Why your T&Cs need TLC

When was the last time you checked your terms and conditions? As there are strict rules governing their fairness, it’s worthwhile carrying out a review to make sure they’re up to scratch. What do you need to look out for?

TAX - LOANS - 16.09.2019

Should you write off or release a director’s loan?

One of your company’s director shareholders wants out and as part of the deal he wants the balance of his overdrawn director’s loan account written off. What steps are needed to make the arrangement tax efficient for your company?

HEALTH & SAFETY - 16.09.2019

Getting the most from safety inspections

A colleague says that your business should be carrying out routine periodic health and safety inspections of its premises. What are these and should you really be doing them?

ENVIRONMENT - 16.09.2019

Where to start with plastic?

The small coffee shop chain that banned the use of disposable cups has lost £250,000 in sales, but now plans to introduce even more restrictions. What’s the story and what can you learn from it?

SOFTWARE - WINDOWS - 13.09.2019

Fast repair for Windows

Windows 10 may be a stable operating system, but something can always go wrong, causing certain functions, or even your entire system, to stop working properly. These two free tools help to solve various problems.

SOFTWARE - OFFICE - 13.09.2019

Six hidden functions in Microsoft Word

You will probably be using Microsoft Word for composing letters, making quotations, etc. The possibilities of this word processor are countless, but here are some features that may be new to you.

SOFTWARE - ANDROID - 13.09.2019

How to update your Android smartphone

In contrast to iPhones, almost all of which are running the same version of the operating system, there are many different versions of Android available. How do you make sure that you have the latest version?

E-MAIL - E-MAIL USE - 13.09.2019

Change your sender name and e-mail address

Would you like to change your sender name, create one or more new e-mail addresses or ensure that your e-mails do not end up in the wrong place? The following tips and tricks will help you.

COMPUTER - MOBILE - 13.09.2019

Transform your old laptop into a Chromebook

The Chromebook is a cheap and therefore popular alternative to the laptop. As the system has few requirements, it generally runs without any problems - and for free - on older Windows laptops or MacBooks. How do you get started?


Schedule meetings with your customers

We all have busy schedules these days. Booking an appointment or meeting with customers has become a complex task. Fortunately, there are online tools that can help you. Here are three examples.


Improve your website with A/B tests

Your company’s website is a dynamic platform that you continually need to adjust and update. How can you use A/B testing to gradually improve your webpages?

SECURITY - PRIVACY - 13.09.2019

Stop e-mail tracking

Most advertising e-mails that succeed in getting through your spam filter almost always keep an eye on whether you are actually opening and reading the message. How does this work and, more importantly, how do you stop it?


Six tools to edit PDFs

The main advantage of PDF files is that they look identical on any device or operating system. On the downside, editing PDF files is not easy. Fortunately, these six free tools can help you.


Managing a business and its people

It’s important to manage a business so that employees feel appreciated and perform to the best of their ability. Here’s some advice.

entertainment - RESTAURANTS - 13.09.2019

A cheap (business) lunch?

SOFTWARE - APPS - 13.09.2019

Manage documents in iOS


Remote assistance in Chrome

Chrome Remote Desktop has long been a useful tool for remote computer assistance. However, the old app no longer works. How can you still receive or give external support?

CONSTRUCTION - 12.09.2019

Raising the bar in construction

The Competence Steering Group has published a document that details major changes required in the construction sector. What do you need to know?

ASBESTOS - 12.09.2019

The HSE indicates low confidence in asbestos removals

When the HSE was asked whether all asbestos-containing materials should be compulsorily removed from buildings, its comments gave an insight into its concerns about the asbestos removal industry. What’s the story?

VIBRATION - 12.09.2019

Updated guidance on hand-arm vibration

The HSE has recently revised its guidance document which helps businesses apply the Control of Vibration and Work Regulations 2005. What’s changed in the second edition?


£1 million fine for burn injuries

A case which concluded in July 2019 concerned an accident in which two employees sustained serious burns. What were the causes of the incident and how could it have been avoided?


Ensure your racking is used safely

Storage racking may seem like a simple option but if it’s poorly installed, misused, overloaded or not maintained you might have a serious accident on your hands. Develop your own policy using our template.

ENFORCEMENT - 12.09.2019

Company ignored five improvement notices

When an HSE inspector uncovered multiple breaches of legislation at a manufacturing premises, she issued five improvement notices. But the directors decided to ignore them. What happened next?

CONSTRUCTION - 12.09.2019

Should you break up your construction project?

One of our subscribers has asked if they should break up their building project into smaller parts to avoid having to notify the HSE under the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015)?

PRODUCT SAFETY - 12.09.2019

Whirlpool recalls 500,000 tumble dryers


Q&A - do we need a yellow cabinet?


Is making a covert recording gross misconduct?

The Employment Appeal Tribunal has considered whether an employee will always commit an act of gross misconduct where they make a covert recording in the workplace. What did it decide and how can you protect yourself?

discrimination - 11.09.2019

“Happy Birthday” written inside condolence card

In many workplaces a group card will be sent when an employee experiences a major life event or a birthday. However, based on the experience of one employer, what should you watch out for?


Helping employees with rail fare hikes

Commuters will be subject to a 2.8% rail fare hike in January 2020. Whilst you can help your employees by providing interest-free season ticket loans, what else could you consider?

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