We get to travel around the UK visiting businesses of all sizes and across a wide range of business sectors. What we are often there to do is to take an independent professional look at what the business is doing and whether it is meeting health & safety compliance obligations.
In many instances this will mean looking at both established operations and others that have been newly set up. Our first question is what risk assessments have you undertaken and when were they last updated and obviously who by (to check competence).
What surprises us is the number of times when we are told there isn’t a risk assessment or it hasn’t been revisited for many years. Given that risk assessment is what all businesses are measured against and it provides the business with key information on how safe the operations are why would you not have these in place and up to date?!
It may seem to some business owners that the first stage is to get a process operational and then look at the risk assessment but that is the wrong way round. What if you find that the controls in place are not sufficient then often it’s a bit too late to try then to design them in? As the saying goes: after the horse has bolted!
Making the effort to consider the risks at the start of the process will very often help prevent a much bigger headache later and save a lot of unnecessary additional costs.
Recently, while working with a number of businesses, we have seen examples of warehousing being turned into bakeries, laboratories scaling up processes to production levels, and the mixing of highly flammable substances without suitable LEV in place.
Our consultants cover processes with fire & explosion risks, PUWER as well as general health & safety risks. If you have a project you think you might need help with then why not start by asking the right questions before making decisions that will cost a lot to put right later.