My bike to work scheme rejected on grounds of health and safety



A

Andrew

Guest
Hi all
I work for a certain Scottish Healthboard, its not on my job description as
an area to focus on but as nobody else was going to and being a cyclist I
put together a detailed proposal for the healthbaord of 5500 employees to
support a bike to work scheme - the paper was heard at the august meeting
and rejected on grounds of health and safety concerns and financial
governance.
Now, I'm very busy in my proper job and did this as an aside but feel this
view is drivel. I was not at the meeting due to other commitments and as yet
have not been able to get the text of the discussion. Does anyone have to
hand any quotable facts that I can refer to challenge this decision ?
welcome any thoughts (time is a serious issue so afraid I cant afford to
write up any long detailed papers as the basic rule for any briefing paper
is no more than 2/3 pages)

grateful for any thoughts

Andrew
 
Andrew wrote:
> Hi all
> I work for a certain Scottish Healthboard, its not on my job description as
> an area to focus on but as nobody else was going to and being a cyclist I
> put together a detailed proposal for the healthbaord of 5500 employees to
> support a bike to work scheme - the paper was heard at the august meeting
> and rejected on grounds of health and safety concerns and financial
> governance.
> Now, I'm very busy in my proper job and did this as an aside but feel this
> view is drivel. I was not at the meeting due to other commitments and as yet
> have not been able to get the text of the discussion. Does anyone have to
> hand any quotable facts that I can refer to challenge this decision ?
> welcome any thoughts (time is a serious issue so afraid I cant afford to
> write up any long detailed papers as the basic rule for any briefing paper
> is no more than 2/3 pages)
>
> grateful for any thoughts


I suspect the the H&S excuse was used because of the
financial and admin commitments think that they would have
to make.

However if they want to use H&S as an excuse you could
trot out the usual stats. about cycling as safe as
walking, improves health and longevity of employees,
reduces the risk of having a heart attack etc.
If this is NHS, you might be able to get your local
MP/MSPs involved.


Also the media would love to get their hands on a story
like this, but don't tell them yourself as it could make
your job disappear.

Martin.
 
On Sep 4, 10:24 pm, "Andrew" <[email protected]> wrote:
> Does anyone have to
> hand any quotable facts that I can refer to challenge this decision ?


Quick look finds:

http://www.lcc.org.uk/index.asp?PageID=229 has a nice summary and
references. Includes "Doctors and government health experts have
concluded that the benefits of cycling outweigh the risk of injury"
(Cycling: Towards Health and Safety, British Medical Association
(1992))

Also:
BUPA (tee hee) say "...the health benefits of cycling significantly
outweigh the risks of cycling on British roads" and reference
"Rutter H. Modal shift. Transport and health. A policy report on the
health benefits of increasing levels of cycling in Oxfordshire"
( www.modalshift.org/reports/tandh/print_version.htm )

That report caculates "new cyclists covering short distances
can reduce their risk of death (mainly due to the reduction of heart
disease) by as much as 22 per cent." It also has recommendations
for Health Authorities:

Recommendations:
Health Authority
The first step should be to lead by example and improve the
situation in the NHS:

- Encourage walking and cycling to work for health authority
and NHS staff
- Pay generous cycle and walking mileage allowances for
business travel
- Provide signage for pedestrian and cycle routes to all NHS
sites, and produce clear information on how to reach NHS sites
for pedestrians and cyclists
- Provide lockers, showers, and secure cycle storage at all NHS sites
- Work with other agencies to reduce transport-related health
inequalities
- Work with local employers to encourage non-car modes of transport
- Support better collection of data on cycling injuries

Also:
Executive summaries and references for the most important sources
at http://www.bv.com.au/file/Health benefits of cycling.pdf
This includes the BMA on above and a 14 year Danish study that
"found that cycling to work (an average of 3 hours cycling per week)
decreased risk of mortality by about 40%! How can Healthboard let
you do anything other than cycle to work!

