Each week, Peninsula Business Services invite business owners, finance directors and senior management to take advantage of our national program of FREE Employment Law and Health & Safety Webinars.
Do you want to know how to ensure your employees benefit from a safer workplace environment? My free webinar will provide practical and pragmatic advice that will help improve health and safety for your staff.
If you would like any further information or advice on improving safety in the workplace then please call our advice service on 0844 892 2772 or contact us online.
Good morning everybody, hello, welcome to my webinar today. This is Amanda Chadwick from Peninsula Business Services Limited. I’m going to start off the actual session today with a video, and I’m going to finish off on a video, and I like this video because I have statistics on it, so, have a look at it.
We’re going to talk about health and safety today; keeping your workplace safe. And I really like this video because it has, like I said, it talks about health and safety and it’s only a quick 60-second video, so I’m going to start off with that. And I hope you enjoy the video. And then I’ll come back into the session to talk about health and safety, risk assessments, etcetera. So, here we go.
When it starts working. We always have a technical issue don’t we? Hang on one second; I’ll get it working, just one minute.
Hello, anyway, good morning. I thought I’d show you that video, and will get on with the presentation because I think it’s really good. It shows you statistics, it shows you about health and safety. So, I’m Amanda Chadwick, I am the senior presenter at Peninsula Business Services, and today we’re talking about health and safety.
So why manage health and safety? Well, the reasons are because, legally, you’ve got to. If you don’t, you’ll end up spending an awful lot of money defending yourself, you’ll have accidents, you’ll put people’s lives at risk, so there is a moral issue because of this.
And also because of economic reasons as well. A lot of people, a lot of employers, are really scared of health and safety along with employment law, but more so health and safety. And I’ve yet to meet one person who can actually stand in front of me and say, “I’m 100 per cent comfortable with the training I give my staff; they understand it, with the policies and procedures and everything I’ve got in place.”
So, you know, we’ve got a moral reason for health and safety, a legal obligation, and also the economic reasons, as well, because if you get it wrong it costs you an awful lot of money.
You saw in the statistics a minute ago, there are 1.1 million people suffering with work-related illnesses as we speak. We’ve got over 111,000 reportable major injuries, 173 fatalities. Imagine that. You’re sending your husband, your wife, your partner, your daughter, your son, relative off to work, and they don’t come home because they lost their life at work. It’s just absolutely ridiculous. Places should be made safe. Twenty-seven million working days lost in the UK economy, and also we’ve got the fact that health and safety and absenteeism, there is a crossover. And we’re going to talk about some of those crossovers later on. We’re going to talk about lone working, and we’re going to talk about remote working, and we’re going to talk about maternity, we’re going to talk about working time regulations because these are all the crossovers. It’s very hard now to separate employment law from health and safety. They’re sort of joined at the hip, if you’d like, so we’re going to talk about that. So, let’s get our facts into place.
Proprietors, owners, directors, partners, managers, trustees and governors; you are the people that have unlimited personal liability. And I still meet people every day that don’t realise the importance of health and safety. Trustees in a charity where they’re interviewed under caution and don’t actually realise why they’re being interviewed under caution. It hasn’t quite clicked what will happen if they’re proven to be guilty.
And I’m talking about, actually, the incident I’m referring to straight away in my head, is a trustee and a charity that was going to be prosecuted for one of the first prosecutions for working at height. And simply somebody had gone over six foot into a loft and fell through the loft and were hanging from a cable upside down, and it was in a charity. It was in a care home.
So, you know, the trustee there, the chair people, the trustees, and the lady I was speaking to didn’t realise when she was sat there interviewed under caution, how important this was, and what significance it had to her, and what the implications were.
So we have to take this seriously, we have to get things in place, also to give ourselves peace of mind anyway. I couldn’t run a business without some peace of mind. So remember, you have unlimited personal liability. So if you get it wrong we’ve got fines, we’ve got criminal records now; you won’t be going to America with a criminal record, custodial sentences, and even corporate manslaughter. So, health and safety responsibility for, this is what you’ve got it for; you’ve got to for visitors. Let’s talk about this to begin with because this straight away is very simply rectified, okay?
I go into businesses every day, I go into premises, and I go in and I sign into a book at the front desk, okay? The book says what my car registration number is, and it tells them what’s my name is, it’s also says what time I arrived, and hopefully I’ll sign out on the way out, which, you know, generally, lots of people don’t do. God knows what’s going to happen if there is a fire because who’s going to run around looking for all these people that are still in the building, apparently.
Now, that’s not defence, okay. That’s not defence. For me, that is not defence. What I’m looking for, is I’m looking for protection; protection for the employer, protection against litigation for somebody saying you had an accident on the premises and claiming it happened there, and proof. So what I’m looking for, is very simply, a visitors’ book.
If you put your hands together now and you opened it up, if you look on the left-hand side, I’m looking for a delegation of responsibility and authority on that side. And on the right-hand side, yes, I’m looking for somebody’s name, I’m looking for their car registration number, I’m looking for the time they entered in the time they left, okay?
But on the left-hand side, what I am looking for is I’m looking for a delegation, I’m looking for you, on that side to say to a visitor, this is what they’re signing for. You’re telling them where they can go, where they can’t go, what they can do, what they can’t do, what they can touch, what they can’t touch. You’re saying if you have an accident today, you have to report it immediately, and this is how you report it, and can we draw your attention to our bomb and fire evacuation procedures. That way, you’ve just covered yourself.
And what you’re doing is, when I turn up at your business, I’m looking at the left-hand page, I’m seeing that’s, you know, if I have an accident I’ve got to report it today, I’ve just seen where you congregate if there’s a fire, and I’ve signed on the right-hand side to say “I accept that.”
