Can Your Business Afford £200,000 Health and Safety Fines?

Can Your Business Afford £200,000 Health and Safety Fines?

You probably think you have the right Health and Safety measures in place for your business. You would have most likely invested a lot of time in training your employees on the correct information about Health and Safety in a workplace.

So, that’s all areas covered, right? Not necessarily. The truth is your company could still be at risk even with all the Health and Safety measures you have in place.

Let’s face it, most of us are guilty of letting our Health and Safety measures sit on the back burner. Just because we don’t have the time or resources to ensure all employees are fully aware of all the correct information around this. Sometimes just carrying on and ignoring minor inconveniences feels like the easier route.

The problem with this is when it comes to Health and Safety, ignoring these minor inconveniences can end up having adverse effects on your staff and the business. Add up all the problems you have ignored over the years, and it can become a huge problem for the company.

 

When do you know if your Health and Safety is enough?

 

First up, you must have a clear outline of the Health and Safety regulations that need implementation in your workplace. Think about the consequences of not having these in place and ask yourself if it's worth the disastrous results that could occur.

Here are a few statistics to catch your attention. Due to workplace injury in 2020, 111 workers were killed, 693,000 workers sustained a non-fatal injury, and an estimated 6.3 million working days were lost due to non-fatal workplace injuries.*

 

Are you worried about the implications this could have on your business? If so, read on for some tips stated in Section 2 of the Health & Safety at Work Act. Your duty involves:

 

  • The provision and maintenance of plant and systems of work that are, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe and without risks to health
  • Arrangements for ensuring, so far as is reasonably practicable, safety and absence of risks to health in connection with the use, handling, storage and transport of articles and substances
  • The provision of such information, instruction, training, and supervision as is necessary to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the Health and Safety at work of his employees
  • So far as is reasonably practicable as regards any place of work under the employer’s control, the maintenance of it in a condition that is safe and without risks to health and the provision and maintenance of means of access to and egress from it that are safe and without such risks
  • The provision and maintenance of a working environment for his employees that is, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe, without health risks, and adequate as regards facilities and arrangements for their welfare at work.**

 

Failure to comply with this could result in a penalty. The maximum penalty for failure by an employer to comply with a general duty imposed by HSWA 1974 is six months imprisonment or an unlimited health and safety fine, or both. So ask yourself, is it worth it?

Many businesses think they will never be caught out, but is this really the case? A recycling company was prosecuted for widespread risk to employees for poor Health and Safety management. In total, they received nine Prohibition Notices and seven Improvement Notices. The investigation concluded that a lack of competent advice, risk assessment, and poor management had led to the deterioration of conditions on-site, despite previous enforcement issued by HSE. The court found that to be a breach of Health and Safety at Work. Act 1974 Section 2(1) had been proved. The company was issued a £200,000 workplace health and safety fine and ordered to pay the cost of £7,125.72 and the victim surcharge of £170.***

 

How can you make sure your employees are safe?

 

Health and Safety is not as simple as many people think. You can’t just put a few measures in place and expect them to remain effective.

Firstly, you have to make sure the right measures for your business are in place and that they are effectively implemented by all staff. To ensure this happens, you could have a dedicated Health and Safety employee in your company.

Secondly, you could invite an external Health and Safety provider that can evaluate objectively all your measures and the implementation process. This way, you can see if there are any risks that maybe you oversaw.

 

Let’s consider this case:

The problem: There is a very high Health and Safety risk in your company because the individual you specifically have for Health and Safety already has another full-time job within the company. Not only is this extremely time-consuming and stressful for this employee, but it also increases the risk of error that your business can not afford.

The solution: The first part of the solution recommended by our Health and Safety experts is having a dedicated Health and Safety officer within the business. The second part is having a Health and Safety partner who can provide a greater understanding of the importance of Health and Safety within your workplace and contribute to its development and effective implementation in your business. Having someone external who can objectively look at the safety of processes and procedures within your business can help you lower the risk in your company to a minimum. Not forgetting that an external company comes with a great experience in Health and Safety and accredited experts that have worked in similar industries in the past.

You might already be one step ahead and have someone dedicated to just Health and Safety within the business, and this is great, but is it enough? Not necessarily. Just because you have already this doesn’t mean that this information doesn’t apply to you.

As stated above, it is also great if you can get extra advice from a Health and Safety provider. They can provide a better understanding of the importance of Health and Safety within your workplace to contribute to its development and effective implementation in your business.

*Source: Gov -  https://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/overall/hssh1920.pdf

**Source: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1974/37/part/I/crossheading/general-duties/2018-01-01

***Source: https://press.hse.gov.uk/2021/09/16/recycling-company-fined-for-poor-health-and-safety-management/

 

Worried about the potential of receiving health and safety fines? If you would like to discuss any of our services or open courses, contact us on 0117 986 2194 or at [email protected].