Long-established health and safety consultant, Gauntlet Risk Management, is warning that evolution in catering equipment and kitchen design, along with chronic employee shortages in the catering sector, are creating a ‘new generation’ of fire risks not readily appreciated by restaurant and hotel owners.

Two motor sector companies have already paid the price for flouting health and safety law this year. Two directors of one are together serving prison sentences totting up to 12 years and 9 months; the other has been fined £900,000 plus £5820 in costs. Showing ‘duty of care’ has never been more important.

A little dust may have settled since October 28, when an employment tribunal decreed Über drivers can be classed as employees, not self-employed workers, but the fallout from this decision has major repercussions for the transport sector and health and safety policies. If you’re not über-concerned about this, here’s why you should be.

If you’re one of the 42 per cent of UK companies using temporary agency staff as drivers, do you understand the risks attached? Statistics show agency drivers are more likely to be involved in collisions - bad news for your fleet and your annual insurance claims tally. So how do you handle this?

Bad winter weather undeniably leads to an increased risk of accidents and insurance claims, but what fleet manager and bus and coach operators need to remember is that it preys on driver weaknesses, apparent all year round and just more obviously exposed in winter. This could be poor decision making, having a tendency to drive too fast, or brake too late, or driving too close to vehicles in front. So what’s the answer?

How much trust do you put in your drivers and is the answer ‘too much’? If drivers have been with you a long time, is your trust based on historical situations, or current ones? Have you really any idea how much your drivers drink the night before they take to the wheel? How can you tackle drink driving?

Head out for cake, enjoy lunch in a hostelry with a vibrant specials board, or buy street food from a mobile vendor and there’s a good chance your chosen caterer’s display cabinet, chalkboard or stall will have no immediately accessible information about allergens lurking within what you are about to eat.