The government would like less regulation on business – the HSE, IOSH, ROSPA and others are promoting sensible and proportionate health & safety. So how can this be achieved?
At MESH we believe that for many businesses, health & safety can be made easy (it’s really only the high risk businesses where this approach is less appropriate). Unfortunately, it’s people that put up barriers to keeping it simple; often by overzealous interpretation of the regulations.
Only this week we have seen a business in the Care Home sector who have had a visit from the regional fire department, which has led to a report that on face value paints a poor picture of the business. This is strange, given that the same officer has previously given such positive feedback on the homes in question. Going through the report with the business owner; we found that the recommendations made really only account for a small part of the fire safety of the business and should be considered as opportunities to make minor improvements. These were in line with the verbal feedback that the business received at the time of the fire inspection and additionally also took into account the changes in advice from the fire authority to the business sector.
So why then does the report read as if the business is falling well short of what the regulations require? Perhaps the answer lies with the recent case in Scotland where the fire authority was criticized for its role in the case; indeed some of the advice provided seemed to be in response to the case findings.
However, when you look closely at how much effort the business puts into keeping its clients and staff safe, it’s clear that it is making great efforts to manage its risks; both in fire safety and health & safety compliance. Pushing a business to implement un-necessary controls to avoid the potential for criticism seems to us to be a significant barrier to reducing business burden and to sensible and proportionate health & safety. What do you think?