Health and Safety
Health and Safety Consultancy in Northern Ireland & Scotland
This service is designed to ensure that our clients understand and meet their obligations under Health & Safety Legislation and that the client has adequate policies, procedures, and advice to help them manage health & safety.
- Our Health and Safety Consultants support clients with
- Health and safety support
- The legal requirements of health and safety made simple
- Employer’s responsibility for health and safety in the workplace
- What is a health and safety policy
- Why health and safety is important
- Are health and safety regulations law
- Can health and safety inspectors arrest you?
- 5 powers of a health and safety inspector
- What is Fee For Intervention
- Risk management vs Risk assessment
- When should you carry out risk assessments
- Near miss reporting
- Examples of Health and safety fines in 2022
Our Health and Safety Consultants support clients with
Practical Health and Safety Assistance
- An annual on-site health & safety visit from one of our health and safety consultants to undertake a healthy and safety audit and assist the client to undertake risk assessments.
- A Health and Safety consultant to provide guidance in assisting the client to undertake a COSHH Assessment.
- Unlimited telephone and email support from our health and safety consultants
Health & Safety Policy Document (containing the following):
- Policy Statement
- Directors’ or Senior Officers’ responsibilities
- Managers’ / Supervisors’ responsibilities
- Employees’ responsibilities
- Evacuation Procedure
- General health and safety arrangements
Health and Safety Administration
- Risk Assessment Form
- Accident Report Form
- Safety Audit Form
- COSHH Assessment Form
- Preparation of ‘Safe Systems of Work’ (where required)
Health and Safety Support
Protecting your business and employees is one of the most important elements of running your business, furthermore, employers have a legal duty of care meaning employers must follow health and safety laws in the workplace.
Our health and safety consultancy service will sure your peace of mind that your business and employees are safe at all times during work. Workplace safety must be at the centre of everything that the company does.
The legal requirements of Health and Safety made simple
The Health and Safety Information for employees Regulations 1989, requires employers to either display the HSE/NI approved law poster or to provide each employee with an equivalent leaflet.
The basics for your business
- Appointing a competent person
- Consult with employees
- First aid in work
- Prepare a policy
- Provide health and safety information and training
- Display the health and safety law poster
- Report accidents and illness
- Completing risk assessments
- Have the right workplace facilities
- Get insurance for the business
Appoint a competent person
Do they have the skills, knowledge, and experience to recognise hazards in your business and put controls in place?
Who? Yourself, one or more of your workers, or someone from outside the business. If your company needs help with managing health and safety, get in contact with our health and safety consultants for a free consultation.
However, you should always remember managing health and safety is the legal duty of the employer.
Prepare a policy
The law states that all businesses must have a policy for managing health and safety. This policy will explain how you; the employer will manage your health and safety in your business.
If the business has 5 or more employees, then this policy must be written down and recorded. The policy then must be shared with all employees.
As an employer, you are legally required to protect employees and also visitors from harm. Assessing risks is an important part of the overall process.
If you need assistance with completing risk assessments, our health and safety consultants can assist your business with risk assessments ensuring they are completed correctly.
Employees must be given clear instructions; it is very important that the correct training is given taking particular care to make sure that those potentially more at risk i.e. new recruits are adequately trained for health and safety practices.
Displaying the health and safety law poster
The law poster must be displayed so your employees can easily read it. The details of your employee’s safety representatives should be added.
Report accidents and illness
It is the law that you must report certain workplace injuries, near misses, and access of work-related disease to HSE/HSE NI.
This responsibility is outlined under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases, and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations, known as RIDDOR.
Records should be stored confidentially in a secure place, following GDPR legislation.
Employers' responsibility for Health and Safety in the workplace
Employees’ health and safety whilst working fall to the employer following Health and Safety laws. Employers have a duty of care to minimise any risks to employee health, safety, and wellbeing, including taking reasonable and practical steps to prioritise employee safety.
Risk Assessments are key to managing health and safety in the workplace, this involves reviewing and identifying work tasks that may cause harm or injury to employees. Once identified employers be proactive in eliminating potential danger or controlling the risk under laws.
