Would your business ask for help with health & safety and then ignore what it’s told? It is feature that we see from time to time and we have to remind the business that failure to respond to a known risk is only likely to lead to a prosecution if something goes wrong.
This has been confirmed by a case we were just reading about on the HSE website; the business has been prosecuted for a failure to implement sufficient risk controls on a pedestal drill. The HSE investigated an incident where a worker’s hand became entangled around a factory drill; this identified that the business had been warned of the problems in a report 12 months before.
The HSE investigation found that the guard on the drill was inadequate and that it had become common practice for workers to wear gloves while using the drill, despite the risk of gloves becoming entangled being well known in the manufacturing industry.
The court was told that the businesses own health and safety officer had identified inadequate guarding on the drill in a written report over a year before the incident. He also raised the issue of workers wearing gloves while using drills. However, no action was taken to tackle these issues.
Picture supplied by the HSE
It lead me to think how many other businesses ask for health & safety advice and then fail to carry out even the simplest of actions! In this case it wouldn’t have cost the business very much at all to put things right; yet clearly it wasn’t either seen as a priority or maybe the risks weren’t clearly understood. Unfortunately because of this the worker suffered with multiple broken fingers and the business was fined.
The HSE inspector on the case agreed saying “There’s absolutely no point in manufacturers hiring health and safety officers if they’re not going to listen to their advice. Risk assessments should be acted on – not put on a shelf to gather dust.”
Perhaps it’s time to take a look at what you are doing in your business; having a plan in place to work through these issues will ensure that they are not forgotten and help keep your business safe and compliant.