We visit many workplaces across the UK and are asked to complete audits on many businesses. An area that often leaves people scratching their heads is when we start looking what Planned Preventative Maintenance (PPM) they have in place.
Only recently we have visited sites where statutory testing of LEV systems appears not to have been updated in line with statutory requirements (annually), where work equipment safety checks are missed, where fixed wiring inspections have not been updated for well over 5 years, where gas bottle safety checks are not being undertaken and even where gas system inspections have not occurred for some years.
All of these are typically statutory requirements and are required in order to ensure both the health and safety of the workers and to keep the business safe. Sometimes the businesses have not understood what is required of them and that comes down to being provided with poor advice or from ignorance of what is required. Neither will protect a business in court though.
We have also come across the situation where some businesses have relied on their suppliers to remind them of what needs to be done; this is often the case with say fire alarm system and fire extinguishers. It can sometimes be the same for businesses carrying out LEV testing; the client relies on them sending out reminders. The problem is what if the supplier forgets, is taken over, goes out of business or maybe another reason?
As auditors we understand that it’s not always easy to keep a handle on all that needs to be done and that the importance of working in partnership with suppliers plays a big role in keeping things straight. The trouble is who is the court going to find accountable in the event of something bad happening? It’s your business not your supplier. A business can delegate responsibility for certain tasks but not its accountability.
Why not take a look at how you manage what your suppliers do for you; taking the time to put in place a system to remind you of when things need to be updated can be simply achieved. Importantly it will help to keep you legally compliant.