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Law regarding breaks and required equipment


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My step son works in a pub as a kitchen porter, nothing glamorous just the usual first job, washing dishes etc.

 

But we've found a couple of issues and I'm sure they're breaching employment law but I'm no expert and could be wrong!

 

He works odd hours, one day it could be 4 hours, others it could be 8. But for some reason during the 8 hour days he's told he's not allowed to have a break (this seems common for most of the staff).

 

Also, because he's washing up he needs rubber gloves. Tonight he had to call me to buy some as there were none provided. I thought as it was washing up they must supply protective equipment as otherwise over time it would affect his skin.

 

Have either of those two breached the law, and if so, how do you deal with it?

 

Many thanks

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If he's 18 or older he's entitled to a 20min uninterruptedrest break in a shift of 6hrs or more. If he's under 18 it's a 30mins break in a shift of 4.5hrs. That's the 1998 Working Time Reg's rather than just best practice.

Sorry I can't help you with the rubber gloves issue tho :-)

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If he's 18 or older he's entitled to a 20min uninterruptedrest break in a shift of 6hrs or more. If he's under 18 it's a 30mins break in a shift of 4.5hrs. That's the 1998 Working Time Reg's rather than just best practice.

Sorry I can't help you with the rubber gloves issue tho :-)

 

The gloves issue would come under Personal Protective Equipment at work regulations 1992 and The Management of Health and Safety at Work regulations 1999 also C.O.S.H regulations 2002.

 

And just to point out this is not a trivial issue. Cleaning products used In commercial environments tend to be far stronger Hence a higher risk of skin irritation.

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^^ Correct

 

There should be risk assessments recorded at the premises precisely to identify any risks to health or safety as a consequence of either the process, or in using the required detergents etc to complete the task. If correctly completed (or if they were done at all) this should also identify that in order to minimise any risk it may be necessary for workers to use protective equipment such as gloves.

 

Top and bottom is that if it is necessary to wear gloves in order to prevent injury or long term damage then these should be provided. And we are talking about an item here that costs pennies, not a full NBC suit which would be unreasonable for the task involved. As a first step, a polite request of the management as to whether they might be able to supply rubber gloves might provide a quick and favourable response. If not, then your step son would be entitled to raise a more formal grievance along the Health & Safety lines, stating why he considers it necessary to wear gloves and any effects which might result if they were not provided for the task. Asking to see risk assessments might also cause a few panic attacks amongst the management.

 

As for the breaks issue, then he is entitled to complain about the lack of whatever breaks his age entitles him to as outlined above and as specified in the 1998 WTR legislation.

 

Of course none of this is likely to make him employee of the month and may even label him as a troublemaker who is best got rid of, but the fact is that the rules and laws are there for good reason, and there is legal protection against dismissal for asserting legal rights. Just tread carefully though!

Any advice given is done so on the assumption that recipients will also take professional advice where appropriate.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sorry for the late reply, have moved house and been awaiting the numpties at Openreach to install my Interweb. Breaks do seem to be an issue but they seem to be more accommodating now with breaks. As regarding the rubber gloves, they're on order (I think the owner was a little surprised they had gone as quickly as they had and assumed a second order had been delivered when they hadn't).

 

I'll bear all of the above in mind if anything re-occurs.

 

Many thanks for your assistance!

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Just for reference break entitlements are different for under 17s

 

Also for the rubber gloves if they become an issue - read up on C.O.S.H.H

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The SabreSheep, All information is offered on good faith and based on mine and others experiences. I am not a qualified legal professional and you should always seek legal advice if you are unsure of your position.

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