Controlling the risk can begin by highlighting to employees the potential risks at work and how the risk has been controlled or how employees are protected from danger through health and safety practices. Employers must train employees on dealing with risks in the workplace and incorporate health and safety training into induction plans.
Providing information on health and safety is a legal duty of employers, this includes displaying of posters or provision OF approved leaflets to each employee – the information posters and leaflets should be approved by the Health and Safety Information for Employees Regulations (HSIER).
Addressing and consulting on any health and safety issues with employees is essential, consultation may be directly from those responsible within the organisation for health and safety or from safety representatives appointed by the employees or trade union.
What is a health and safety policy?
Once finalised the owner/head of the company should approve and sign off on the policy.
The policy is normally divided into 3 sections
- The general health and safety policy (Statement of Intent)
- Roles and responsibilities
Detailing who within the company is responsible for ensuring that legislation is being followed.
Information on the duties of employees should be incorporated
- Arrangements for health and safety
In this section details of potential risks and how they are minimised in the workplace should be included, such as office equipment/machinery, manual handling, and display screen regulations. This is generally the largest section of the policy, which can vary depending on the type of company or industry the company operates. COSSH regulations arrangements will also be detailed within the health and safety.
Why Health and Safety is important
- All employees have the right to return home from work safe and healthy
- Good health and safety practices can make your workplace much more efficient and subsequently more productive by helping to reduce long and short time absences. This can lead to a reduction in overheads also.
- If your employees feel valued because their safety and well-being is being respected, then they will undoubtedly be more productive on a day-to-day basis.
- If you want to save your business money then reducing downtime is a proven way to do this, less illness and accidents in your workplace /business will lead to less disruption and a better place to work
- It is a legal obligation! Health and Safety legislation is criminal law, and every company is legally obliged to comply with it. If you choose to ignore these laws, then prosecution fines, and in worse cases imprisonment can follow.
- Is your business looking for investors? You may need demonstrable evidence of your health and safety practices. If it isn’t written down where is the evidence of the practices?
- How’s your chain of supply? More and more customers like to know they are buying from companies that deal with like-minded suppliers. Is your supplier practicing good health and safety in their workplace?
- The best employee’s going forward will be looking for evidence of great practices in your business. Pay and benefits are no longer the only incentives to work for your business
- Want a competitive advantage over your nearest competition? Good health and safety practices help to build trust in your brand/service. Poor visible health and safety practices can damage your name and reputation very quickly and it can be extremely difficult to recover.
- Top-level health and safety at work will deliver long-term benefits for the employer, employee, and the surrounding area of your business.
Are health and safety regulations law?
“It shall be the duty of every employer to prepare and as often as may be appropriate revise a written statement of his/her general policy with respect to the health and safety at work or his/her employees and the organisation and arrangements for the time being in force for carrying out that policy, and to bring the statement and any revision of it to the notice of all to employees.”
Stated in the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 – The general duties of employers to their employees.
Your health and safety policy must policy with the legal requirements, but also it is key to remember that the development of a robust health and safety policy will also benefit any business with improved safety management and accident prevention.
Can health and safety inspectors arrest you?
Usually, they would take enforcement action. If there has been a breach of health and safety laws in your business, you receive an improvement or prohibition notice.
Inspectors most definitely have the right to enter your premises and they can talk to any employees or safety representatives, and exercise whatever powers necessary to help them fulfil their roles.
*Remember work premises can include the home of your homeworkers*
Criminal prosecution may also be taken by the HSE/HSENI if an accident has been reported or if they were made aware of the accident.
5 Powers of a Health and Safety Inspector
- Examine and investigate – this can include taking photography, measurements, or even samples
- Seize possession of an item for testing
- Seize any substance that could cause harm
- Interview and take statements from witnesses
- Make copies of documents that are relevant to their investigation
What actions may HSE/HSENI inspector take?
If the inspectors feel that your business is breaking health and safety law or that further risk is not being taken seriously, then they can take the following actions:
- Issue an informal warning – this can be verbal or in writing
- Issue an improvement notice or prohibition notice
- Carry out a full investigation and then make recommendations to the PPS (Public prosecution service)
- Implement fees for intervention (GB ONLY)
What is Fee for Intervention (FFI)?