Also:
Cycling Scotland are Scottish Executive funded, so their input might
carry some weight - you could ask them. On their cycling to work page
they have 'the British Medical Association suggesting the "overall
benefits of cycling outweighed the risks by a ratio or 20:1!"'

Also:
CTC have a document for you:
http://www.ctc.org.uk/resources/Campaigns/0505_AC_Healthbenefits_digest.doc
Section 1.3 has "Proposals to encourage increased cycle use on
health grounds sometimes prompt the concern that this could
increase the number of cyclist casualties. We do not accept that
this is a valid concern, for a number of reasons: ..."
They would also be worth getting in touch with.

So, we have BMA, International Studies, Cycling Scotland, CTC all
saying the same thing.

Also, as its a Scottish Healthboard, how about a HEBS leaflet:
http://www.healthscotland.com/uploads/documents/SimpleGuide_Physical.pdf
It says employers should be "providing incentives to promote
physical activity as opposed to car use during the working day. In
areas where traffic is congested, encouraging employees to
use bicycles and public transport can often cut down
on travelling time. Some employers now offer the
equivalent car mileage rate for such travel. This
measure promotes not only the individual's health but
also the health of the environment"


Hope that helps

PhilO
 
On Tue, 4 Sep 2007 22:24:00 +0100 someone who may be "Andrew"
<[email protected]> wrote this:-

>Now, I'm very busy in my proper job and did this as an aside but feel this
>view is drivel. I was not at the meeting due to other commitments and as yet
>have not been able to get the text of the discussion.


When you get that you could tell us what the arguments against the
scheme were. Then if they are real they can be countered.

However, if the arguments were religious (cycling is dangerous being
an example) there is often no amount of reason that will change the
zealot's viewpoint.


--
David Hansen, Edinburgh
I will *always* explain revoked encryption keys, unless RIP prevents me
http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2000/00023--e.htm#54
 
David Hansen <[email protected]> wrote in
news:[email protected]:
>
> However, if the arguments were religious (cycling is dangerous being
> an example) there is often no amount of reason that will change the
> zealot's viewpoint.
>


Other than the embarrassment of being ridiculed in the media, such being
well deserved here IMO. Presumably the minutes of the meeting are a public
record and could easily find their way to someone appropriate once they are
published. Doesn't someone here have a cycling friendly national daily
journalist friend?



--
Tony

" I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong."
Bertrand Russell
 
Andrew wrote:

> I work for a certain Scottish Healthboard, its not on my job description as
> an area to focus on but as nobody else was going to and being a cyclist I
> put together a detailed proposal for the healthbaord of 5500 employees to
> support a bike to work scheme - the paper was heard at the august meeting
> and rejected on grounds of health and safety concerns and financial
> governance.
> Now, I'm very busy in my proper job and did this as an aside but feel this
> view is drivel. I was not at the meeting due to other commitments and as yet
> have not been able to get the text of the discussion. Does anyone have to
> hand any quotable facts that I can refer to challenge this decision ?
> welcome any thoughts (time is a serious issue so afraid I cant afford to
> write up any long detailed papers as the basic rule for any briefing paper
> is no more than 2/3 pages)


Aside from anything else already mentioned, I would point out to the
bampots responsible for the above that NHS Tayside has recently
introduced the very same scheme and I am told it is proving rather
popular. Tayside Fire Brigade have also started it up and speaking to
my local LBS it seems that every fireman in Dundee has decided to get a
new bike.

Now, I really can't see that Health & Safety or the payroll
irregularities in Tayside's public sector will be that much different
from whichever bit of Scotland you're in, so I'd ask why it is
reasonable for health and fire safety workers in Tayside to enjoy such a
privilege while you and your peers are apparently naughty children who
can't be trusted to ride bikes.

If you want some hard inside details email me and I'll put you in touch
with the chap in our Supplies section who got it up and running.

