In this difficult economic climate, we understand that cost effective health and safety is an important priority for businesses.
How do you decide where to spend your limited resources?
A key to knowing where to spend is to understand where your risks are and to identify the extent of the risk to your employees, business and any others who may be harmed. Although risk assessment should fundamentally be a simple process (for some low risk businesses at least) many businesses struggle with the concept of risk assessments. A failure often stems from the lack of understanding of what the law requires of them.
Some businesses will realise they have a legal responsibility to understand health and safety and will seek professional competent help by employing health and safety professionals, but does this always solve the problem? Unfortunately, the answer is sometimes no.
We have recently come across two examples where companies have turned to specialist machinery engineers to undertake equipment inspections in order to show compliance with PUWER. These specialists completed the equipment safety checks and provided feedback which identified serious non-compliance issues. They have issued reports to the organisations stating failure to comply with PUWER and recommended remedial actions that they could fix at a significant cost.
On closer inspection, many of the quoted non-compliances were not necessary as their interpretation of PUWER was misleading. Competent health and safety advice helped save both of these companies thousands of pounds.
Care needs to be taken when looking for professional help. Avoid asking specialists who sell a service of both risk assessment and the final fix such as these machinery engineers. Our experience also shows a similar situation can occur with fire companies that provide fire extinguishers and undertake fire risk assessments.