Now, what happens if that visitor then goes into the loading bay area and gets killed or has an accident? You’ve got defence then because, hopefully, in your visitors’ book it would say, “You shouldn’t have gone there.” Okay? And you signed to say that you wouldn’t.
You can’t go in the kitchen area, you can’t touch this, you can’t do that; you always get a do-gooder that goes into a business and starts faffing about about and touching things they shouldn’t do. So it’s a really good idea to have defence document in there. Also, on top of that, what’s you would want is something, like, you would want something, like, for nurseries or the care sector, a simple thing that would say, “You can’t give anything to the patients without prior permission.” Such as peanuts, for example; chocolate-covered with peanuts. If they’ve got a gluten allergy.
When you’ve got people coming in and out of your premises and it’s Christmas time, for example, and it’s a party atmosphere and somebody’s got some sweets in their pockets. They may offer them to an elderly patient, they may offer them to a child, and the fact is it could cause that person to be very ill. So you want to delegate that responsibility and authority, again, to the visitor. When they sign in to come in to your care home or your nursery, that they don’t give anything to the patients or your residents without prior permission from whoever they have to get it from.
So that crosses that one off, as well, so I’m looking for a really robust visitors’ book. As you know, that’s what Peninsula’s all about, that’s our substance, that’s our vision. It’s about protecting those people that are in the job that would be questioned and interviewed under caution, such as your managers, directors, your HR people, your health and safety officers. We are there to protect them, so we want to make sure we’ve got the rights defence documents in place so that they can turn round and say, “No, I did everything right, I’ve got the visitors’ book. They knew when they signed in.”
And, you know, delegation, responsibility, bomb evacuation procedures. And that’s your visitors’ book. Very simply, I don’t want an exercise book at reception; I want a proper visitors’ book that delegates responsibility and authority.
Then what we have, we have a duty of care towards employees, but they also have a duty of care to us and what we’re going to do here is what we have an induction on day one, we’re going to get them to sign. And there are several documents they’re going to sign. They’re going to sign their health and safety policy, and they’re going to have training on it. And we’re going to get them to sign to say they’ve read, and they’ve understood, and for me, legally understand is a winning words. So I say they’ve understood the training, they’ve understood the handbook. The reason I’m going to put “understand” in there is because I can defend you if somebody says they understood the training.
You know, you can have a fatality, you can have an accident, somebody can be injured, and you can be absolutely worried to death about it. But if you’ve got the right things in place, and you’ve delegated properly, and you’ve trained people, you won’t get prosecuted. You might have an investigation, but you won’t get prosecuted.
Let me give you an example of this, okay? I’m not going to name the place, but I’m going to say it’s a recreational park, okay? And the greenkeeper was going over at the bumps on the recreational park and he came off his sit-on mower, fell into a ditch, the mower fell on top of him, and he lost his life. Not a very nice death at all. The place of work were really, really upset because this is somebody they knew that had lost their life at work, but also on top of that, they were worried about the investigation when reality hit them.
Okay. Now this is the defence: prior to the gentleman losing his life, the organisation had walked around the green, and they’d found that several areas had bumps, you know, bumps coming up, the rugged ground. It had become more rugged than usual with wear and tear, and obviously, the elements in the weather. And they decided there were some areas they didn’t think it was safe to use a sit-on mower.
So what they did, they brought their greenkeepers in to training, they updated them on the latest risk assessments in the outcome, which was in these areas it wasn’t safe to use a sit-on mower. They said that they’re going to put a map on the wall. They give everybody a copy of the map, and they placed one within their office. They gave everybody a copy of the map, they trained them to say what the safe areas were, and what the unsafe areas were, and in the safe areas, they could use both the sit-on mower, and a pedestrian mower. But in the unsafe areas, they could only use a pedestrian mower.
Everybody signed to say they’d received the outcome of the risk assessments. They’d signed to say that they’d had the training, that it was delivered and they understood it. They signed to say they’d received the health and safety policy, they understood it, and they weren’t going to do that, and they signed to say they had been briefed about the use of the pedestrian mower, and the sit-on mower. The gentleman rode that mower, that day, after he had the training and lost his life because of his own neglect. The company weren’t prosecuted.
See how the training, see how the defence works. So on day one induction, health and safety policy, employment rule handbook, sign to say they’ve read it and understood it. Tell them about your policies, train them on the policies, say they understand them. If you’ve given them protective clothing at this stage, then you get them to sign for the protective clothing. You might even want to have a policy on that if it’s cost you money. It’s all about growth and saving money nowadays. And saying things, like, “When your protective clothing is worn out, we need the old one back before we issue you a new one.” That type of thing.
So that’s what I’m looking for. I’m looking for crossing the T’s and dotting the I’s. Then we’re looking at contractors. Obviously, everybody gets people in to do work that they can’t do. It might be window cleaning, it might be cleaning, you know, contract cleaning, it might be electricians, painters and decorators, or it might be somebody tendering for work that you’ve got. What you should be doing at this point is when people are coming in to tender, is make sure that they’ve got insurance; there’s the first tick box.
Then make sure that they do health and safety and that they’ve got health and safety policies, sorry, no that they do health and safety. That they’ve got a health and safety policy, that they have risk assessments in place, and that what you do is you have a piece of paper that you turn around then, and you get them to sign for their own health and safety. Remember though, people entering your business are protected under discrimination, so just remember that.
So, you want to put that in place and then you delegate the responsibility to them to say they are responsible for their own health and safety, having seen that you’ve got. And anybody who’s our client and his health and safety, remember we help you with that.
Then we’ve got volunteers, as well. These are people that enter your premises that are people that are unpaid. You know, isn’t it brilliant that people that can’t even, I can’t plan a week. Let alone plan on giving someone my time for free. I just can’t believe that there’s people out there that can volunteer for free, and do work for free in their own time. It’s amazing. And what I’d say to those people is we need to protect them. So we’re going to have a volunteer agreement in place and we’re also going to train those people for health and safety, as well, and get them to sign to say that they understand.
