Are you safe at work?Category: Health & Safety | Bryan Richards | Published on: Jun 21, 2013 | Updated: Dec 12, 2016 Read more: Health & Safety
This month IOSH reported that tens of thousands of businesses will no longer undergo unnecessary health and safety inspections thanks to a new code introduced by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
The statutory Code tells local authorities that they should stop carrying out inspections which are not justified on a risk basis. This means that most shops and offices will not get routine inspections. Instead, council inspections will focus on higher risk premises.
Higher risk activities include sites such as cooling towers, where legionella bacteria can develop, and buried liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) gas pipes which can create an explosion if corroded.
The HSE Chair, Judith Hackitt, said that “Real improvement in safety performance will come from targeting those who put their employees at greatest risk. Local inspectors have a very important role to play in ensuring the effective and proportionate management of risks by businesses, and the code is designed to guide them to do this.”
So what does this mean in practice?
This code is another step in the Government’s plan to reduce the Health and Safety regulatory burden on business. The HSE have issued a positive line on this Code and it is potentially good for business.
Research reported in the Safety and Health Practitioner has shown that proactive routine inspections result in safer workplaces. The arbitary labelling of certain industry sectors as low risk is a brave step to reduce the regulatory burden. However, a recent TUC Report raised concerns that offices and shops are not low risk. A recent survey reported in IOSH News suggested that £7.2 bn is the cost of lost time due to poor ergonomic workstations in offices.
The Lofstedt report recognised the positive impact our H&S regulatory system has had on achieving and maintaining accident rates that are the lowest across the developed world. For example, the UK’s fatality rate is 3 times lower than that in the United States and better than most countries in Europe (Risk of Sudden Death at Work Article, BBC International Website April 2012)). This did not happen by accident.
Unravelling a system we have had in place in this country for over 30 years may have unforeseen consequences, but this Code will be implemented and there will be less inspections.
So who will check if you are safe now?
The HSE have themselves recognised that this is an opportunity for H&S professionals to ensure that routine checks continue. Arinite has expertise in carrying out proactive inspections to help ensure that the first visit you receive from an inspector is not as a result of an accident, or major non-compliance.Contact us
If you need to call upon our expertise in Health and Safety Consulting, or just for informal Health and Safety advice, please call me on: mobile 0780 361 2948, office 0207 947 9581, or drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bryan Richards 20th June 2013
Arinite Ltd, Warnford Court, 29 Throgmorton Street, London EC2N 2AT