FFI is used in Great Britain to cover costs of HSE inspection as well as any enforcement activities carried out following a business being found to have breached health and safety regulations and seen to be liable for the costs.
These costs will include;
- HSE inspection
- Enforcement activities
- Follow-up inspections and enforcement action.
The HSE introduced this system to shift the costs from taxpayers to businesses for failure to comply with health and safety regulations.
Is Fee For Intervention fines enforceable?
Yes, FFI fines are enforceable and issued by the HSE following breaches of health and safety laws. Failing to pay the fine can result in legal action from HSE, creating further fines and in some cases imprisonment.
Local authority or HSE will also require the safety breach to be corrected and the risk to safety is eliminated. It is in the business’s best interest to correct the breach and pay any fines/costs relating to this.
Risk Management v Risk Assessment
Process of Identifying, Assessing, and eliminating risks that can cost businesses more than monetary losses. Risk management strategies help companies be prepared for unexpected events and surprises. Risk management done correctly analyses the potential effect risks can have alongside developing strategies to manage risks.
Risk management can include
- Creating a healthy, safe & secure working environment
- Increasing the operational excellence of your business
- Protecting your supply chain
- Protecting your critical assets
- Establishing prevention strategies and contingency plans
Risk Management is an umbrella term and includes Risk Assessment
Risk assessments are a key aspect and primary step of risk management. Involving identifying and assessing potential risks to a company. The overall goal of risk assessments is to give a clear picture of hazards or risks to a company, impacting employees’ safety.
5-step process (applied to H&S or other risk areas)
- Identify the hazard (something with the potential to cause harm)
- Estimate the risk (who might be harmed, how might they be harmed, how likely is it that harm will occur, how serious would the outcome be)
- Evaluate the risk (now that you have estimated the risk, what are you going to do to control it?)
- Record the findings
- Review your findings
When should you carry out risk assessments?
Businesses should always carry out risk assessments. Businesses have a legal duty under the Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations to assess the risks to the health and safety of their employees.
In 2019/20 there were 147 fatal injuries reported and 600,000 non-fatal injuries, highlighting the requirement for regular reviewing of risk assessments in order to control risks in the workplace.
Employers should be carrying out specific risk assessments for pregnant employees and young people (16 – 18 years old).
The risk assessment must be written down if there are more than 5 employees.
Overall, risk assessments should be an ongoing process that needs reviewed and updated to ensure they are effective. Risk assessments are a proactive method for protecting against and preventing injuries at work, creating a safer working environment for everyone.
Near miss reporting
Near miss reporting is the process of reporting workplace incidents that did not cause any injuries or damage, however, there was potential for causing injury or damage. When a near miss occurs, the incident may be used to address and identify possible hazards, trying to prevent similar incidents from occurring again.
Companies may find it beneficial to have a formal process for reporting near-miss incidents, as part of their risk management strategies and safety management procedure. Near-miss reporting starts by analysing and gathering information about the incident, establishing the root cause of the incident, and taking corrective measures to prevent a similar incident from occurring in the future.
Examples of health and safety fines in 2022
Northern Ireland health and safety fine in the workplace 2022
Two Northern Ireland poultry companies have been fined £125,000 and £18,000 under Articles 4 and 5 of the Health and Safety at work. Following a forklift accident leaving one employee with crush injuries. The work site was poorly lit, and employees were provided with dark blue overalls making visibility poor and putting employees in dangerous working conditions.
The companies were found guilty of failing to meet their legal responsibility under health and safety laws, to ensure a safe working environment in the chicken house, where a forklift was in operation in the same area as employees carrying out their job responsibilities.
Scotland Health and safety fine in the workplace 2022
A care provider based in Glasgow was found to have breached health and safety regulations, which led to a 59-year-old resident sadly passing away due to drowning during the night. The charges fell under section 3 of the health and safety at work. The care provider failed to complete a suitable risk assessment to fully identify the resident’s needs, who had severe learning difficulties needs.
The Health and Safety Executive investigated and discovered other failings including failure to train employees sufficiently on how to complete appropriate and necessary checks of residents during the night shift. Failure to have check sheets providing essential information regarding the resident’s care and there was no suitable equipment provided to alarm employees of the resident moving around in the apartment. Furthermore, the care provider was understaffed throughout the shift.
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