Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Health & Safety: the real risks

Health & Safety is a much-maligned area that is commonly misunderstood and the subject of so many myths it's no longer funny.

All employers have a duty of care to their people, and of course we all wish to remain safe in our workplaces. Of course, there's responsibility on employees too, but how clear are they on what's expected? Are they trained and competent? How do you know? How do you check?

The consequences of not doing things right can be disastrous for both a business and the individuals concerned.

When did you last review how you do things? (Remember, this isn't about doing it annually, but when it's needed.) 

Are you still meeting your obligations? (And what are you prepared to do about it if not?) 

Are your policies, risk assessments and method statements still relevant? (You'd be amazed how many we see that bear no relation to what a business actually does or needs. Chuck them out and get the useful ones working properly for you.)

Keeping up with changes is difficult enough without the aforementioned myths foisted on us by the media- from attempts to prevent charities benefiting from the generosity of donors to the astonishing story of the furious lady who confronted our friend Claude Moraes MEP demanding to know why the EU was preventing her refilling empty jam jars with home-made preserves (the Daily Mail had reported on the prohibited reuse of pesticide containers but helpfully negected to mention the word 'pesticide' or clarify the types of container, choosing instead to indulge in a little light Europe bashing.) Even Santa fell victim to overly zealous and unnecessary anxiety this Christmas. Is it any wonder business owners are confused, irriated and poorly informed?

An unexpected bill...

For example, many people don't realise there's been a recent change that sees the Health & Safety Executive able to charge businesses for intervening in matters of employee safety for the first time in its history. So suddenly, a failure to comply with H&S law will see them receive a bill.

The Fee for Intervention (FFI) scheme came into being on 1 October 2012. Under the scheme, employers who breach health and safety legislation will be forced to pay the HSE’s enforcement costs. Costs will be recovered where the HSE has to make a formal written intervention to address an alleged contravention of health and safety law. 

So how do you reduce the risks to your business? 

We are urging all our clients, friends and contacts to ensure their businesses remain compliant so they do their best to avoid these costs- an expense which can damage your business, morale and reputation. 

So what can we do to help?

With Steve's qualifications in both standard workplace and occupational health and safety and his experience of supporting businesses and people in a wide variety of workplaces, we can help you prevent the stress and manage the risk- so get in touch if we can help.

We'll help you make sense of what's needed.

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