So, why manage health and safety? Well, this is the statement, “Every employer shall appoint one or more competent persons to assist him in undertaking the measures he needs to take to comply with the requirements and prohibitions imposed upon him by or under relevant statutory provisions.” That was Regulation 7, brackets 1, Management of health and safety at Work regulations 1999. You’ve got to manage health and safety. It is a legal responsibility.
So, this is the reverse burden of proof with, okay? You know if I murdered my husband, yeah, and it is on my mind by the way, everybody out there, and I murdered my husband and I buried him under the patio. What you have to do is when you arrest me and you take me, you arrest me, you interview me, and you’re going to prosecute me, what you have to do is you have to have evidence, okay. You’ve got to prove that I did it. Motive, evidence, etcetera. You’ve got to prove that I did it.
With health and safety and employment law, there’s a reverse burden of proof, it’s the opposite, okay? You’ve got to prove, as the employer, if I’m saying I got injured because of you, you’ve got to prove that I didn’t get injured because of you. You are automatically assumed guilty straight away. You’ve got to prove yourself innocent. This is the reverse burden of proof bit.
So if you haven’t got a health and safety policy and you haven’t updated it then, no policy: you’re guilty. If you don’t have procedures in place, or do assessments, or you don’t carry out training, you don’t provide personal protective equipment, you don’t do monitoring of this, and you don’t have any registers or records, guess what? You’re guilty.
So you’ve got to get all of that in place and you’ve got to do it for health and safety. Why manage health and safety? It’s for business protection. You know what, there’s no point in me starting a business, spending a blooming fortune, starting it up, investing my own time and money, and even some cases putting my house as collateral, without putting business protection in place. Even if you’re a hairdresser listening to me today, you’ve got two staff, you’ve got to get business protection in place, you’ve got to get help, you’ve got to know what you’re doing.
Let me take you to a hairdressing salon in Manchester, in a residential area. The hairdresser there, two partners, okay. A man and a woman, they’re both not partners in life, but partners in business. Man and woman run it, okay. They do the hair, and they decide that they’re expanding. They bring in an apprentice. This apprentice picks up a pair of hairdressing scissors to open a carton of milk. No safe working practices in place. Yep. They weren’t prosecuted, but they paid the apprentice a certain amount of money. We’ve got to have business protection in place.
Now that doesn’t sound like a lot of money does it? Cutting their hand on a pair of hairdressing scissors, but they weren’t told that they couldn’t use the hairdressing scissors when opening a carton of milk. It’s as simple as that. And the money that they paid, it’s a lad, the money that they paid this young man, was the money they’d saved out of their own savings to put away for holidays.
So there you go, business protection, and it affected them. There’s especially high importance with five or more staff. Obviously, it’s a little bit simpler with five or less, but if I’m dealing with a startup company, it’s much easier to set things in place when you first start your company and add to it, rather than later on, because we get bad habits.
Also, if you are tendering, it’s absolutely brilliant if you’re tendering to show that you’ve got a good health and safety. Good health and safety brings in blooming good business, so get things in place that prove that you are health and safety aware, okay? That you do risk assessments, that you do everything, training, safeguards, etcetera.
So, our method statements, so requirement for tendering in most cases now, and a search policy, even though it’s in your employment law handbook, is great for tendering. To say that you search your staff for alcohol, for drugs, if anybody thinks it’s for smoking, and for mobiles, and use of. So that’s a really good policy to have for tendering. If anybody’s listening to me, and they’re a Peninsula client, and they want that adding to their policies and procedures, remember that no additional cost, that’s what we do if you’re our client.
It creates a positive working environment. Imagine going to work and being frightened of getting injured, or hurt, or knowing that people are cutting corners; and I know lots of companies that do. And increases the productivity, because your staff are happier, they feel safer. It does increase the productivity.
So, health and safety check. Have you got a written health and safety policy in place? Is it regularly updated? Are all employees trained and guided through this on induction? Not just one or two, but all employees.
Do you have proof ongoing training on health and safety? And can you prove it? Can you prove that people are trained? And staff and management are fully aware of their health and safety responsibilities.
The amount of times I meet the lady that started off, and I’m being sexist here, but it usually is a lady, that started off as an admin person in an up-and-coming company, she’s been there for years, but now she’s the PA to the director, but she’s also responsible for the Christmas party, ordering stationery, looking after the managing director, taking phone calls. She’s there for health and safety and HR. The amount of people that come to my face-to-face events and say, “I tell you what, I am not comfortable with health and safety, but they put it on my job description.”
Do you know what that means? That means you might be the competent person, you might be the one interviewed under caution. So make sure people are fully aware of their health and safety responsibilities.
So, let’s have a look at this. Have you got a written health and safety policy and isn’t it given to all your staff? Who is responsible for your health and safety, and who is your competent person? How is information, instruction, training, and supervision given to the staff? Who carries out your risk assessments, and when were they last reviewed? Are you doing them anually? Are you doing them because there’s a change in society? Are you doing them because there is a set change in contracts? Are you doing them because there’s a change in the way people work, or there’s new equipment and machinery in there? You’ve got to do them when the things like that happen.
So who carries out that risk assessment, and when were they checked, and when were they last reviewed? Have you a current fire risk assessment and who carried it out? Have you appointed a responsible person for fire safety, and who monitors your fire procedures? For example, the fire drills, the fire alarm tests, etcetera. The amount of companies that I meet up with that say they don’t do fire drills because it interferes with business, and then it’s too late, isn’t it? There’s a fire and nobody knows what to do. How do you record and follow-up accidents and near misses?
