You can only manage health & safety effectively when you both understand the risks within your business and have a good comprehension of what the law requires. We find on many businesses that one or both of these is lacking and this puts the employees and businesses at unnecessary risk.
You may well feel how can we be expected to know all of this it’s an impossible to task. This is why the HSE website has, over the last few years, been focused on providing more user friendly information, however there needs to be a basic understanding of health and safety even with this excellent resource to hand.
How do we get to where we need to be, you might ask? A good starting point is to have your managers trained to a reasonable level. The standard used is normally considered to be the IOSH Managing Safely course. This will provide a reasonable understanding of what a business should focus on but will not make managers experts in the field.
The law does clearly state that every business must have access to competent health and safety support; whether from within or through external expertise. Unfortunately for many businesses they will have little expertise in-house and therefore will either be flying blind or will be trying to find competent help. The standard of competent support available can and does vary widely and it’s vitally important to understand this. In order to cover your back through keeping people safe and ensuring legal obligations are met employing the right advice needs to be a decision based upon more than what will it cost.
Making savings at the start may well prove to be an expensive mistake further down the line, if the so called experts turn out not to be. We would advise any business to consider appointing health and safety advisors carefully; make sure to check out their background including qualifications, experience and knowledge of the business sector. Lastly but vital look at what others are saying about them and take the time to get references checked out properly.