Deal with it – don’t walk on by

It is not unusual for people to walk passed and ignore serious and obvious hazards in the workplace.

Please, don't walk past 100_0622.JPG Don't walk past Rubbish - don't walk past

We can become accustomed, or normalised to seeing situations which are unnecessarily dangerous. These can include:

  • missing fall protection barriers
  • blocked fire exits
  • leaking pipes
  • corroded storage tanks
  • workers taking shortcuts
  • precarious operations
  • cables trailing across walkways
  • etc.

Do we act? Do we do the right thing?

Tolerating small defects can lead to major incidents. Inaction is an all too typical response. Complacency is the enemy.

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Ignoring Enforcement Notices – where does it get you?

So what happens if the HSE issues an Enforcement notice to your organisation and you choose to ignore it?

Ignoring Enforcement Notices – you don’t have to be a genius to determine what is likely to happen. There will be some form of follow-up (they know where you are) and then things will not proceed so well. There may well be a court case, and the lack of cooperation is unlikely to favour the defendant. Bad press will follow, remedial works will still be required, the workforce will be aware of the situation (this will not improve morale, safety culture, etc.), and the Enforcement Officers will “have you on their radar”.

A couple of recent cases can indicate what happens:

A coach company in Wrexham has been fined £250,000 after it repeatedly failed to comply with legal notices to get its lifting equipment examined.

Wrexham Magistrates’ Court heard that between 4 April 2014 and 28 August 2015, GHA Coaches Limited failed to have its lifting equipment thoroughly examined within the required timescales to ensure that health and safety conditions were maintained and that any deterioration could be detected and remedied promptly. In 2015, an inspection revealed overdue Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER) examinations on at least 14 items. An improvement notice was served, and extended twice, and still resulted in a failure to comply.

The investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that a previous improvement notice was served in 2011. The Company, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 9(3)(a)(ii) of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER), and failing to comply with an Improvement Notice, and was fined a total of £250,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,068.

 [Source: HSE]

Firm fined for safety failings at property development

A company based in Cardiff has been fined for safety failings during a property development. Pontypridd Magistrates’ Court heard Ziman Trading Limited, formerly Ziman Investments Limited (Ziman), was acting as the principal contractor at the property development of the former New York Hotel, York Street, Porth.  An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that the company failed to ensure that appropriate measures were in place to control risks on site, including falls from height, exposure to asbestos and the risk from fire.

The company failed to adequately plan and manage the work which put workers at risk. Ziman did not cooperate with the investigation and neglected to comply with enforcement action taken by the HSE. The Company pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 13(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 and Section 33(1)(G) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £50,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,478

[Source: HSE]

Ignoring Enforcement Notices is a bad idea. Avoiding getting them (because you work in compliance with the principles of good practice) is good business.


Health and Safety Concepts – Proactive Health and Safety

Proactive Health and Safety – what do we mean? With respect to health and safety, are you Proactive or are you Reactive? Do you wait for things to happen and then respond? Is so, you are reactive. Most of us do a mixture of the two. We react to certain things and we try to stop others from happening (by being proactive). In the field of health and safety, reporting an accident would be reactive, as would providing first aid and investigating an accident. In this sense, we are reacting to something that has gone wrong. No business wants to be well rehearsed in dealing with (health and safety) failings or in giving refunds for poor quality service or products.

What do we mean by Proactive Health and Safety?

So what is proactive? Well, carrying out a risk assessment is proactive. After all, we are trying to work out what can go wrong and take steps to stop it happening. In this context, proactive is better than reactive. So what sort of things are proactive? Here is a list to get you thinking: Continue reading