So, these are the crossovers with health and safety; this is what I’m talking about. As you know from hearing me before, that the working time regulations are managed partly by health and safety. There are aspects of it the health and safety person come out, health and safety executive can see. The working time regulations, as you also know, because I always tell you this, is the biggest complaint in tribunal. So we’re talking about holidays, here, we’re talking about breaks, we’re talking about working hours, we’re talking about night workers, health assessments, all that type of stuff. Have you got a proportion of your health and safety handbook and your employment law handbook dedicated to working time and the requirements that your business needs? Such as when people take their breaks, how long they take them for, are they staggered, do they have to wait for somebody to come back, can they leave the premises? If its construction, do they all take their breaks together to save the risk of health and safety, and training apprentices and young workers? Holidays. Do you manage the holidays, make sure people are taking them? Because they can backdate it for six years if they’re not. Do you look at the other work aspect of it, and the exhaustion of there, and the managing of working hours? Have you got policies like that in your handbook? Have you got them in your health and safety policy? Because if you haven’t, you need to look at it.
Maternity: remember, when I speak about this in the past it’s all about delegation of responsibility. Here we have maternity, okay. I’m not going to tell you I’m pregnant straightaway because I’m going to wait for my first scan. My first scan happens, it’s usually, I don’t know is it 20 weeks now, 20 weeks? So 20 weeks when I disclose the information that I’m pregnant. We’ve got a 20-week period where there’s a risk here. Somebody could be lifting and carrying, somebody could be working with people, like, vulnerable adults that could lash out through no fault of their own, and damage the mother that’s expecting, and the child. So we’ve got to protect ourselves as a business.
And in our handbook, our employment law handbook, and our health and safety handbook, I’m looking for a statement. And it’s literally going to say something like, “When a female employee becomes pregnant she lets us know, written, at the earliest stage possible so we can make the health and safety standards necessary for her to do her job.”
You can tell by that statement, I’ve just protected your business, because somebody, then, can’t later on say they lost their child due to lifting and carrying if they haven’t told you that they’re pregnant because they’ve breached their own contract. Because had you known they were pregnant, and that’s what you have that as a term and condition, of which they signed for and you’ve got proof of, you would have moved them to another job or at least implemented, if you had to move them to another job, by the way, or at least done a risk assessment and met up with them. But you weren’t given the opportunity to because they never told you they were pregnant.
And that is why you have that statement in your handbook, “Let me know when you’re pregnant, written at the earliest stage, so I can make the health and safety standards necessary for you to do your job.” Okay? So that’s maternity.
By the way, for anybody listening to me, the maximum lifting for a woman, recommended lifting for a woman when she’s not pregnant, is 15 kilograms. Maximum lifting for a woman when she is pregnant is a risk assessment, okay. And then from the risk assessment you decide what the lady can lift. Until you’ve done the risk assessment it’s actually zero. You know, you’ve got to do the risk assessments, and you can only do the risk assessment if somebody tells you that they’re having a baby.
Then we’ve got disability. You can’t ask somebody about their health. Only in exceptional circumstances can you ask them about their health prior to offering them the job. So no health questions, please, or health questionnaires, before you offer them the job. But when you’ve offered them the job, with the job offer letter you will send them a health questionnaire out.
And you would hopefully find out if somebody’s got a disability, they’re taking medication, they’ve got something wrong with them, or they’re having medical advice, or they’re having counselling.
So back that up moving forward in your handbook and your health and safety policy, I would like to see a statement that says something, like, “If you have a disability, you start taking medication, your medical condition changes, or you’re having counselling, or you’re pregnant, you have to let us know at the earliest stage possible, written, so we can make the health and safety standards necessary for you to do your job.” That’s another defence statement for us. This is how we protect our clients, okay. We would utilise that to protect our clients, HR managers, and trustees. So, a statement on disability, as well.
And then we’ve got absence. I want absence records kept. I want an absence reporting procedure, and I would like you all to do return-to-work interviews, regardless of how long somebody’s off because of health and safety. I spoke about this the other day under sickness. Absence reporting, return-to-work interview, you can manage it from day one by doing return-to-work interviews.
Why were you off? And the odd days here will stop being off for one day, okay? Because you’re managing it, you’re getting a record, and you’re speaking to them about that record, the continued odd days off.
The other reason why you would do it is because you don’t know what’s happened the night before when somebody’s been off sick and what they’ve taken or who they’ve visited. So you need to do a return-to-work interview to protect yourself and health and safety cases. Because if I’ve had an injection of Stemetil, for example, the night before, that I’ve returned into work the next day, I shouldn’t be driving or operating machinery. And I could kill myself and other people or injure somebody. So a return-to-work interview is an important document to use regardless of how long somebody’s been off. And I’ve just saved you an awful lot of money by having that in place.
You know what, lots of stuff here could save you money. The maternity policy, the disability health statement, health questionnaires after you’ve offered them the job, and absence reporting, and return-to-work interviews, all save you lots and lots of money.
Accidents, okay, accident reported in the accident book. That changed, I think, actually, was it about 12 years ago now. I can’t remember the particular day. If anybody’s listening to me and they’ve got the old accident book where it’s got people’s names and addresses in it, and telephone numbers. You know what, you’re well out of date there; Data Protection changed this.
And it was changed, actually, because a lady was being stalked by a man, and the judge said, “Where did he get your home address from?” And it turned out she’d had an accident at work, and he’d got her home address from the accident book. So, it was brought to light that the accident book wasn’t protected under Data Protection and it changed.
Now as you know it, there’s no address in there, it’s ripped out, and there’s a reference number. So we’ve got an accident book, and then we’ve got personal protective equipment. How about, as I said, that policy, if you’re issuing personal protective equipment, it’s costly.
So make it work for you; don’t let people exploit you in the cost of. As we find a lot these steel-toecapped boots on eBay when they keep saying, “Oh, they’ve worn out.” When you’re issuing one, then you issue a new one when the old one is returned. Then what you can do is you can log it and save yourself a bit of money. But again, have a personal protective equipment policy, as well. And then we’ve got lone workers, and remote workers, and home workers. These, in themselves, are their own kettle of fish, aren’t they?