Pete.
--
Peter Clinch Medical Physics IT Officer
Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Univ. of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital
Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK
net [email protected] http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/
 
"Tony Raven" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> David Hansen <[email protected]> wrote in
> news:[email protected]:
>>
>> However, if the arguments were religious (cycling is dangerous being
>> an example) there is often no amount of reason that will change the
>> zealot's viewpoint.
>>

>
> Other than the embarrassment of being ridiculed in the media, such being
> well deserved here IMO. Presumably the minutes of the meeting are a
> public
> record and could easily find their way to someone appropriate once they
> are
> published. Doesn't someone here have a cycling friendly national daily
> journalist friend?


Apparently Jacobs (jacobs-babtie, not the cracker makers) changed their no
cycling on work business policy after a suitably small amount of publicity.
(Article in the Times, pointing out they designed cycling schemes). It's not
perfect, still requiring an individual risk assessment (cf cars, which
don't), but better than it was.

(It was an USian bod who came up with the original poor idea...)

cheers,
clive
 
On Wed, 05 Sep 2007 02:04:55 -0500 someone who may be Tony Raven
<[email protected]> wrote this:-

>> However, if the arguments were religious (cycling is dangerous being
>> an example) there is often no amount of reason that will change the
>> zealot's viewpoint.

>
>Other than the embarrassment of being ridiculed in the media,


Those whose religion is compulsory cycle helmets are not ridiculed
in the mass media, despite them spouting a load of nonsense.



--
David Hansen, Edinburgh
I will *always* explain revoked encryption keys, unless RIP prevents me
http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2000/00023--e.htm#54
 
Hi Andrew,

You might turn it round ask the Board what evidence they have to
demonstrate that (presumably) motoring is the better choice on grounds
of health and safety?

If just prejudice it will be easy to deal with using material given
previously.

Good luck to you.
 
Peter Clinch wrote:
> Andrew wrote:
>
>> I work for a certain Scottish Healthboard,


> Aside from anything else already mentioned, I would point out to the
> bampots responsible for the above that NHS Tayside has recently
> introduced the very same scheme and I am told it is proving rather
> popular. Tayside Fire Brigade have also started it up and speaking to
> my local LBS it seems that every fireman in Dundee has decided to get a
> new bike.
>
> Now, I really can't see that Health & Safety or the payroll
> irregularities in Tayside's public sector will be that much different
> from whichever bit of Scotland you're in, so I'd ask why it is
> reasonable for health and fire safety workers in Tayside to enjoy such a
> privilege while you and your peers are apparently naughty children who
> can't be trusted to ride bikes.


Quote from the Edinburgh cycle web site:
"The cost of implementing a Bike to Work Scheme can be
negligible. Some administration duties are detailed below
but for every £500 spent, the employer saves £64 NI
contributions and this can help offset any set up costs."


Also I read somewhere that if employers use this scheme,
it has to be made to all employees generally, they can't
pick and choose which employees benefit. I do not know if
this is true though for different sites within one company
or organisation (like the NHS).

Martin.
 
Martin Dann wrote:

> Also I read somewhere that if employers use this scheme, it has to be
> made to all employees generally, they can't pick and choose which
> employees benefit. I do not know if this is true though for different
> sites within one company or organisation (like the NHS).


NHSx is a separate employer to NHSy, at least AFAICT down here at the
coal-face. My contract is with NHS Tayside, *not* "The NHS".

However, we obviously do have lots in common between Boards, and I would
think it would be rather telling that a H&S gotcha can be cited by one
Board while numerous others use the same scheme that is somehow
dangerous to H&S. It also seems odd that the government, of course our
ultimate bosses here in the NHS, are actively providing and promoting
this "dangerous" scheme...
Coincidentally our staff Rag came out today and there's a bit on the C2W
scheme, starting off with "NHS Tayside have launched a new scheme to
encourage staff to adopt healthier lifestyles and reduce environmental
pollution".
I would be very surprised if "Health and Safety" is anything other than
a smoke screen over the true reason of "errrrr, might be some work
involved, errrrrrr, errrrrrrr, need something to avoid bothering to look
into it, errrrrrrr, ah! Health and Safety is usually a good catch-all!"

