During the past few weeks, it has emerged that the number of employment tribunals citing health and safety fears were up three-fold last year.
According to Personnel Today, more than 600 claims relating to health and safety concerns were lodged with employment tribunals in the year leading up to the end of March 2021, according to figures obtained by Nockolds Solicitors.
This rise represents a 156% increase on the number of cases that cited health and safety concerns in 2019/20.
Employment tribunals have recently handed down a number judgments in cases that have involved Covid-19 reasons, including a case where a worker was dismissed after raising health and safety concerns and another where an employee refused to attend work because they were worried about catching the virus.
As a result, employers need to be particularly careful about treating employees differently if some decide that they would prefer to continue working from home while the virus remains a threat.
This may also be an opportune time for all organisations to make sure that their current health and safety practices and policies are up to date.
Last month, we reported that fewer construction firms had kept on top of their health and safety training for staff during the pandemic.
We’ve also seen that many firms have fallen behind in their general health and safety practices as they’ve struggled to cope with the pressures inflicted on them by Covid-19.
How can I protect myself from a health and safety employment tribunal?
The awful truth is the vast majority of firms in the UK will never get on top of their health and safety requirements.
Frighteningly, it’s estimated that around 97% of businesses will never achieve full health and safety compliance but – in this case – there is no safety in numbers.
Organisations which fail to get on top of their health and safety requirements are putting the safety of their employees and visitors at risk.
Being part of the majority will also not prevent them from being prosecuted if they are found to be in breach of health and safety regulations.
Businesses found to be in breach of health and safety laws can face crippling fines as well as tremendous damage to their reputation.
Company bosses may also find they are personally prosecuted. As a result, company owners and managers could also face fines and in some cases custodial sentences.
Normally, when breaches occur it’s not because people don’t care about keeping people safe and healthy – it’s because they don’t have time or the knowledge to manage their health and safety requirements themselves.
This is where Acorn Safety Services can help. We provide a full suite of health and safety services to ensure that businesses need never worry about managing their health and safety requirements ever again.
One of our most popular services is our Retained Health and Safety Consultant Service because this completely takes away the headache of health and safety from businesses.
We show businesses from all industries what they need to do to become health and safety compliant with support from one of our retained health and safety consultants.
We also offer organisations a free health and safety review surgery with our leading health and safety expert John Crockett. During this 30 minute video call we help organisations to discuss and diagnose and current health and safety compliance issues.
So, if you’ve been putting off getting on top of your health and safety requirements don’t delay any longer – get in touch with our expert team today.