People who work alone without direct or close supervision are lone workers. And the vast majority of work activities, lone working is not illegal. Mobile work such as drivers, surveyors, service engineers, care workers, and the like, who work the way from their employer’s base are clearly identifiable and recognised as lone workers.
However, it is important to acknowledge that lone workers may work at a fixed workplace. People who work in an isolated part of a plant, and a maintenance worker whose work takes them all over a worksite, will be lone workers for much of their time. We then have on-call workers. Those working overtime, those who work outside normal hours, and those who open and close work premises, may at times also be called lone workers.
Lone workers are often at risk because of the nature and location of their work and the risks that they face include sort of things like violent attack to a worker opening or closing a shop or warehouse where the attacker is intent on theft. It might be a violent attack because they work with vulnerable people or in an area of social deprivation. It might be the inability to summon assistance in the event of a sudden illness or an accident. Unfamiliarity with a particular risk at a remote worksite. It might be unsafe practices adopted by lone workers free from supervision, you know, working in a building on their own, for example, and going out and having a cigarette in a really sort of, you know, not a very savoury area in the middle of the night. Involvement with serious road traffic accidents because they’re driving all the time. It might be manual handling of tools and equipment between van, or car, and workplace. It also could be something, like, manual handling during the delivery of goods, injuries due to previously unknown poor health of the lone worker because you haven’t done health assessments, or lack of help or advice in the event of the unexpected.
The risks faced by lone workers can be reduced by measures, and these include the training and the risk involved with the work, activity, or lone working. It could be just establishing a system of routine, communication with the loan worker, so, like, a check-in. For me, when I travel all over the country delivering events, it could be, which I do do, is ring when I’m leaving, and ring when I arrive so they know that I’ve arrived safely.
It could be, you know, good supervision, it might be the identification of potentially violent situations implementation, and effective control measures, which could include the elimination of lone working altogether. But it might be saying to people that do work nights and pop out for a cigarette, that they can no longer pop out for a cigarette during the break. And what you might do is have a safe area within your grounds where they can have a cigarette. Or it might be that, for example, you might actually say that they can’t leave the premises when they take a break, but if that’s the case, then what you would do is you have to provide refreshments, the place where they can make food, you know, make drinks. And providing adequate emergency procedures, as well. That’s just some of the things with loan workers and remote workers. I am actually going to do in the next few weeks a webinar just purely on lone workers, remote workers and home workers. So keep an eye out for that one.
Let’s talk about some myths with health and safety because I like myths and I like busting them because we hear so much in the paper about health and safety regulations. We’ve got one here, health and safety regulations now ban the use of ladders. Well, that’s not true, is it? This story reappears regularly, and in fact, there is no ban on ladders so long as they’re used safely. There are regulations aimed at ensuring that people do use ladders safely. This is to reduce the number of workers seriously injured or killed falling off ladders every year. In fact, most accidents happen below 6 foot. Every year, an average 13 workers die this way, and 12,000 or seriously injured. However, there is no ban on ladders so long as they are secured and used appropriately.
Myth two, “Schoolchildren are not allowed to use cardboard egg boxes in craft lessons on health and safety grounds.” This is probably related to a decision by East Sussex County Council to issue a circular indicating that there was in fact no problems in using both egg boxes and toilet rolls as long as they were clean looking. Which makes sense, really, doesn’t it? This is standard guidance within education and makes perfect sense. Okay? So, just clean stuff to use, that’s all. Made it simple for you.
“Workplaces are risk averse and employers are overly cautious because of the fear of health and safety regulations.” There is actually no evidence that employers are being risk averse. The fact that over 1 million workers get injured every year and 25,000 people are forced to give up work because of injury or illness caused by work shows that employers are very much taking risks with their workers’ health. And this might have been because of the recession that we’re coming out of.
People cut the corners and the one thing they do is they don’t do as many risk assessments, they don’t spend as much money on insurance; they cut corners. And I’m afraid it’s the workers that, you know, they take the risk with. Most of these injuries could have been avoided if employers had implemented proper safety procedures, but research has shown that around half of employers have not even done a simple risk assessment which is a legal requirement.
And then we’ve got myth four. “A firemen’s pole has been banned on health and safety grounds.” Right. You know, it makes me laugh because this has got nothing to do with it being a ban, this has to do with planning, okay, and space restrictions. This seems to have arisen from a case in Devon where it was reported that to avoid the risk of injury when sliding down poles a new fire station had not been equipped with a traditional pole. The truth was that the reason why the fire station did not have a pole was because of the space restrictions. There are no regulations banning the use of poles in fire stations.
And then we’ve got, “There are now more regulations and red tape than ever.” There isn’t. In actual fact there were more than twice as many health and safety regulations and laws 35 years ago than there are now. The legislation that remains is now generally simpler and easier to understand. We know what we’ve got to do. And that’s what these webinars of for, to let you know what you’ve got to do.
Myth six. “A local authority ordered the removal of a St Georges’ flag from outside shops on safety grounds.” Well, the truth with is, the story originated in Liverpool. However Liverpool Council did not dance St Georges’ flags. We’d have uproar, won’t we, and riots. Or ask anyone to remove them. It did require one shopkeeper to properly secure flags after one fell onto the windscreen of a car causing an accident.
So, myth seven. “Small businesses are being strangled by overinspection and overregulation.” The average small business is likely to be visited by health and safety inspectors around about once every 20 years. Even larger businesses, except the high hazard ones, are visited on average every ten years. Small businesses are even exempted from some regulations. For instance, while every employer has to do a risk assessment on their staff, if the business has less than five it does not even have to write the assessment down or record it. Hardly a major burden. But remember what I said earlier on, don’t do that, have an accident, and they’ll say, “Why didn’t you do it?” So for me, do it straight away.