(Moving beyond the specifics of NHS, you can choose /to some degree/ who
gets access to the scheme. For example, in NHST you're only eligible if
you're paid monthly and have a contract for at least the period of hire,
and similar caveats.)

Pete.
--
Peter Clinch Medical Physics IT Officer
Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Univ. of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital
Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK
net [email protected] http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/
 
Peter Clinch <[email protected]> writes:

> (Moving beyond the specifics of NHS, you can choose /to some degree/ who
> gets access to the scheme. For example, in NHST you're only eligible if
> you're paid monthly and have a contract for at least the period of hire,
> and similar caveats.)


Doesn't it say somewhere that it must be open to *all* staff or am I
thinking of something else ?

Jon
 
Jonathan Schneider wrote:

> Doesn't it say somewhere that it must be open to *all* staff or am I
> thinking of something else ?


It might /say/ that somewhere but it just isn't practical or realistic
in all eventualities so it won't happen like that in practice. For
example, I am technically University of Dundee staff, though I am
primarily employed by NHS Tayside. Assuming UoD offered the scheme but
not NHST, how would the Uni work a salary sacrifice from my pay when
they don't actually pay me anything? And so on...

Pete.
--
Peter Clinch Medical Physics IT Officer
Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Univ. of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital
Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK
net [email protected] http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/
 
On Wed, 05 Sep 2007 06:11:04 -0700 someone who may be Teredo
<[email protected]> wrote this:-

>You might turn it round ask the Board what evidence they have to
>demonstrate that (presumably) motoring is the better choice on grounds
>of health and safety?


Especially if they don't insist staff wear car helmets while
motoring.

>Good luck to you.


Indeed.


--
David Hansen, Edinburgh
I will *always* explain revoked encryption keys, unless RIP prevents me
http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2000/00023--e.htm#54
 
On Wed, 05 Sep, Peter Clinch <[email protected]> wrote:
> Jonathan Schneider wrote:
>
> > Doesn't it say somewhere that it must be open to *all* staff or am I
> > thinking of something else ?

>
> It might /say/ that somewhere but it just isn't practical or realistic
> in all eventualities so it won't happen like that in practice.


The scheme does say that.

I think what would happen in your case is who pays your PAYE?
Essentially, it seems very odd that you are "technically" university
of Dundee staff but they don't pay you anything, and presumably you
are not NHS staff but they do pay you.

Who pays your tax (ie, actually gives it to the tax man - I know it is
paid out of your money).

Whoever pays your tax would be your employer for these purposes (I
guess), and they MUST offer the scheme to all their staff.

regards, Ian SMith
--
|\ /| no .sig
|o o|
|/ \|
 
"Andrew" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> Hi all
> I work for a certain Scottish Healthboard, its not on my job description
> as
> an area to focus on but as nobody else was going to and being a cyclist I
> put together a detailed proposal for the healthbaord of 5500 employees to
> support a bike to work scheme - the paper was heard at the august meeting
> and rejected on grounds of health and safety concerns and financial
> governance.
> Now, I'm very busy in my proper job and did this as an aside but feel this
> view is drivel. I was not at the meeting due to other commitments and as
> yet
> have not been able to get the text of the discussion. Does anyone have to
> hand any quotable facts that I can refer to challenge this decision ?
> welcome any thoughts (time is a serious issue so afraid I cant afford to
> write up any long detailed papers as the basic rule for any briefing paper
> is no more than 2/3 pages)
>
> grateful for any thoughts
>
> Andrew
>


Thoughts:

First thought: take the H&S people outside and shoot them.

Second thought: and their replacements when they are appointed.
>
 
Ian Smith wrote:

> I think what would happen in your case is who pays your PAYE?
> Essentially, it seems very odd that you are "technically" university
> of Dundee staff but they don't pay you anything, and presumably you
> are not NHS staff but they do pay you.


