Health and safety: it matters

Jul 28 • Features, infographic, Management • 2875 Views • No Comments on Health and safety: it matters

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Businesses that ignore health and safety laws risk serious repercussions, warns  health and safety consultants Arinite.

In the UK compliance with Health and Safety laws are mandatory for every company and could result in huge fines, or even prison sentences, if ignored.

Despite this,  a common consensus is that health and safety checks are not a priority for many companies: they are expensive and offer no immediate profit. However, having appropriate systems to improve working conditions will make a company more trustworthy and respected in the industry and are a huge benefit in the long run.

The government doesn’t take health and safety violations lightly, and you shouldn’t either – 94% of all prosecutions resulted in convictions. Prosecution cases instituted by HSE and local authorities can result in fines, imprisonment and even immediate prohibition of the business.

When deciding on prosecution and penalties, the authorities take in the following into account:

  • The severity of offence
  • The attitude and documentation of health safety management by the company
  • What effect prosecution would have on the company financially
  • If there is substantial evidence for a conviction
  • If there will be a deterrent effect on other offenders

94% of all health & safety prosecutions resulted in convictions.

When fining companies after a prosecution, judges and the courts refer to sentencing and fine guidance, together with preceding similar cases (case law). Legal proceedings can be started by either the HSE or a local authority. Between 2009 to 2014, the average number of convictions by the HSE were 471 with the fines  being approximately £28,929. This   Infographic from Arinite reveals the  number of prosecutions in various sectors and the penalties incurred.

The services industry received the lowest number of convictions between 2009/14, but had  the second highest costs of fines, at £37,944 per claim. In the Utilities and Waste sector there were 22  convictions and an average fine of  £56,629. In Construction there were 166 convictions with fines averaging £18,602.

The services industry covered so many different forms of work there is a huge range of hazards that need to be considered – anything from dangerous electricity outlets to harmful substances, making the services industry safety one of the most critical areas to take care of.

Benefits of Health and Safety

Providing a safe environment for employees can be a challenge, especially when they are work involves being on other companies’ premises and sites. Keeping up with standards and constant changes is not an activity to be taken lightly. A health and safely breach within the service industry could lead to serious harm or even a fatality.

Putting safety regulations in place has serious financial benefits

Creating a good working environment doesn’t just benefit you in the long run, it can also work short term. Allowing staff to have more faith in the company boosts their happiness and productiveness, increasing profit. Having good health and safety also limits the number of sick days taken by employees.

Putting regulations in place has serious financial benefits; information from HSE shows that having the correct procedures in place results in average savings of £300 for minor injuries, £20,500 for serious injuries, and £200,000 for any permanent or life changing injuries.

How to avoid fines

It should be every company’s aim to reduce the health and safety risk as much as possible, though it is not possible to eliminate every hazard. Conducting a risk assessment is a great way to see what improvements your business needs: judging where the most life-threatening hazards are allows for extra precautions to be put in place.

Key methods to improve safety at work:

  1. Always work to your risk assessment and report any accidents – keep detailed reports of any injuries (no matter how small) as this will allow you to minimise all potential risks.
  2. Personal protective gear is essential – in the services industry, protective items should be provided by the employer as it helps limit the likelihood of injury.
  3. Minimise any fire risk.
  4. Electricity –if there is often a high chance of electrocution with the over use of power sockets and water hazards, aim to cut down on overcrowding sockets and reduce overheating.
  5. Take time to be safe – it is important to be thorough with your inspections, to talk to your employees to find out if they have any health issues in the work environment.Place your list items here

Health and safety should be at the heart of your business and influence every decision about the work place that you make. Having a stable and reliable safety system is essential; the cost of putting these in place massively outweighs the uninsured expenses that occur in dealing with a work place incident.

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