Don’t cut Health and Safety corners

One of the biggest threats to workplace Health and Safety in this country is apathy. It’s not fair to say, in the majority of cases, that company bosses and managers don’t care about the safety of their workforces and subcontractors however, all too often health and safety matters are left to slide.

When bosses are busy managing their day-to-day workload, cashflow and pressing HR issues the temptation to let other matters, like health and safety, take a back seat is all too tempting. The problem is they don’t necessarily see an immediate impact on their business when they let health and safety fall by the wayside. If they fail to live up to their health and safety obligations but, at the same time, see their daily operations apparently continuing as normal it just reinforces in their minds that they don’t need to bother with health and safety.

This is further bolstered by a widespread negative attitude in this country to health and safety law in general. Many bosses look at the reams of health and safety regulations they need to comply with and feel completely overwhelmed. We have every sympathy for bosses who are working so hard to keep their businesses prospering – particularly in the current economic climate – and feel like they are drowning under red tape.

So, if you’re running or managing a business why should you make health and safety one of your priorities? Firstly, if you embrace health and safety it can become one of your selling points. There is evidence to show in organisations where health and safety is taken seriously not only are staff protected but there are fewer cases of absences and sick leave. There is also evidence that firms which have reduced staff absences due to illness or accidents at work have better staff retention levels. This saves firms both time and the costs of recruiting and training new employees.

On the flip side what happens if you don’t embrace health and safety and something goes wrong or the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspectors come calling?

In the worst-case scenario if you’re in breach of health and safety law it could lead to someone being injured or even losing their life. Sadly, we still see reports of such cases on a regular basis and the human cost to workers and their families cannot be overestimated.

The other side of this is if your business is found to be in breach of health and safety law, either because someone has been injured or following an inspection, your organisation may be forced to stop trading. It could face huge fines and court costs and company bosses can even find themselves facing personal fines and, in some cases, prison sentences. Even if the business is able to survive such an onslaught the damage to its reputation can be massive and have far-reaching consequences.

You may be wondering why we are highlighting this issue now? Well, because recently we read an interesting article which we wanted to share with you.

It was an interview conducted by the British Safety Council’s Safety Management magazine with HSE chief executive Sarah Albon. In it she reflected on the events of 2020 and helping the country to get through Covid-19 and other challenges.

In the piece, the journalist revealed details of a testing situation for the HSE which took place at the height of the first national lockdown in April 2020 when the demands for PPE for frontline workers were hitting the headlines every day. Four tonnes of medical gowns had just arrived from abroad at an airfield in Daventry and the HSE had a team on the ground waiting to certify and check everything. As a result of their checks, they rejected all but a few of the 40,000 gowns as being unsafe. The reporter went on to ask the reader if they could imagine how hard it must have been for the HSE to explain that decision.

Sarah revealed that she was fully aware of the pressures of the situation but that health and safety had to come first.

In the article, she said: “Our mantra is that protective equipment has to protect. You need to understand that your equipment is of the right quality, but also bringing a very pragmatic approach to understanding we were working in a highly pressured situation, right in the middle of a pandemic.”

We’re all human and we can all imagine how tempting it must have been to cut that particular corner at that particular time but the HSE refused to do so because they recognised the need to protect others.

That’s what health and safety regulations are there for – to protect. They protect lives, protect businesses, protect reputations.

If despite understanding this you are still feeling overwhelmed by the thought of managing your health and safety responsibilities then let an organisation like ours take that pressure away from you.

We take health, safety and construction design and management (CDM) problems away from businesses, meaning they won’t be subject to any additional costs, delays or nasty surprises.

If you’re looking for Health and Safety ConsultantsCDM ConsultantsConstruction Health & Safety AuditsFire Risk Assessmentwe have the expertise to help you.

To protect your company and your team from Health and Safety breaches and the risk of prosecution visit https://acornhealthandsafety.co.uk/ or contact us at info@acornhealthandsafety.co.uk or on 01604 930380.

Need help with Health and Safety? Request a call back!

Request a call back from one of our expert Health and Safety Consultants who can help you whatever your health and safety, CDM or fire risk needs.

More Health and Safety Articles & News

Acorn Safety Services shortlisted for top award

By Neil Munro | 11th May 2021

A few days ago, we had a lovely surprise. We received an email telling us we had been nominated for the Best Customer Service award at the SME Northamptonshire Business Awards 2021. The next stage of the contest is a public vote and we have been touched by how many clients have already been in …

Read more

Is your workplace protecting people from legionella?

By Ian Stone | 4th May 2021

As more and more workplaces open up following the latest round of lockdowns there are lots of things that employers need to consider, to ensure employees and visitors to their premises remain safe. One-way systems have become the norm in many workplaces and the use of face masks and other Covid-19 related measures have become …

Read more

No excuse to ignore health and safety law with launch of new app

By Neil Munro | 27th April 2021

We were very interested to recently hear that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has launched a bespoke mobile app which is designed to help organisations understand the law, their health and safety rights, and their responsibilities. The app has been created in partnership with The Stationery Office (TSO), and is primarily for small and …

Read more

What do Health and Safety breaches make you think about?

By Ian Stone | 20th April 2021

When I hear about health and safety breaches I always wonder how company bosses react to them. I’d like to think that bosses would take a minute to review their own practices and if they have employed experienced health and safety specialists they should feel confident that they are doing all they can to prevent …

Read more

Tragic case shows why we all need to take Health and Safety seriously

By Neil Munro | 13th April 2021

We were recently made aware of a very sad case which shows how tragic the consequences of a health and safety breach can be. A few weeks ago, Durham Crown Court heard that on 12 December 2015, Simon Hogg and Raymond Garrett were operating a waste processing line at the Aycliffe Quarry site of Stonegrave …

Read more

British organisations fined £11m for Health and Safety Breaches

By Ian Stone | 7th April 2021

During the first three months of 2021 businesses across Britain have been fined millions of pounds for breaching health and safety law. Between January and March, British firms, schools and local authorities were successfully prosecuted for a wide range of breaches which in many cases left workers and members of the public with life-changing injuries …

Read more

HSE boss calls for ‘renewed vigour’ to make workplaces Covid-secure

By Neil Munro | 1st April 2021

Last week, the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) new chair used her first blog of 2021 to set out the organisation’s expectations of firms across Great Britain in the coming months. Sarah Newton, who took over the top job at the HSE last August, reflected on the past year and the impact Covid-19 had, had …

Read more

Is the HSE warning firms to get their houses in order?

By Ian Stone | 23rd March 2021

At the beginning of the year, we shared the news that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) had begun its search for a new Director of Legal Services. This was interesting because the role was a new position that had been created at the organisation following the HSE’s Chief Executive-led review. At the time, the …

Read more

Did you know we offer FREE Health and Safety Surgeries?

By Neil Munro | 16th March 2021

At Acorn Safety Services our expert team lives and breathes Health and Safety. We are passionate about what we do because our services keep people safe and help businesses to reduce staff absenteeism and ensure they are fully compliant with Health and Safety law. As a result, firms can say goodbye to the fear that …

Read more

Coronavirus

Are your staff in need of Covid-19 tests?

By Ian Stone | 9th March 2021

Increasingly, we are finding that frontline workers, including construction workers, are expected to have regular Covid-19 tests before they report to their sites or workplaces. Only last week we were asked by a client to undertake inspections on a site in London. Their client insisted that anyone who visited the site must have received a …

Read more