A recent survey of more than 15,000 businesses by the Department for Business Innovation & Skills showed that SMEs considered health & safety their biggest regulatory headache and the most substantial obstacle to their success. As business owners, we’re sensible people. We understand why safety in the work environment is not only important but essential. We know that if we don’t provide a safe working environment for our employees and for those who use our facilities, the consequences can be devastating. We read the newspapers; we’ve seen the stories. Even something as seemingly innocuous as a poorly attached mirror in a shop can lead to the most terrible of tragedies. New penalties Financial penalties rose sharply from February 2016 with the introduction of new sentencing guidelines; the aim was to try to ensure employers take greater care and undertake their responsibilities more seriously. The guidelines have certainly been implemented; in 2016 there were 19 fines of £1 million or more, with the average fine coming in at £211,000. A fatality or a serious accident now doesn’t have to occur at a workplace under the new guidelines for considerable penalties to kick in. If a company has failed in its health & safety obligations by simply putting people at a substantial risk of death or injury, then large fines will result. Also, the sentencing guidelines have lowered the threshold for custodial sentences for serious health & safety breaches. Getting it right It’s vital, as employers, that we get it right. It’s never been as important to know how compliant you are with H&S requirements and to make sure you’ve got the right processes in place. Compliance costs aren’t rising steeply but the penalties are. Often, the only way many companies find out they aren’t compliant is when they either have an accident or receive an enforcement visit, by which time it’s often too late and the damage is done. At Peninsula, as you know, we’ve spent 30 years advising our members on their business safety; we’re the experts in this field. Business health check We’ve recently introduced a new service, the SafeCheck Review, which is a health check for your business on how compliant you are, looking at any areas that need improvements or changes, with on the spot advice and a full report afterwards. It costs between £295 and £395 depending on the size of your business, which won’t break the bank. Do yourself a favour and get us in to take a look. It takes up very little of your management time, is cost effective and will help alleviate that H&S regulation headache. The consequences of not being compliant are simply not worth the risk. Give us a call on 0800 028 2420 and we’ll fill you in on the details.