Top Tips to Avoid Heavy Health and Safety Fines
Last week we brought our readers up to speed on the increased health and safety fines that will be introduced in the UK from February. We explained that the tougher penalties are being brought in partly in response to large organisations that may ignore health and safety concerns because the fines they pay represent a small percentage of their annual turnover. Health and safety legislation is designed to minimise risks, reduce accidents and save lives, so ensuring that they are enforced is a powerful way of making the UK a safer place to work for all of us. One of the most effective methods of making any workplace safer is to put in place proper procedures that reduce the level of committing an offence and provide evidence that can be used in mitigation and reduce the level of sentencing faced when an offence is committed. We promised at the end of the article to look at this subject in more detail and provide our readers with tips that they can use to avoid heavy health and safety fines, so here we go.
- Devise and put in place an effective system of risk assessment and risk management that will identify hazards and allow business owners and site managers to ensure that appropriate precautions are taken wherever necessary.
- Make sure that all health and safety policies are relevant and are communicated effectively to employees. The health and safety policies should be enforced at all times and there should be an appropriate disciplinary process in place.
- When dealing with multi-site operations, it’s essential that there is a consistency of approach across all sites. Site owners and operators will always be judged on the site with the lowest standards rather than that with the highest standards, so a consistent approach will ensure that the same standards are seen across all sites.
- Support every single person in the organisation and make sure they understand and accept their individual, personal responsibility for health and safety. This applies to everyone from the top down. Health and safety in the workplace affects each and every employee and workers have a responsibility towards themselves, their colleagues and their employers. Health and safety is not just the responsibility of the business owners, it’s everybody’s responsibility and we all need to work together to ensure that our workplaces are safe.
Here in the UK we have some of the most stringent health and safety legislation on the planet and that fact has been a key reason why Britain is one of the safest countries in which to work. Not only do we have strict health and safety rules, we also have an effective enforcement policy which helps to ensure that health and safety issues are taken seriously. However, the construction industry is still one of the most risky sectors to work in so anything that leads to a decrease in accidents in the workplace will bring even more improvements in the future.