Myth eight. “Trapeze artists will be forced to wear hard hats.” Well, this kills it doesn’t it? This story has appeared several times over the past few years. Sometimes the ban is blamed on European legislation, other times on the new Work at Height Regulations. The claim is that these regulations will require trapeze artist to wear hard hats. I hardly think that’s going to save them, do you?, when they’re working, when they’re actually, well, they are working at heights, it’s hardly going to protect their body is it?
This is of course complete nonsense. The reason that hard hats are worn is to prevent people being hit from falling objects. Like a brick, like a spanner, something like that. Not to protect you if you fall. They are completely inappropriate for trapeze artists and there are no regulations or plans for any regulations to introduce them. Maybe a related story is that the Work at Height Regulations would mean that safety signs would have to be erected on the side of Snowdon. Again there is no truth in this. People make things up, don’t they?
So then we’ve got, “Health and safety regulations have fueled a huge rise in compensation claims.” The Truth. The number of civil claims for compensation against employers as a result of accidents has fallen every year for the past five years. In fact despite the introduction of no-win-no-fee claims the total cost of compensation cases in Britain has remained, in real terms, static since 1989. Britain also pays out much less in civil compensation, as a portion of its economy, than any other major European country apart from Denmark, and a third of that of the USA.
And the final myth that we’re going to crunch is, “A church spent £1,300 to change their light bulbs because of health and safety regulations.” Let’s look into this. The church in question was St Benet’s in Norfolk. It’s reported that because of new health and safety regulations electricians now have to put a scaffolding every time they wanted to change a bulb. But you know what, in actual fact the electricians were not just changing light bulbs but replacing all the light fittings. The contractor said that the use of scaffolding was standard practice and nothing to do with any new regulations. Have you ever tried standing on a ladder, or even standing on a chair at home putting a light bulb in? Your neck hurts doesn’t it? It’s better on scaffolding.
So health and safety. Do you need a health and safety policy? What I’ve done here, is I’ve answered this and I’ve put the writing there in front of you because I know later on, you’ve tried to take notes. It’s impossible on a webinar to take notes, so I always make these webinar slides available later on on YouTube with the recording. And I pile as much information into them as possible, so you’re not taking lots of notes.
You must have a written health and safety policy if you employ five or more members of staff. It is a legal requirement and is there to establish what arrangements you have in place to manage the health and safety welfare of your employees. Without a written policy it will be difficult to prove you have not been negligent and managing health and safety risks involved with your business and in the case of an accident this could lead to large fines and/or imprisonment.
As an employer, you must assess and manage health and safety risks whether you are large/small or self-employed. Accident and ill-health can ruin lives and damage your business. You are not expected to eliminate all risk, but you’re required to protect people so far as is – in brackets – reasonably practicable.
Do you have an employee health and safety handbook? Well, to ensure your employees fully understand their responsibilities in specific safety rules applying to them you should provide a handbook or rulebook advising all of your employees of the safety arrangements you have in place to protect those who may be affected by your operations.
It is vital that everyone is aware of their individual responsibility. And it can be different within different sections of your company. Particularly where a legal duty has been delegated to them. An employee health and safety handbook is an important tool ensuring everybody has this awareness. It is also advisable to make sure that every employee signs to say they have read and understood it.
So how often should I review my documentation? I mentioned this earlier on. You should revise your policy as often as is appropriate. It is recommended that this should be carried out at least annually. There are many issues which may affect your safety policy, which could result in the need to review the detail more often than annually. For example, a change in operations or a move of premises. Or even restructure and reorganisation within the premises. New equipment in use within your organisation. Or new legislation or guidance relevant to your business operations.
One thing we do at Peninsula, we get to know if something’s been banned, if something’s been changed, and straight away, we let all our health and safety clients know that have that piece of machinery or equipment, that they shouldn’t be using it, or there’s caution. So we do let people know straight away.
Risk assessments. If you run a business, however large or small, you must carry out a careful examination of what activities you undertake that may pose a hazard to others. You need to examine the work you undertake, how it is carried out and whether or not this could harm. You need to establish what, if any, controls are required to reduce the risk and what if anything else you could do to reduce any potential for accident or incident.
What about how often you would do the risk assessments? Again, it would be when you’ve got a change, as before, when you review your risk assessments, it’s business change, process, it might be change in management, even. Accident, technology; these are reasons that wherever possible you should carry out the risk assessment before the job is started, or before a piece of equipment or machinery becomes operational, or if a person who is particularly vulnerable is employed. For example, like a young worker, a new or expectant mother, or a trainee or an apprentice, okay?
Inductions. Why do we do inductions and why should you do them? An induction is a process used by employers to help new starters to integrate into a new role, company, new surroundings, to make aware of processes, procedures, training, rules and safety in the workplace. And let’s then get familiarised with the way you work and what you’ve got in place, and to embrace the training that you offer. These can take different times for different sized companies.
So employers are legally required to provide health and safety information, inductions usually cover facilities, health and safety information, training, fire safety information, duties, structure, introduction, terms and conditions, rules and regulations and even a company overview. And then we spoke about visitors and contractors earlier on, but remember employers have a duty of care to ensure so far as is, again, in brackets, reasonably practicable, the Health, Safety and Welfare of their employees at work which also includes the visitors and contractors.
We spoke about the visitors’ book earlier on, and you might want to introduce a contractor’s policy. A contractor is someone brought on the premises, as I explained earlier, to work, that is not an employee. In a client/contractor relationship, both parties will have duties under health and safety law. The extent of the responsibility of each party depends on the circumstances and the agreements in place. As I said, the contract, you then get them to sign to say that you delegate their health and safety to them and you’ve checked everything in place.
