With its resources under pressure the HSE has had to prioritise their activities. Many businesses are much less likely to receive a proactive inspection. But does this mean that your business can just sit back and relax your health & safety focus?
We know that some companies will take this approach, but we warn you that the consequences of this approach are likely to be costly. Besides the human costs of the pain and suffering accidents cause, there is always the legal side to consider. It is clear that the courts have taken the direction to make sentencing more penal for companies found wanting in their health and safety management. The impending charging regime to be applied by the HSE for companies found to be in material breach as of April 2012. Hourly rates of £133 is likely to sting more than a bit if caught out.
So that’s the bad news identified, but what can you do to keep the HSE from your door?
7 basic principles can be applied to keep your employees & business safe, they are:
- Outline your commitment – make health & safety one of the priorities for your business; make everyone aware of this.
- Set meaningful KPI`s – set meaningful targets that set the business on a course of continuous improvement; try not just to focus on areas such as accident reduction but include indicators that measure issues such as risk assessment, training and inspection etc.
- Allocate sufficient resources – trying to control the health & safety of your business on a shoestring is likely to create long term problems. It is more cost effective to control risks rather than wait for a court appearance.
- Do your risk assessments – make sure you look at what is actually happening in your business not just what you think should be happening. Well constructed risk assessments should challenge the way you do things and can often identify improvement opportunities that lead to a safer and more efficient workplace.
- Make sure you have competent advice – health & safety legislation can be complex and businesses are unable to hide behind a defence of they didn`t know what they had to do. Getting the right advice might be an upfront cost but many businesses find long term savings in lost time and energy.
- Implement training – no business can get its health & safety in order without the input of the staff and this especially applies to management. It is vitally important that relevant training is provided in order to gain support for keeping your business safe & healthy.
- Check your progress – the old adage applies that if you don`t measure it you can`t manage it. Make sure what you are measuring tells you not only where you are now but also what has happened before and what is likely to happen in the future.
If positive answers can be ticked off for all seven then you will be well on your way to providing a safe and healthy work environment, leaving little reason for the HSE to come knocking.