New Sentencing Guidelines – Part 2: Avoiding prosecution for Health & Safety Offences

5th July 2016

This is the second in a series of two articles looking at the new Sentencing Guidelines. It focuses on the key steps to avoid significant fines and/or custodial sentences.

Effective risk management is at the core of running a high performing business. The following 10 steps can help ensure that you never create significant potential for harm for your employees and others. Key reality checks and potential sideshows are also shared to keep you on the right path.

Factors for Success:

  1. Accountability: Establish the accountability of the business leadership team for Health & Safety – you will never do anything more important! This is the most demanding change.
  2. Challenge: Gain access to high calibre Health & Safety resource – if you want the best advice, you will need the best candidates.
  3. Responsibility: Clearly delegate responsibility to line management to implement risk controls – what you really want, they will really deliver.
  4. Motivate: Engage, communicate with, reward the whole workforce and supply chain for success – everybody must agree upon what is important and be pulling together.
  5. Resource: Identify the risks that your activities generate and create a plan of risk controls to eliminate or mitigate those risks – resources must be allocated to design, implement and review.
  6. Change Management: Create a realistic plan as to what change you want and how quickly change can occur – take into account the complete burden of investment and change currently impacting on the business.
  7. Control: You must regularly monitor to ensure that risk controls are in place and effective – you cannot simply hope the controls work, you would not do the same for sales or margin.
  8. Review: Learn from your mistakes – evaluate the potential of all events and make your investigations proportionate to what could have happened.
  9. Growth: Actively seek opportunities to improve – avoid aiming to narrowly achieve compliance, you would not do the same for your financial investment
  10. Competency: Competency is essential throughout your organisation and supply chain – experience, knowledge and soft skills are all essential.

Reality Check:

Success relies on the passion and commitment from leadership in the first instance.

People will make errors.

Is the rate of change required realistic?

View Health & Safety as one of a group of key business risks that you have to manage.

Recognise the difference between occupational health & safety and process safety

Formalise the risk controls for significant risk into standards and instructions.

Potential Sideshows:

Past results are no guarantee of future success.

The myth of red tape and gold plating!

An overt focus on the behaviour of front line employees.

Blaming the KPI.

Health & Safety is not primarily a technical issue.

If you would like to discuss this topic further, please get in touch.

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