And then there’s training. This is just one of four elements of section 2 (3) of the Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974. The three remaining being information, instruction and supervision. Any employer or providing these four elements will be fulfilling, and I say that, fulfilling a major part of their health and safety requirements. The importance and value and training cannot be over emphasised. Employers need to be fully aware of their responsibilities relating to health and safety, not just themselves, but fellow colleagues.
Training should be constant to allow for changes. All staff training should be recorded in the company safety records. Staff should be required to sign to indicate they received the training and they understood it. Review all the time the health and safety training needs of employees and to ensure they are competent for the task they are required to perform.
And then we come to fire risk assessments. Well, you must be aware of this now because the change did happen on 1st of October, 2006. Gosh. D’you know what? It only seemed like it happened a couple of years ago. The Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005 came into force. And as a main requirement a responsible person must carry out a fire risk assessment to determine what general fire precautionary measures are necessary to protect relevant people.
In more complex buildings with intricate escape arrangements, large numbers of the people or high operational fire risk processes, a more comprehensive fire risk assessment may be necessary with professional assistance. Remember, it is a live document and should be kept abreast of building changes. Remember that. Reporting accidents. All accidents must be recorded in a Data Protection Act compliant accident book. This is followed by why the accident occurred and any corrective actions required to ensure that there is no recurrence.
Some accidents will also need to be reported to the Health and Safety Executive under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrence Regulations. That’s RIDDOR. You may have heard of RIDDOR. A simple breakdown of these are deaths, major injuries that result in over three days’ absence from work. These regulations also list a number of diseases and dangerous occurrences that must also be reported to the Health and Safety Executive.
So do you or not issue personal protective clothing? Well, to ensure compliance with current health and safety legislation, protective clothing should only be supplied and used at work wherever there are risks to health and safety they cannot be adequately controlled in other ways. PPE that is required should be identified with a risk assessment completed for the task being undertaken.
When PPE is established as the only effective this means of controlling the risk of injury or ill-health, as a result of comprehensive risk assessment, legislation states that it should be available free of charge. I said that loud, for use at work. Because people ask me, “I make them pay for it.” No you shouldn’t. If it’s been established through the risk assessment, you should be paying for it. Where, for good hygiene reasons, PPE should be issued to each individual employee for their exclusive use should this be the case.
This would apply to gloves, earplugs, etcetera. All reasonable steps should be taken by the employer to ensure that PPE is properly used, maintained and stored in a proper manner.
And then hazardous substances. There are specific hazardous substances legislation requires employers to identify all these substances. This is chemical products containing chemicals, fumes, dust, vapours, mists, gases and biological agents and germs, that are linked to their undertaking and carry out an assessment of the health risk associated with exposure to the substance. Once the assessment has been carried out, communicate the findings and control measures that are specific to that product.
Remember, I’m giving you an overview here today. So I’m trying to pile as much information as I can into this health and safety webinar and making sure that you’re aware that you are compliant and what to look at.
And now we come to your insurance. I know I meet people that don’t actually even have insurance in place because it’s one of the things they stop paying when things are tough. The importance of Employer’s Liability Insurance, nearly all companies that employ other people are obliged by law to have Employer’s Liability Insurance. Don’t ever throw the insurance certificate away because you might have a claim on an accident that happened 10, 15 years ago. But there won’t be a claim on the insurance that’s in place now, there will be a claim on the insurance that was in place 10 or 15 years ago. That is why you’ve got to keep your insurance certificate.
This protects their employees against the hardship caused by any injury or disease that they suffered resulting from their employment. The Employer’s Liability, that’s the Compulsory Insurance Act of 1969, demands that an employer has insurance that covers against such claims. This helps your employees, but also protects your business from the expenses related to serious accidents or illnesses. And the importance of Employer’s Liability Insurance. The Health and Safety Executive enforces the law of Employer’s Liability Insurance. And the Health and Safety Executive inspectors can check that you have Employer’s Liability Insurance with an improved insure for at least £5 million. They may ask to see a certificate of insurance and other insurance details. You can be fined up to two and a half grand for any day which you are without suitable insurance. If you do not display the certificate of insurance or refuse to make it available to health and safety inspector is when they ask, you can be fined up to £1,000.
So the cost of accidents in the workplace. Failing to establish and implement good health and safety policies and procedures can be an expensive mistake. The illnesses and accidents you risk are more than any direct costs to the company alone. There are uninsured costs like investigation time, overtime payments, production delay, loss of contracts, loss of business contacts, sick pay, access on any claim, legal time, your reputation, and damage to tools and equipment. That’s the cost of accidents in the workplace.
So here’s your top own goals, okay? This is what I want you to do. This is where lots of people go wrong. Ambiguity over the identity of the competent person and their role. Not knowing who your competent people are when asked, and the person not knowing they are your competent person, and maybe not having a job description that actually reflects that.
Number nine, directors/owners failing to supervise/follow-up on the implementation of their health and safety management system.
Number eight, failure to act upon earlier recommendations and Notices.
Number seven, failure to follow readily available and easily accessible guidance.
Number six, employees acting outside their training/instructional skill set.
Tolerance of unsafe working practices comes in at number five.
Number four, incomplete personnel files and lack of formality. So no induction, no contract documentation, no rules, etcetera, or not being readily available when people ask.
Number three, inadequate training records for staff, or not being able to provide them.
Number two, failure to consult with employees in the preparation, implementation, and provision of risk assessments.
And number one, risk assessments neither suitable nor sufficient or not doing them.
You’re familiar with this poster – it’s changed; there’s a new poster. It’s user-friendly, the old one expires and it’s expiring this year. The other one is now reader friendly and user-friendly and explains what employers must do for you, what you must do as an employee, and if there is a problem, as well. It includes fire safety and employment rights, now.
