9th September Journal Column

Jacksons Law FirmBy Simon Catterall, Partner at Jacksons Law Firm

Last year there were 144 fatalities in the work place, corresponding to a ratio of 0.46 deaths per 100,000 and 43 workers were killed in the construction industry. With a further three per cent of the workforce sustaining a work related injury and another three per cent a work related illness, it is no surprise that Health and Safety has come to the forefront of an industry that has evolved to impose an ever increasing responsibility on employers for the welfare of their staff.

Earlier this year the HSE launched its new, five-year strategy called ‘Helping Great Britain Work Well’. The strategy aims to tackle workplace ill health whilst streamlining legislation and guidance, and enabling businesses, especially SMEs, to take the right actions easily and efficiently.

Six strategic themes identified by the HSE are:

  • Acting together: promoting a broader ownership of Health and safety in the UK.
  • Tackling ill health: the costs of ignoring it to be highlighted.
  • Managing risk well: recognising risks and simplifying risk management.
  • Supporting small employers:
  • Keeping pace with change: anticipating and tackling new health and safety challenges as new technologies emerge.
  • Sharing our success: promoting the benefits of Great Britain’s world-class health and safety system.

 

While the industry safety record has improved massively in the 40 years since the innovative Health and Safety at Work Act (HSWA) 1974, the duty of the employer to constantly analyse and review practices only increases with a surge of new legislation and directions demanding yet further scrutiny or risk sustaining the massively enhanced penalties that came into effect earlier this year.

Many readers will be aware that fines are now proportional to company turnover, the various brackets meaning that both small and large businesses will feel the same profit draining impact. It’s still early days but some recent industry sentences are truly eye watering.

How, then, are businesses to evolve? The HSE perspective is one of increased cooperation i.e. by encouraging employers and employees to work together in a genuinely positive environment complemented by effective and proportionate regulation and risk management, quotecorner.com/ventolin.html, the health and safety system of any business will become more proactive and therefore stronger. This has to be the correct approach with the key lying in not just being aware of one’s responsibilities, but also keeping the whole business health and safety structure under constant review by absorbing and discussing inevitable changes in working practices in a management environment that includes all parties.

Jacksons Law Firm are hosting a seminar to update the construction sector on Health and Safety legislation. The event will take place at Ramside Hall, Durham on 21 September, with key speakers Simon Catterall and Mark Stouph covering topics including, a general review of the last 12 months, how Brexit could impact the industry and recent developments in court sentencing.

If you would like to register your place at this seminar, please contact Lauren Proctor at lauren@cene.org.uk or call 0191 500 7880.