No, I am NHS staff and they do pay me, I am Uni staff too, but they
don't. I work simultaneously for two organisations as it just so
happens that the department I'm in has two hats, but everyone in it is
either paid by one /or/ the other.

> Whoever pays your tax would be your employer for these purposes (I
> guess), and they MUST offer the scheme to all their staff.


No. For example, they are /not allowed by law/ to offer where the
salary sacrifice would take you below minimum wage. If you happen to be
on MW that means you can't get it. Other caveats specifically listed in
our scheme are:

- you must be paid via the Payroll
- not on a period of unpaid absence
- permanent or fixed term contract lasting at least as long as the hire
agreement ("lasting as long" takes retirement in as well as just leaving)
- aged 18 years or over

"MUST" or not, if you don't qualify for the above you can't do it. I
suppose someone might want to close the whole thing down for not being
perfect but I can't really see that happening.

Pete.
--
Peter Clinch Medical Physics IT Officer
Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Univ. of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital
Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK
net [email protected] http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/
 
On Thu, 06 Sep 2007, Peter Clinch <[email protected]> wrote:
> Ian Smith wrote:
>
> > Whoever pays your tax would be your employer for these purposes (I
> > guess), and they MUST offer the scheme to all their staff.

>
> No. For example, they are /not allowed by law/ to offer where the
> salary sacrifice would take you below minimum wage. If you happen to be
> on MW that means you can't get it. Other caveats specifically listed in
> our scheme are:
>
> - you must be paid via the Payroll
> - not on a period of unpaid absence
> - permanent or fixed term contract lasting at least as long as the hire
> agreement ("lasting as long" takes retirement in as well as just leaving)
> - aged 18 years or over
>
> "MUST" or not, if you don't qualify for the above you can't do it. I
> suppose someone might want to close the whole thing down for not being
> perfect but I can't really see that happening.


It's not legal, never mind not perfect.

I'm not sure that offering as an example of how the scheme can be
implemented one that is not legal is a very good step to take. The
scheme MUST be open to all employees. The 18-or-over is illegal both
within the legislation setting up the scheme and I imagine also the
age discrimination laws.

I should possibly caveat must be offered as must be offered to all
staff who can participate in any salary sacrifice scheme - which means
that the minimum wage scenario and unpaid staff are indeed excluded,
but the other restrictions are not permitted by law.

The fact that your employer is breaking the law with its own
cheap-bikes scheme does not alter the fact that for the cycle-to-work
scheme offered by the government, it must be open to all employees who
qualify legally.

regards, Ian SMith
--
|\ /| no .sig
|o o|
|/ \|
 
On Wed, 05 Sep 2007 20:59:24 GMT, burtthebike wrote:
> First thought: take the H&S people outside and shoot them.
>
> Second thought: and their replacements when they are appointed.


Send them off in the B-Ark :p

but seriously, getting to/from work is your responsibility not something
your employer bears any responsibility for.

--
Stephen Patterson :: [email protected] :: http://patter.mine.nu/
GPG: B416F0DE :: Jabber: [email protected]
"Don't be silly, Minnie. Who'd be walking round these cliffs with a gas oven?"
 
On Thu, 06 Sep 2007 13:09:44 GMT, Patter <[email protected]> wrote:

>On Wed, 05 Sep 2007 20:59:24 GMT, burtthebike wrote:
>> First thought: take the H&S people outside and shoot them.
>>
>> Second thought: and their replacements when they are appointed.

>
>Send them off in the B-Ark :p
>
>but seriously, getting to/from work is your responsibility not something
>your employer bears any responsibility for.


Since commuter road accidents have a disproportionately high impact on
employee health, I'd say employers have (or at least ought to have) a
vested interest in the subject. My former (H&S-obsessed) employer paid
for supplemental driving lessons for all employees, and it has had a
very positive impact on my own driving, and probably also on the
business.
 

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