The Real Business Impact of Health & Safety

6th December 2017

In summer 2016, I wrote two blog posts about new sentencing guidelines and how to avoid significant fines and custodial sentences. Last month saw the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) announce its first figures since they were implemented. Fines handed to duty holders found guilty of safety and health offences increased by 80% in the 12 months to the end of March 2017 – despite a fall in cases prosecuted.

That’s right – a staggering 80% increase in fines.

So how do you minimise the potential harm to your employees, ensure your organisation isn’t hit by a big fine and avoid a custodial sentence?

In the second post, I looked at 10 factors to consider when creating a better approach to health and safety through effective and visible leadership.

Following the publication of these figures, I thought it worth re-publishing these:

  1. Accountability: Establish business leadership team’s accountability for health and safety – the most important and demanding change.
  2. Challenge: Gain access to high calibre health and safety resource – if you want the best advice, get the best people.
  3. Responsibility: Clearly delegate responsibility to line management to implement risk controls – what you really want, they will really deliver.
  4. Motivate: Engage with the whole workforce and supply chain and reward success. Everybody must agree what’s important and be pulling together.
  5. Resource: Identify the risks your activities generate and create a plan of risk controls to eliminate or mitigate them – allocate resources to design, implement and review.
  6. Change Management: Create a realistic plan outlining the change you want and how quickly it can occur. Consider the complete burden of investment and change currently impacting on the business.
  7. Control: Regularly monitor to ensure risk controls are in place and effective – don’t simply hope the controls work; you wouldn’t for sales or margin.
  8. Review: Learn from your mistakes – evaluate the potential of all events and make investigations proportionate to what could have happened.
  9. Growth: Actively seek opportunities to improve – don’t narrowly achieve compliance, you wouldn’t with a financial investment
  10. Competency: Competency is essential throughout your organisation and supply chain – experience, knowledge and soft skills are all essential.

This might look daunting, but once all these factors have been considered and you have started to lead a culture of responsibility, not just in safety, but across the whole business, the benefits won’t just be financial. And we can help get you there.

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