• International Workplace
  • 26 May 2009

Workplace Law Facilities Management Legal Update 2009

The 2009 Workplace Law Facilities Management Legal Update Conference, which took place last week in central London, attracted over 40 delegates from both the public and private sectors.


Rob Castledine, Associate Director of Health and Safety at Workplace Law Group was chair for the day and oversaw a busy programme, which combined essential information on health and safety law and practice with the latest updates on a range of subjects of relevance to facility and property managers.


Key health and safety topics included an update on managing asbestos in commercial premises and an intensive fire risk management workshop. In the first of two key sessions, Rob Castledine provided delegates with an up to date guide to the recent and proposed changes in health and safety, including the role of senior managers in health and safety and an analysis of the HSE Business Plan for 2009. 


He later explored in-depth the processes and procedures involved during an investigation into a workplace accident and, specifically, the level of personal responsibility a manager may have should the worst happen. Referring to both the notorious Gillian Beckingham prosecution following the Barrow-in-Furness Legionnaires outbreak and the recent increase in the number of prosecutions of individuals for workplace fatalities, he took delegates through the various sections of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 that may be applied in an investigation. He also reflected on the impact of the new Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007, and concluded that “forewarned is forearmed,” so both organisations and individuals should ensure they would be ready to deal with such challenges.


Other sessions during the day included advice on meeting efficiency targets and preventing contamination within water supply systems as well as an update on the draft Construction Contracts Bill, which will impact on the payment adjudication process in many FM agreements.


With environmental issues continuing to dominate many FM agendas, the presentation by Michael Taylor, Head of Facilities Waste Management at MITIE Group, on waste management was very well received, despite being scheduled for the notorious post-lunchtime slot. During his talk, Taylor covered the revised Waste Framework Directive and answered a range of enquires from delegates on many aspects of waste disposal.


A question and answer-based session was held by HR Troubleshooter, Jayn Bond, Head of HR at Workplace Law Group. During this very well-attended breakout session, Jayn covered a range of pressing HR issues, including the latest information on TUPE and took a multitude of queries relating to redundancy and fair reasons for dismissal.


Summing up the day’s proceedings, Rob said he was pleased with the enthusiasm and interest shown by the attendees and reminded delegates to use the variety of resources available from Workplace Law, including the new series of Webinars tackling HR, compliance and health and safety issues.