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:
- 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.
- Challenge: Gain access to high calibre Health & Safety resource – if you want the best advice, you will need the best candidates.
- Responsibility: Clearly delegate responsibility to line management to implement risk controls – what you really want, they will really deliver.
- Motivate: Engage, communicate with, reward the whole workforce and supply chain for success – everybody must agree upon what is important and be pulling together.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Review: Learn from your mistakes – evaluate the potential of all events and make your investigations proportionate to what could have happened.
- Growth: Actively seek opportunities to improve – avoid aiming to narrowly achieve compliance, you would not do the same for your financial investment
- Competency: Competency is essential throughout your organisation and supply chain – experience, knowledge and soft skills are all essential.
Success relies on the passion and commitment from leadership in the first instance.
- Have you really committed to what is required by way of words and actions?
- Or have you created some Zero Harm posters?
People will make errors.
- Ensure that your control measures are tolerant of this.
- Stop blaming people for being people.
Is the rate of change required realistic?
- Aligned vision, values and strategy for all business risks will keep everything in the picture.
View Health & Safety as one of a group of key business risks that you have to manage.
- Ensure that it is integrated with the other key risks you manage day to day.
Recognise the difference between occupational health & safety and process safety
- What’s good for one may obscure the other.
Formalise the risk controls for significant risk into standards and instructions.
- Consistency in approach is essential to grow confidence that each workplace and every shift has strong risk control.
Past results are no guarantee of future success.
- Focus on the performance of deploying the risk control measures.
- The output results will follow.
The myth of red tape and gold plating!
- If you manage your risks well, you will have a highly efficient organisation that sees value in a strong Health & Safety performance.
An overt focus on the behaviour of front line employees.
- Leaders are human and they do make errors.
- Latent errors created by leaders can be massively impactful but very difficult to spot.
Blaming the KPI.
- Choose Zero or don’t choose Zero.
- Leadership and Management behaviours and words create performance.
- A KPI is just a KPI.
Health & Safety is not primarily a technical issue.
- Success is dependent on emotional engagement from each and every employee.
- Employees look out for themselves and others.
If you would like to discuss this topic further, please get in touch.