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

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 HSE said the new role was important as it would contribute directly to public confidence in the organisation and the wider justice system. The role is of particular interest to businesses because it has been created with a view to reviewing the HSE’s enforcement activities and leading its prosecution capability.

It has been speculated by the press that, following this appointment, we are likely to see a rise in HSE prosecutions of businesses that fail to comply with Health and Safety law.

The HSE has also now launched a new course, which is due to run in April, called HSE Inspectors’ Guide to Improvement and Prohibition Notices.

The course costs £525 and is designed for Health and Safety professionals, business owners or senior managers responsible for managing and controlling risks or – as the HSE puts it – ‘anyone who might have a formal notice put in their hands by an HSE inspector’.

The HSE says the workshop is a rare opportunity to understand the regulator by seeing the world through an inspector’s eyes. Prospective attendees are told they will learn why, when and how the HSE takes formal enforcement action, how to influence formal HSE decisions and how to respond to receipt of a notice.

Those of us in the industry may question why this course has been put together. On the surface it would appear that attendees will simply be told that they could be prosecuted if they are not complying with Health and Safety regulations.

This would seem rather self-explanatory and we suspect that the people who are minded to attend a course like this are probably going to be those who are already managing their health and safety requirements well.

So, this has led us to wonder whether there is more to this than first meets the eye. We wholeheartedly believe that this is an example of the HSE doing its best to help firms put health and safety standards at the heart of their operations and we applaud that. However, we also think that firms would be wise to see this as a warning.

We honestly don’t think the HSE can’t make it much clearer that they are coming after firms that are flouting the law. It has created a new position specifically to lead its prosecution capability and is running courses to tell firms exactly what its inspectors want to see from organisations if they don’t want to be prosecuted.

So, maybe now is a good time to remind ourselves what prosecutions can mean for organisations. If a firm is successfully prosecuted for a Health and Safety breach its operations may be suspended and it could face fines ranging from hundreds of pounds to millions of pounds. Company owners and directors may also end up having to pay court costs and fines and, in some instances, may even receive prison sentences.

The truth is about 97% of businesses will never fully get on top of their Health and Safety responsibilities which is why we offer a range of services to help businesses fulfil their legal requirements.

Our services include fire risk assessments, construction health and safety inspections and audits and asbestos services. Our site inspection service alone reduces, if not eliminates, the possibility of the HSE issuing notices for enforcement.

We also act as CDM consultants and as a firm’s retained health and safety consultant. Firms who take up our retained health and safety service can rest assured that they will become fully health and safety compliant and as a result protected from prosecutions, fines and prison sentences. We do all the hard work for them without them having to shoulder the cost of a full-time employee.

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

Don’t Become Complacent About Covid-19

Don’t become complacent about Covid-19

By Ian Stone | 1st December 2020

It is amazing how quickly we can adapt to change. A year ago, you would never expect to be walking around your local supermarket surrounded by people wearing face masks but how many of us now even give it a second’s thought? The problem is many of us have become so used to the new …

Read moreDon’t become complacent about Covid-19

Health And Safety Priority

Stark reminder why Health & Safety needs to be a priority

By Neil Munro | 24th November 2020

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recently released the details of a very sad case which was a stark reminder as to why Health & Safety should always be a priority in the workplace. Solar panel company Blue Sun Energy Limited was sentenced in November for safety breaches after a self-employed labourer fell through a …

Read moreStark reminder why Health & Safety needs to be a priority

Construction Health And Safety Inspections

Have you thought about Health & Safety recently?

By Ian Stone | 10th November 2020

Health & Safety can feel like a minefield for many businesses. Bosses fear visits from the dreaded Health & Safety inspector and worry about becoming embroiled in endless reams of red tape. Firms regularly become frustrated with ever-increasing workloads landing on their desks because the Government keeps on adding more and more Health & Safety …

Read moreHave you thought about Health & Safety recently?

Pre-Construction Advice

Pre-construction advice

By Neil Munro | 27th October 2020

Pre-construction information is health and safety information that is already in the client’s possession or which is reasonably obtainable. It provides a basis for the preparation of the Construction Phase Plan (CPP).  It must be relevant, have an appropriate level of detail and be proportionate given the nature of risks to health or safety involved …

Read morePre-construction advice

Construction Phase Plan

What is a Construction Phase Plan?

By Ian Stone | 20th October 2020

In this blog we are going to look at what is a Construction Phase Plan. The Construction Phase Plan must set out the arrangements for securing health and safety, including site rules, whilst construction work is taking place. It must take into account the information the project’s Principal Designer holds such as the pre-construction information …

Read moreWhat is a Construction Phase Plan?

Cdm For Self Builders

How does Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2015 apply to Self Builders?

By Neil Munro | 13th October 2020

Everyone in the construction industry is obliged to comply with the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015). These regulations set out what people involved in construction work need to do to protect themselves – and anyone the work affects – from harm. These regulations also apply to self builders although the degree to …

Read moreHow does Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2015 apply to Self Builders?

Principal Designer

What should construction clients look for in a Principal Designer?

By Ian Stone | 6th October 2020

A Principal Designer is appointed by the client to have control over a project’s Pre-Construction Phase. The Principal Designer can be an organisation – or on a smaller project an individual – that has: A technical knowledge of the construction industry which is relevant to the project The understanding and skills to manage and coordinate …

Read moreWhat should construction clients look for in a Principal Designer?

Principal Contractor

Could we be your Principal Contractor?

By Neil Munro | 29th September 2020

Acorn Safety Services is a full-service consultancy which has been established with the objective of meeting clients’ diverse health and safety needs within the workplace and helping them to be compliant with statutory health and safety regulations. Regardless of your requirement for CDM Client, Principal Designer or Principal Contractor services, retained health and safety consultancy, …

Read moreCould we be your Principal Contractor?

Building Fire Risk Assessments

Fire Risk Assessments on Buildings

By Ian Stone | 22nd September 2020

In this blog we will consider why fire risk assessments are essential for certain types of buildings. In essence, fire risk assessments need to be carried out on all non-domestic properties and on communal areas of rented properties. The identified risks and subsequent safety measures that you put in place must be passed onto employees …

Read moreFire Risk Assessments on Buildings

Health And Safety Book

Acorn experts release health and safety guide

By Neil Munro | 15th September 2020

We are thrilled to announce that we have launched a new no-nonsense health and safety guide. The book, called ‘Fear and Loathing of Health and Safety – Stay out of Prison, Avoid Massive Fines and Cut Through the Red Tape’ has been written by two of Acorn Safety Services’ directors – Neil Munro and Ian …

Read moreAcorn experts release health and safety guide