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How Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 Affects Business Essay

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Updated: Apr 30th, 2022

Introduction

In every country of the world, there are always laws governing the employees and the employers relationships. These are formulated to ensure smooth relationships between the employers and the employees. These laws stipulate each side’s rights and duties and prevent unnecessary litigation between the two (employer and employee). The laws are in most cases formulated for the sake of employees to prevent them from being intimidated by the employers. In 1974, the British government enacted a law, Health and Safety Act that was aimed at controlling smooth relationships between the employers and employees. The Act among other things stipulates employer’s general duties towards their employees and employees towards themselves and other members of public. The Act emphasize the circumstances under which an action is possible and holds that an employer does not necessarily has to take measures that are impossible or inapplicable to reduce or avoid the risk. The following report analyzes how the Act has affected businesses since it was enacted focusing on McDonald’s fast foods company as the case study (Derdak and Pederson 5).

McDonald’s fast foods Company and the Industry it Operates

McDonald’s fast foods company operates in a hospitality industry. There are so many laws that have to be complied with in this industry due to its nature. This is because the industry involves provision of foods and drinks to the customers and the health of these customers become is more important than the services themselves. High hygienic standards need to be maintained and the employer has to treat the employees with utmost respect without violation of their rights. McDonalds has tried as much as it can to abide to the law though at some point, it went against the law and legal action was taken against it that saw the company take a different direction thus improving its performance and escape unnecessary costs incurred in fine suits due to non-compliance (Love 9).

One of the provisions of the law is for the employers to carry out risk assessment in the work places. That is, how risky are the employees and the dangers that the may be exposed to during the performance of their duties. This not only applies to the employees but also to the customers served. In a move to show complete compliance, the law has seen the McDonalds ensure that all the employees are in protective clothing depending on the restaurant section they operate. Those working in the kitchen department have been provided with special clothing and other protective helmets to insulate them against excess heat that has seen the company create a conducive working environment for the staff as required by the law. In addition, all the staff is required to undergo a complete medical check up and produce valid health certificates before they are being absorbed into the restaurants (Smith 4). This has tremendously improved the services in the company by ensuring the right staff is recruited that does not expose customers to hygiene-related risks.

In another move to improve customer satisfaction, the company has excelled in outsourcing fresh and green foods that are healthy for the customers. The Law states clearly that the customers need to be provided with the right quality and quantity of goods and anyone violating the law is liable to heavy fines. This has actually helped the company provide the customers with high quality and required services. The manner in which the company recruits its employees has tremendously changed since 1974. The company is an equal opportunity for all and transparency is the guiding principle while recruiting the employees (Katz11). Gender balance has always been.enhanced and all the people are given equal chances thus eliminating any discrimination. McDonald’s admits its efforts in supporting fundamental human rights for all as well as complying with employment laws in every area they operate. The law prohibits employment of underage children and the company has tried its level best to comply. The company has created policies and programs aimed at meeting the needs of the staff that emphasize on respect for all the employees, enhancing commitment towards them and ensuring most talented people are retained at all levels. There is always minimum wage legislation that stipulates the minimum pay an employee should receive. In 2008, McDonald’s reviewed its workers remuneration that saw the wages of all the employees harmonized to motivate them more. The company has implemented appropriate packages for staff benefits and medical insurance schemes hence increasing the efficiency in its operations. The company has absorbed young, energetic and young individuals bringing innovative solutions to the company (Evans11).

Some instances where the Company has violated Laws

Despite company’s efforts in complying with the law, it has been implicated in some lawsuits for non-compliance. Most of the cases involve violation of workers’ rights that is against 1974 Act. In the year 2001, the company was sued for illegally recruiting and overworking child labor in one of its restaurants that led to subsequent fining of £ 12,000. In the 2007, the company McDonald’s pleaded guilty for six charges for illegally employing children under the age of 15 and was fined $8,000. Another case involving the violation of law was in 1994 when a customer spilled a fresh cup of coffee in one of the company’s restaurants and suffered severe burns(Smith 3).. These are among the cases that the company has ever been involved and they have helped the company improve its business activities and working environment since further violation may cost the company huge amounts of money.

Conclusion

The laws governing regulation and control of business activities must be strictly followed to enhance quality in service delivery and respect for employees and employers. From the above analysis, it is clear that the 1974 Act has significantly changed the business activities of McDonald’s and were it not for the laws, the company would still be violating some fundamental laws for instance recruitment of under age children and violation of other workers’ rights (Baertlein 21). The employers must accord the necessary respect to the employees and ensure their rights are properly safeguarded in their work places.

Works Cited

Baertlein, Lisa. McDonald’s raises cash dividend by 10%. 2009. Web.

Derdak, Thomas and Pederson, Jay. “McDonald’s: International directory of company histories. Chicago: St. James Press, 2004.

Evans, Stephen. . 2004.

Katz, Neil. McDonald’s and Toy Lawsuit: Are “Happy Meals” Tricking Kids. 2010. Web.

Love, John. Big Macs, Fries, and Real Estate. Journal of Financial Executive. 6.4 (1987): 20–26.

Smith, Andrew. The Oxford companion to American food and drink. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.

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