With increasing costs affecting everyone it is important not to reduce the investment in your people and Health & Safety Systems. Your business will become vulnerable and may pay a higher price if an incident occurs such as fines, remedial orders and claims.
Whilst we are all facing a ‘cost of living’ crisis and looking to tighten our belts, it would be a mistake to think that Health and Safety is an area where you can make cuts to save money. Sadly, the discipline only tends to be given high status when accidents occur.
One of the biggest problems with Health and Safety is that an awful lot of work goes on behind the scenes and as it is unseen it can be tempting to think it is not required. It seems that it is always easier for people to justify expenditure when you can see a reward or outcome. Obviously, no accidents would suggest Health and Safety was worth the investment, but all you may hear is, why did we spend that money when we had no accidents! It can be hard for a business to recognise that there were no accidents because money was spent and this is something we remind all our clients frequently. We encourage them to keep investing in their Health and Safety as a preventive measure. It will be far more expensive in the future if spending is reduced now and something goes wrong.
Legally, there are no definitions as to how much a business should spend on Health and Safety. However, in the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 it states that an employer must allocate “reasonable” resources to Health and Safety management. However, what is classed as reasonable is up to the individual employer. What wouldn’t be regarded as reasonable is to cut spending completely. No matter how hard times get, the law requires employers to ensure that the Health and Safety of staff, and any others that may be affected by their actions, aren’t put at risk. If you do make cutbacks, and there’s a serious accident because of your actions, you can expect little sympathy from an inspector or judge.
Although you shouldn’t cut spending altogether, the law doesn’t state that you can’t make savings if you need to. However, if you do go down this route, it’s vital that the control measures identified in your risk assessment are adhered to. For example, if you’ve identified that staff should wear protective footwear, then you can’t state that because money is tight, you’ll overlook the rule.
Here are some areas to consider:
Revisit your Risk Assessments and check that your control measures are appropriate. For example, when you carried out the assessment, you may have taken the decision to make staff wear items of PPE on a “just in case” basis, rather than because the risks were significant enough to justify it. If this is the case, and you have no reason to continue with the rule, then change it.
You may have changed processes, work methods etc. that have reduced the risk, e.g. guards may have been added to machinery. So again, if the risks are lower, you can cut back.
If you do amend your rules, you should update your Risk Assessment documentation to reflect the changes. The new documents should be marked as an update and signed by the author. Staff should be formally briefed on the update.
As with other control measures, if you’ve identified that to be safe an individual must have suitable Health and Safety training, you need to continue with this and update and renew when required.
Instead of having blanket rules for refresher training, it may be more prudent, and in fact safer, to select staff on a risk basis i.e. someone that follows the rules properly and gives you no reason to doubt them is unlikely to benefit from such training, whereas for others you may need to iron out some bad habits. Again, amend your documentation to reflects the changes.
So, if you need to make cutbacks, make sure that in doing so you are not increasing the risks. If you change your control measures, revise your risk assessment documentation accordingly.
ISO 45001 Health and Safety Management Systems
The implementation of ISO 45001 Health and Safety Management Systems are for organisations that are serious about improving employee safety, reducing workplace risks and creating better, safer working conditions.
ISO 45001 is an international Standard for Health and Safety at work developed by national and international standards committees independent of government.
Benefits of certification:
Demonstrate your commitment to safety
Increase government contract opportunities
Prepare for the future
Impress existing clients
Engage your employees
Save on public liability premiums
Win new business
What are the steps to achieving ISO 45001?
This is perhaps the most commonly asked question by companies looking to achieve the ISO 45001 Standard.
Assuming of course, that the company has already reached the decision to go for the Standard, it is probably wise to conduct a little research into the process and see exactly what is required.
- Obtain a copy of the ISO 45001 System Standard (not compulsory) to identify the requirements.
- Complete a preliminary Internal Audit to identify and evaluate how things are done now, versus what you would have to change in order to get certification.
- Implement documentation to meet the requirements of the standard and where necessary train and educate staff. It may be beneficial at this stage to employ the services of a Consultant.
- When all documentation is complete and all relevant clauses of the Standard have been met, application to a UKAS accredited certification body should be made ( see ‘ How do I apply for ISO 45001?’ https://qscconsultancy.co.uk/health-safety-training/iso-45001/
With continued increases in insurance premiums, increased injury claims and spiralling health care costs the question companies need to ask themselves is – can they afford not to implement ISO 45001?
For further information on how we can help your business with any of our Health & Safety Services, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call one of our team on 01889 881887.
Achieving ISO 9001 involves a logical steps starting with a review of the standard against the system you are currently operating and noting strengths and weaknesses. We can help you review this area to build a program of improvements to meet the requirements of ISO 9001:2015.
Achieving ISO14001 does not have to be hard work. With the right approach and with top management commitment we can guide you every step of the way to ensure that your procedures are fully compatible with the requirements of the standard.
QSC Consultancy can offer a full Health & Safety System compliant with ISO 45001 the Occupational Health & Safety Management System. This system will assist you in managing Health & Safety Risks and facilitate legal compliance.
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