So the Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order of October 2006; this is so important. The fire officer no longer visits, or inspects, or certificates unless specific law. You need a fire risk assessment. You must have one as the employer and it could also apply to the managing agent leasing you the premises and the landlord or owner.
Measures to be adopted include undertaking a fire risk assessment, developing a procedure, and providing a means of detection through alarm or control, and managing the fire procedure and control ensuring that employees are also trained with fire risk assessment. So what they do when it’s an evacuation. And again, reflected in the visitors’ book.
So, reverse burden of proof applies to this; they’re looking for fire safety log book, and it contains alarm test records, training records, enforcing authority visit records, equipment test and maintenance records, checking fire alarms, checking fire extinguishers, spray equipment, and periodic fire procedure check, and safety equipment checks. That should all be in your fire safety log book.
The responsible person must carry out a fire risk assessment. The responsible person is the employer, or the person in control of the premises, or the owner of the premises.
Now we come to Fee for Intervention, you might have heard this FFI, rationale. What happens is the Health and Safety Executive, the HSE, implements cost recovery scheme and it came into force on the 1st October 2012. Duty upon the Health and Safety Executive to recover the costs of its interventions under the Health and Safety Working Act 1974. Interventions arise when an inspector considers it necessary to provide written advice on a material breach or to serve a notice following a visit.
From the Health and Safety Executive’s perspective, between a quarter and a third of all inspections that’s coming out and seeing you have resulted in a Fee for Intervention charge. Over 1,400 invoices sent out, and that’s out of date, though statistics now. And over 700,000, again, out of date, in the first two months, now 2.6 million recovered. That’s an average of £500 bill per employee that they visit that has a charge put on them.
And David Ashton, the Health and Safety Executive’s Director of Build Operations said, “The money is really coming in.” So it’s working. The Fee for Intervention, the scope, the costs are recoverable from the start of the intervention, until when the breach giving rise to the advice/notice has been remedied. Costs include, just writing letters and reports, preparing and serving notices, follow-up work to ensure compliance, taking statements, specialist assistance and research, gathering information and evidence, assessing the findings, and reviewing investigations.
So the practical points. The charging rate is £124 per hour; businesses are to be invoiced monthly, and it’s payable within 30 days, queries and dispute resolution and appeals procedure, and does not currently extend to local authority interventions. Interventions resulting in a letter is £750, interventions resulting in a notice: £1,500. That’s what you’re looking at if you don’t abide with health and safety and get things in place.
These are the industry types at the moment are being targeted. You can see we’ve got education, manufacturing, warehouse scene, counsel, motor vehicle, printing, recycling, public services, and health and social care services, and removal companies, just to name a few there.
So, protect your business and integrity of your insurance, and at this time, now, I’m actually going to show you another video that I think you’ll find really, really interesting. I’m about to play it now. And then we have got one final slide, and then we’ll finish today’s webinar.
Managing health and safety doesn’t have to be scary, hard work, complicated, time consuming. It really comes as easily as one, two, three. As an employer and business owner, there are a number of responsibilities and legal obligations that you have to meet. If you’re not meeting these responsibilities, you could be exposing your business and employees to unnecessary risk. Please take a minute to ask yourself these three quick questions.
Question one: do you honestly know what you’re health and safety responsibilities are over the next 12 months?
Question two: do you have the correct documentation in place to demonstrate that these obligations are being met?
Question three: do you have the health and safety qualifications within your business to ensure that you are getting things right?
If the answer to any of these is no, then we have the perfect solution for you. Business Safe 123, our new service that is designed to keep safety in the workplace easy. For as little as £59 per month we will provide you with the following.
Number one, SafeCheck. One of our experienced business aid consultants will visit your premises and work with you to identify your key health and safety responsibilities and more importantly, bespoke them to your business and your practices. We will then produce an evaluation report and action plan summarising the findings and to get you started. So great, you now know your legal obligations for safety in your workplace.
Number two. Responsibilities Planner. Following your site visit your Business Safe 123 consultant will prepare a Responsibilities Planner. We will walk you through your key responsibilities and explain how they should be managed and the frequency which they should be completed. Using Business Safe 123 online, you will be reminded when your responsibilities are due, and also prompted to record your supporting evidence. You now have the tools at your fingertips to understand and demonstrate that your responsibilities are being met.
Number three. Advice and Support. To help you keep on track, one of our dedicated Business Safe 123 account managers can monitor your actions to the Business Safe online, and will support you by calling key milestones. It doesn’t end there, you will have full access to our Business Safe Advice Line, where a team of qualified advisors can answer any queries you may have relating to safety in your workplace. And remember, this service is available 24/7.
Fantastic. You now have full peace of mind, with a dedicated account manager you will never struggle or forget to manage your responsibilities, as we are there to hold your hand through the whole process.
If you would like to hear more about this great new service, please call us on 0844 892 4249. A member of our Business Safe 123 team are happy to provide initial complimentary advice and it requires a no-obligation assessment of your current arrangements. Business Safe 123 starts from as little as £59 per month. A small price for complete peace of mind.
So don’t forget, if you’re interested in the Business Safe service, I think it’s easier just to text 123 to 60777. But just to let you know, thank you very much for listening to my webinar today. I hope you found it interesting. I hope that you’ve learned a little bit about health and safety.
If you are a Peninsula client, you’ve got our Employment Law Service, and you want to know more about the Business Safe 123, get in contact with me, and you can either text in or actually email me, email@example.com.
Always quote webinar number 40 in any correspondence, and I really hope that you’ve enjoyed today’s webinar. Thank you very much for listening to me. I hope to speak to you again soon.
Tomorrow’s webinar is on dealing with mental health issues within the workplace. And don’t forget to look out for the absenteeism/sickness one that we’re doing shortly, and also the one on lone workers. Thank you very much for listening to me and I hope to speak to you again soon. And it’s goodbye from me.