The Health and Safety Executive – who are they and what do they mean to you?

Taking the correct measures to make your workplace or site safe is crucial, as failure to do this could leave you open to intervention from the Health and Safety Executive.

What Is The Health And Safety Executive?

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are a government appointed regulator whose primary aim is to present injury, ill health and death in Britain’s work force. They are able to visit businesses unannounced and conduct random spot checks to make sure that your workplace is compliant with regulation. If a breach is discovered they can charge £124 per hour for a Fee For Intervention until they have concluded any necessary intervention, at potentially great financial cost to the businesses they are investigating. If offenders do not take steps to become compliant, the HSE can prosecute, leading to fines and even jail time.

The HSE monitor all businesses in the UK but due to the nature of their operations, agricultural businesses have a lot more to bear in mind than most. Construction has one of the highest levels of fatalities and injury a year with 30 fatalities in 2018/2019 alone. Though the HSE understands that there are no steps that can be taken to completely eliminate risk, it will come down firmly on businesses and individuals it feels have been careless in their approach to health and safety.

Accidents (And Fines) Are Common

According the HSE’s records, a Sheffield construction company has recently been sentenced for safety breaches after a self-employed general builder fell seven metres onto a concrete floor at a site in Sheffield. The company had not completed any risk assessments or method statements or construction phase plan for this works, and operatives on the site were also not trained in work at height. They were fined over £30,000 and order to pay over £1,300 in costs.

Similarly, an Electrical Contractor from Aberdeen was fined over £24,000 after failing to put in place suitable and sufficient measures to prevent persons from falling into uncovered floor hatches that had been used throughout the course of their work. As a consequence of this failure the resident of the property and her brother-in-law fell into one of the uncovered floor hatches and both sustained injuries.

Take Action To Protect Your Employees And Your Business

As you can see, it’s not simply a blatant disregard for regulation that can land employers in trouble but sometimes simply basic oversight and a stroke of particularly bad luck. As such, it’s not only vital that you take every precaution to avoid placing your employees in dangerous situations but also that you take out insurance coverage that protects you, especially if you work in a potentially ‘high risk’ industry.

With the right insurance in place, you could be covered not only from the costs of defending claims made against you by employees or the HSE, but also potentially from any fines or compensation payments you may have to make. If you want help identifying insurance cover that could provide you with robust protection, simply talk to us about your business and we’ll help you find the cover you need.