I bet the answer is “probably not well enough”. Maybe it’s because you have had the machines a long time, maybe because you haven’t had many accidents, maybe because the machine you have recently been provided came with a CE mark or maybe because of other reasons.
Whatever applies to you it makes no difference if the HSE come looking, or your Insurers take an interest; the PUWER regulations make it very clear of the need to ensure you keep people safe from dangerous parts of work equipment.
We often come across businesses that put guards on machines in response to accidents but fail to look at the bigger picture – and are then surprised when they find out what they had done was not good enough. You only have to look at the HSE website to see just how many businesses are failing to protect people from machinery risks. January 2013 was a typical month where at least 15 prosecutions were posted by the HSE, many because the businesses had not stopped to think why would someone want to put their hand in there.
So why should you be concerned? Well, if something does go wrong then there is obviously the human suffering to consider, a key point we personally believe. But if it’s costs that will make your senior managers and directors sit up and take notice then these will certainly mount up quickly.
Machinery safety is an easy target for an HSE inspector and one where the Fee for Intervention costs will quickly mount up. One client mentioned to us that it would be cheaper to face a prosecution. The reality is they would most likely face both the FFI charges AND the prosecution costs. Add to this the costs of employing specialists (such as us) to complete a PUWER survey and advise on what protection measures are required (and for those then to be implemented) and you see how the costs can mount up.
So how much do you think a machinery-related accident might cost your business? I suggest it’s worth doing the maths to include additional issues such as downtime and even the possibility of a HSE prohibition notice being applied to the equipment. One business we are working with has calculated that if you add in all the costs it would be up to £100k for them. Certainly makes you think, doesn’t it?
So why wait for something to go wrong? Surely it’s better to be proactive rather that have the kick up the bum from someone else such as the HSE; £124 per hour will quickly mount up.