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The following laws protect employees Essay

Describe the main laws, which protect employees at work. Identify possible health and safety risks for employees in your chosen business. Describe the procedure for dealing with disputes. Identify official employee groups 2

Explain what the business does to protect the health and safety of its employees. Explain the purpose of the official employee groups. Explain how the business deals with disputes between the employers and employees 3

Evaluate how well the business protects the health and safety of its employees. Evaluate the contribution of the official employee group in implementing national working conditions. 4

Sonora Foods Ltd.

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Describe the main laws, which protect employees at work. Identify possible health and safety risks for employees in your chosen business. Describe the procedure for dealing with disputes. Identify official employee groups

There are many laws, which affect employees and their rights within their job. At Sonora, the following laws protect employees:

* The Equal pay Act 1970: States men and women should be paid the same wage and given equal working conditions for the same type of job. Sonora Foods abide to this and when every new employee is interviewed they are taken through this law. Sonora Foods pay the same wage for both men and women who have the same job title.

* Data Protection Act 1998: This law states that all the information employees give to their employers will not be passed onto to other businesses or organisations to look at and use. Also employees within the business will not be access this information and it must remain confidential.

* Sex Discrimination Act 1975: It is illegal for employers to discriminate men and women. Both sexes must be treated the same and given the same opportunities e.g. promotions, working conditions and rate of pay.

* National Minimum Wage Act 1998: 1National Minimum Wage rates were increased on 1st October 2004 to �4.85 per hour for those aged 22 and over (the adult rate) and �4.10 per hour for those aged 18 – 21 (the Development Rate). A minimum wage of �3.00 an hour was also introduced on 1st October 2004 for those 16-17 year olds above compulsory school age. Sonora foods abide by this law, the lowest they pay is �5.33 to the production workers, but recently introduced a wage increase of 3%, which raised the wage to �5.49 an hour.

* Health and Safety at Work Act 1974: All employers must provide safe working conditions, with safety procedures put in place if and accident should happen. Employers must cover the following areas, safe equipment and machinery for employee use, safe entrances and exits, a record of accidents, which have happened, and what actions were taken.

Employees at Sonora Foods are at risk to health and safety issues regarding the machinery and equipment on the production floor. Health and Safety inspectors visit Sonora Foods at selected dates and do regular checks on general hygiene, machine maintenance and employee safety at their workplace.

Health and safety at Sonora Foods is the most important law, which they must work by. They must look at two areas. The first is, the safety of their employees and how safe the conditions they work in are. The second is making their tortillas to their safe and required standard, for example pieces of metal in a tortilla, or mould growing on tortillas.

Machinery is one of the most dangerous risks which employees face. There are many ways which employees can cause injury, these are cuts on machinery, hair caught in machinery, inhaling dangerous gases and burns.

Forklifts driving round the warehouse carrying heavy boxes and crates are a danger to employees and visitors. Even in the car park there are health and safety risks, there are many lorries and forklifts driving and reversing around in the small car park.

All employees wear uniform, which abides to the health and safety laws. 2On entering the production floor all employees must thoroughly wash their hands with soap and hot water. This is to reduce the chance of bacteria entering into the production floor. The use of knives has been a problem with accidents happening to employees resulting in injuries. Sonora use large industrial walk-in freezers, this is a health and safety issue as employees could get trapped in the freezer.

I will explain how Sonora Foods deals and sets out safety procedures to protect their employees and keep the condition of the tortillas safe for human consumption in level two.

There is certain procedure which employees and managers must use if they wish to make a complaint or notify of a dispute. The first step is for the employee to discuss their problem/complaint with the manager in charge. The manager will try and resolve the issue as quickly as possible. If the manager is unable to resolve the problem, then directors will be notified of the issue.

In severe cases, the employee may be subject to the disciplinary process. This starts with a verbal warning leading to a written warning, then a final written warning then dismissal of the employee. This will only be necessary if an employee forces another employee to complain to a manager due to a dispute. If the Managing Director sees it necessary then employees can be dismissed. Employees can be dismissed for: theft, deliberate damage to company property, poor punctuality and attendance, violence towards fellow colleagues, discrimination and attempting the gain access to confidential or restricted files on computer.

Sonora Foods have no union for their employees, this is mainly because their employees have nothing wrong with their jobs and are satisfied with their working arrangements and conditions of their jobs. There are many unions for employees to choose from. There are unions for each specific business e.g. the Bakers, Food & Allied Workers Union is for businesses in the baking and food industry, this would be suitable for Sonora’s employees. Employees at Sonora Foods are free to join any union or organisation as they wish, however as they are aware none of their employees are members or involved in any employee unions or groups.

Explain what the business does to protect the health and safety of its employees. Explain the purpose of the official employee groups. Explain how the business deals with disputes between the employers and employees

I will explain using my research how Sonora Foods deals with all the health and safety problems that their business needs to work by.

* 3The issue of lorries and forklifts driving and reversing around the small car park has been solved by markings on the floor to navigate the way for people walking through the car park to reach reception. Also all lorries and forklifts which operate at Sonora Foods make a warning sound when they are reversing so employees and visitors are aware of them.

* The industrial walk-in freezers have been fitted with safety alarms and handles so it is possible for anyone trapped in the freezer to escape from inside the freezer.

* Sonora have purchased safety knives designed in France. If no pressure is applied to the handle then the blade is not in any danger of causing injury as it retracts into the handle. Since the introduction of these safety knives there have been no injuries or accidents related to cuts from knives.

* On all machinery there are safety guards, which protect the workers. Some of the machinery has infrared beams which when are broken automatically shut the machine down. Other machines have safety guards to reduce the risk of hair getting caught in a machine, or fingers getting trapped in machinery.

* On the ovens there are metal detectors to make sure no pieces of metal or dangerous parts will be cooked with the tortillas. Around every hour an employee deliberately drops some metal into the ovens to make sure the metal detector recognises it.

* When employees enter the production floor they are required to wash their hands thoroughly. To further make this more effective, Sonora has made the following changes. To turn on the hot water tap employees must use their knee to lean on a button. This is more effective as the employees’ hands don’t touch anything when turning the tap on and off. This reduces the chance of bacteria entering the production floor, which could lead to food poisoning or illness to their customers.

* Sonora always has at least one qualified first-aider on site at all times. There is also a first aid room within the premises.

* In certain areas of the factory there is machinery which make a lot of noise. Sonora issue protective ear plugs to the employees working in that area.

Evaluate how well the business protects the health and safety of its employees. Evaluate the contribution of the official employee group in implementing national working conditions.

1 Taken from http://www.dti.gov.uk/lowpay on 24th January 2005.

2 Research taken from a visit to Sonora Foods Production Factory on October 28th 2004.

3 All research in bullet points taken from a visit to Sonora Foods Production Factory on October 28th 2004.

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