Health and safety concerns over online deliveries
THE boom in online shopping meant Santa was a frequent visitor to Scotland’s businesses last Christmas as employees had their presents delivered at work. But the perk is under threat from lawyers concerned about health and safety.
Dawn Robertson, head of employment at Murray Beith Murray, says that while deliveries to workplaces may be more convenient to shoppers, a damaged item could lead to office strife, and too many presents might affect productivity.
She said: “During December, some office reception areas looked more like Santa’s grotto than a business front-of-house.
“Employers may be happy to allow staff this facility as a festive perk but they should also be aware of potentially negative repercussions in relation to health and safety, production and harmony in the workplace.”
Potential pitfalls include a receptionist being injured handling a heavy item, a dispute if something is lost or damaged after the delivery has been signed for, and entrance areas becoming cluttered.
Robertson recommends that firms draw up an official policy “for their own protection”.
In Australia and the US, some employers are already moving to limit or ban such deliveries.
However, Santa’s visits to Scottish workers look safe for the time being, as the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has not heard from members reporting the matter as a problem.
Scottish FSB spokesman Stuart Mackinnon said: “Most small businesses will develop a common-sense policy with their teams regarding the delivery of personal items to the workplace.
“Getting a set of crockery delivered to a building site is different to a surprise bouquet of flowers arriving at the office, and the vast majority of small business owners and their employees will understand this.”
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