The court of appeal has rejected a challenge against a six figure fine issued after an employee was seriously injured when his skull was crushed by a by a reversing lorry at a parcel depot in London. The company were prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in 2010 after investigations revealed that there had been widespread failure of the companies’ health and safety procedures since 2007. This included inadequate induction training for new staff, the absence of a safe working procedure and an insufficient risk assessment for the activity. The court of appeal concluded that the risk of serious injury was ‘not just foreseeable but obvious’ and that the company fell ‘far below’ their duty of care. The court also recognised that responsibility for the breach was not just with the managers of the site but ‘reached at least regional level’ and in their view also ‘permeated head office, where ultimate responsibility for the implementation of an appropriate health and safety policy rested’.
This case demonstrates the level of seriousness with which the court views health and safety offences and highlights the importance of a health and safety culture which starts at head office. Health and safety is not just the responsibility of the person unlucky enough to have been made health and safety rep, it is the responsibility of everyone within an organisation, starting at the top and working its way down. We understand how difficult this can be in a multisite business where the managing director has many things to keep track of, that’s why we developed our Compliance Centre. Within our Compliance Centre, businesses can manage all their compliance needs centrally. By utilising a variety of Apps, businesses can receive automated alerts and notifications, when things need to be done, access compliance forms, policies and audits. Our Apps also allow businesses to set and prioritise tasks, flag certificate renewal dates and training needs, across multiple locations.
Risk assessments are an essential element of health and safety and when completed correctly act to protect employees from risks to their health and safety and employers from hefty fines and even prison sentences. There are many myths about health and safety which have resulted in a misunderstanding of what is required by law. At Shieldyourself we work with clients to develop risk assessments which are specific to their business, we also run training courses which provide employers with the skills to write and tailor risk assessments to suit their needs.
So if reading this makes you realise that health and safety within your organisation falls well below what is expected and you are not sure what is required of you or how you will achieve it, give the team at Shieldyourself a call and see how we can help!