So how does your business go about making sure that health, safety and wellness of your employees, business and others is properly managed? Does the business make sure the relevant risk assessments are undertaken, does it take proactive steps such as inspections and audits and does it respond positively to situations where things have not gone to plan?
If not then the business is clearly at risk and would be at serious risk of an adverse event occurring or of HSE intervention and potentially prosecution. But even if it is doing all of the above we too often find that the next steps are not being addressed in a timely manner.
Not doing what is required under health and safety law is both a criminal offence and leaves the business open to a potential civil claim and is generally hard to defend against. However identifying a risk and not addressing that risk in a planned and proportionate way would make the business infinitely more culpable; yet we see in many cases taken by the HSE that is what happens.
Whether it’s fixing machinery guarding failures, providing suitable training or simply the right tools for the job these are risks that should be fixed but often are not seen as a priority to making the business profitable. In fact we have recently revisited a site four years after a previous audit and found that 75% of the actions recommended have not been done. On questioning management the answer was they had intended to but being too busy just got in the way. Ask yourself is that something that occurs in your business? We bet it does at times.
We also assist many clients with DSE assessments; generally only assessments where a problem has already been raised. Sometimes the outcome of the assessment is a recommendation for a change of equipment, maybe a chair, mouse or keyboard etc. Yet we will sometimes find these recommendations are not followed through and the reason is that the business doesn’t want to spend the money. The issue here is failure to take suitable action is only likely to lead to the problem getting worse and then what are the costs!
If your business identifies problems or risks to be addressed then you need to ensure a plan of action is in place and that progress to fix the issues is routinely monitored.