Every business is required to provide a safe working environment for all employees and others who may be affected by the work under the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act.
Statistics released by the HSE in July reported that 144 workers in Great Britain were killed in the workplace in 2015-2016, with an estimated 621,000 non-fatal injuries and a whopping 30.4million working days lost due to work-related illnesses or workplace injuries.
With new sentencing guidelines now in place as of February last year, there has been a significant increase in financial penalties against businesses who are found guilty of failing to comply with health and safety legislation. The HSE reported 11,403 enforcement notices issued last year, with Health and Safety fines having more than doubled in England, Scotland and Wales, from £18.1million to £38.3million.
A business with a turnover larger than £50million can be fined up to £20million for corporate manslaughter, £10million for health and safety offences and up to £3million for failing to comply to food safety legislation. Because of this, some large profile organisations have had to pay out millions of pounds for failing to meet their legal obligations.
Warbutons has been hit hard by the new rules and has received a £2million fine after a worker sustained life-changing injuries which follows a further £5,000 fine in 2014. In an article published on Food Manufacturer, Kizzy Augustin, Criminal Regulatory Lawyer at Pinsent Masons said “It is unfortunate that Warbutons has had to learn an expensive lesson, both in terms of financial penalty and reputation”.
Last summer, the roller coaster crash that shook the nation, led to Merlin Attractions receiving a £5million fine, the largest of 2016, which was due to Health and Safety breaches and lack of training.
Hollywood has not been shy of being in the news on the health and safety front, where we covered in our blog Top 10 Worst Incidents on Hollywood Film Sets. The firm has most recently been charged £1.6million after Harrison Ford broke his leg whilst shooting the latest Star Wars film.
Health and safety has the stigma of being complicated, costly and time-consuming, when things go wrong, when in fact, it doesn’t have to be complicated at all – as long as you have the correct measures in place. With our handy tips based on the HSE’s suggested approach of Plan, Do, Check, Act, we hope to help you simplify managing Health and Safety.
Preparation of how you will manage your health, safety and welfare responsibilities is a key part to successful health and safety management. This will help you determine your policy and enable you to easily implement it in your workplace. When planning, you need to decide…
- Where you are currently and where you want to be
- Who is responsible for health and safety within your organisation*
- How you will monitor and measure your Health and Safety performance
- How you will deal with an emergency
- Always to coordinate plans with others if they share your workplace
*As part of managing health and safety, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (MHSWR) require you to assign at least one ‘Competent Person’. But how do you know who the right person for the role is? We discuss in our blog What makes a competent person?
Risk assessments will allow you to identify work activities that generate risk and then put measures in place to control those risks. Whilst they form the foundation of every business, each business type will differ in risk, although in hospitality, education, retail and leisure, examples include PPE, Work at Height, Fire Risk Assessment and Lone Working.
The steps to a successful risk assessment include…
- Identify any hazards
- Decide who could be harmed and how
- Evaluate the risks and consider controls measures to be put in place
- Record the findings and implement them
- Put control measures in place
- Review your risk assessment at least annually or following an accident/incident
Organising activities to deliver your plan
An effective health and safety management system ensures (so far as reasonably practicable) the health and safety of everyone in your business and allows you to clearly describe how you manage safety in the event of an Official Officer visit. Successful management relies on effective communication so everyone is clear on their roles and how it is to be carried out. Regular involvement of everyone within your business is important to develop positive attitudes and behaviours.
Implementing your plan
- Agree on what you need to do to prevent harm and protect persons
- Train everyone in your business on your health and safety management system and to ensure they are competent to do their job and maintain these records in a safe place
- Provide adequate tools and equipment for colleagues to do the job correctly
Once implemented, you must check your plans are working. You need to assess how well your risks are being controlled and that safe working procedures are being adhered to. An effective way of helping you monitor performance is through a third-party audit which will enable you to view your overall risk status across the organisation and show continuous improvement between audits.
Investigating accidents, incidents and near misses
Should an accident or incident occur, an investigation to identify the cause is a good way of checking the systems and procedures in place are effective. Where any shortfalls are identified, these can be rectified by a review of the risk assessment/s. Again, using a third party to help conduct a thorough case investigation through an interactive safety advice line builds up your due diligence.
You need to review any accident or incident or any ill health statistics to help determine if your plans and procedures are robust enough or need to be updated, and whether your workforce is competent.
Don’t forget, policies can become outdated, so remember to also review documents and risk assessments if procedures in your business change. If you undertake audits within your organisation, take action to ensure any shortfalls identified are managed and resolved.
Workplace Health & Safety roundup
To conclude, as long as you have the following documents in place that are easily locatable in the event of an Official Officer visit, you will have your health and safety covered…
- Health and safety management system/policy
- Adequate and detailed risk assessments
- Accident records
- Training records
- Maintenance records
Shield Safety can help you
Shield Safety Group produces tailored Health and Safety Management Systems including specific safe procedures, offers advice through the Safety Advice Line and has experienced EHPs to help you with all your health and safety needs.
Having the right safety measures in place will help keep you, your business and your customers safe. Start the process by filling out the form below, and one of our team will be in touch.
Prefer to chat to us over the phone? Call Steven on 020 3740 3744
The information contained in this blog article has been created for marketing purposes and is not official guidance and should not be used as a substitute for official Food Safety, Fire Safety and Health & Safety advice. Shield Safety take no responsibility if the information in the blog article is used to form part of a safety management system or used to form part of any legal or regulatory compliance for your business. For official guidance and to engage with Shield Safety services please do call our team on 020 3740 3744 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.