Legislation – Severn Valley Business Group
 

Tag: Legislation

Accidents & Ill Health; It pays to know the facts

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Each year employee accidents and ill-health cost British employers an estimated £3.9 billion to £7.8 billion, of which £910 million to £3,710 million comes from accidental damage to property and equipment.

It’s often assumed that insurance will cover any financial losses. But policies generally fall short when it comes to costs involved in the general day to day running of a business. The shortfall can be startling:
• Uninsured losses are ten times the cost of insurance premiums paid. (Source: HSE)
• Uninsured losses from accidents in smaller firms add up to £315 per employee, per year. (Source: Norwich Union Risk Services)

Other cost implications that are often overlooked include:
• Dealing with the incident – Immediate action means downtime for the injured person and anyone assisting. Time spent administering first aid treatment, a hospital referral or home rest, all result in downtime. Making the area safe and making machinery serviceable are more costs for which the business is accountable.
• Investigation of the incident – Time spent reporting the incident, holding meetings to discuss it and investigating it internally are the first step. Then time spent with an HSE, or Local Authority inspector and external consultants’ fees to assist with the investigation can rapidly accumulate into hidden costs.
• Getting back to business – Rescheduling work, recovering production, repairing damage and cleaning the site are inconveniences which slow production and reduce efficiency. Hiring replacement tools, people and equipment might also be required.
• Business costs – Absentee costs are deceptive. Besides the salary of the injured worker, a combination of replacement staff salaries, lost time, reduced productivity and quality add to escalating costs. Training new or temporary staff, overtime and contract.
• Increased insurance costs – higher premiums following an incident, cost associated with conditions being applied in order to gain cover.

It pays to fulfill your legal obligations with regard to Health & Safety, this way you reduce the chances of having a claim refused and all the additional costs listed above, which will probably include the cost of fulfilling those obligations in the first place. So why pay twice?

For assistance contact us at www.anchorhands.co.uk

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Assessment

Good health and safety at work is important not only in human terms, to help reduce workers’ pain and suffering. It is also a way of ensuring that enterprises are successful and sustainable, and that economies thrive in the long term.
For most enterprises, simple cost benefit analysis will not be necessary or appropriate in this area. Businesses have moral Occupational Health & Safety obligations, as well as legal and financial ones. It is impossible to quantify costs such as suffering in monetary terms.
Nevertheless, there are quantifiable costs and benefits involved in OSH, which businesses should be aware of.

Getting Health & Safety Right!
For enterprises, good Health & Safety helps to:
• enhance ‘brand image’ and ‘brand value’ as a socially responsible business (which may affect investors’ decisions)
• reduce absences and increase the productivity of workers
• increase motivation and the commitment of employees to the business
• reduce business costs, such as insurance premiums, and business disruption
• enable enterprises to meet and exceed customer expectations.

Getting Health & Safety Wrong!

If businesses get Health & Safety wrong, the costs of accidents and ill-health can be substantial.
For the individual, there are the costs of care, loss of earnings etc.
For businesses, disruption, claims for damages, loss of goodwill and loss of confidence in management can sometimes lead to total collapse. For small companies particularly, occupational accidents can have a major financial impact.

So Why Invest in Health & Safety?

Research shows that investing in Health & Safety leads to better company performance.
A good working environment is good business.

All workers have a right to work in places where risks to their health and safety are properly controlled.

Health and safety is about stopping them getting hurt at work or ill through work.

What employers must do for employees

Decide what could harm them in their job and the precautions to stop it. This is part of risk assessment.

In a way they can understand, explain how risks will be controlled and tell them who is responsible for this.

Consult and work with them and their health and safety representatives in protecting everyone from harm in the workplace.

Free of charge, give them the health and safety training they need to do their job.

Free of charge, provide them with any equipment and protective clothing they need, and ensure it is properly looked after.

Provide toilets, washing facilities and drinking water.

Provide adequate first-aid facilities.

Report injuries, diseases and dangerous incidents at work to the HSE

Have insurance that covers them in case they get hurt at work or ill through work.

Display a hard copy or electronic copy of the current insurance certificate where they can easily read it.

Work with any other employers or contractors sharing the workplace or providing employees (such as agency workers), so that everyone’s health and safety is protected.

What employees must do

Follow the training they have received when using any work items the employer has given them.

Take reasonable care of their own and other people’s health and safety.

Co-operate with their employer on health and safety.

Tell someone (their employer, supervisor, or health and safety representative) if they think the work or inadequate precautions are putting anyone’s health and safety at serious risk.
If you would like to discuss how to improve the health and safety of your business then please feel free to contact us via our website www.anchorhands.co.uk

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Get your H&S in order

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As a new calendar year approaches, it’s time to get your Health & Safety in order. All businesses, companies and organisations will benefit from having a simple yet robust system in place to assess, control and monitor their health and safety issues. If you employ 5 or more people (employ does not necessarily mean pay, volunteers count as employed) then you are legally bound to produce a written health and safety policy, with the necessary procedures in place to make it happen, that said there is no reason why you shouldn’t have the same even if you employ less than 5 people.

If you own or operate premises then you must carry out a fire risk assessment of those premises, again if you employ 5 or more people then this assessment must be formally written. A fire risk assessment will drive out any necessary actions to make the premises in which you work, safe from fire. This will include housekeeping, training and maintenance items such as servicing of extinguishers and testing of electrical appliances.

In both cases above, it is essential that once produced these documents are reviewed whenever there are any changes, which affect either the building or your work practices, or at least annually.

It may be that you already have procedures in place that might benefit from being given a review by a third party, or you might like to have an independent eye check that your systems are being operated correctly, either way now is the time to make sure that your health and safety is given the attention it needs to ensure that everyone you are responsible for, is kept safe.

For more information or advice please contact us via www.anchorhands.co.uk

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Health & Safety Management Systems – Why Bother?

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When someone uses the phrase “management system” it conjures up an image of an office full of clerks, busy filling in endless reams of paper, without anyone actually knowing what the end result is. This does not need to be the way, especially when it comes to health and safety, the object of the exercise is to have a system that works for your needs, one that not only gives you results but also achieves its objectives of keeping you and everyone else safe. 

A health and safety management system can be as simple as a one page set of tick boxes, to make sure you haven’t forgotten something important, right up to an OHSAS 18001 system which not only controls everything you do with health and safety, but can be audited to an international standard as well as demonstrating that you are working to best practice. The important thing is that the system should do what you want or need it to do, it should not create procedures for the sake of it and should be clear in its results and observations.  

Given that a health and safety management system can be simple, certainly shouldn’t be excessive and will produce clear results, what will we gain from having one and how much is it going to cost? There are some very simple answers to these questions:

 What will we gain? 

A safer working environment, Less absenteeism, Increased production, Happier workforce,  Customer recognition, Peer recognition, Mitigation against legal costs, Defence against legislation breeches, Lower insurance costs &  Access to additional work opportunities.  

How much will it cost? 

Debit:  

Producing the system, Necessary capital expenditure (guarding etc), Training costs of personnel,  Monitoring & auditing

  Credit: 

Less absenteeism, Increased production, Lower legal costs, Lower insurance costs, Mitigation against fines and claims, Maintenance of company reputation, Increased tendering opportunity

 

Taking all of the above, together with many more benefits, it can be seen that the reasons we bother are simple, a well produced health and safety management system will help you keep all around you safe thus avoiding absenteeism, lost production and legal claims against you, it will help you comply with current legislation avoiding legal costs, it will demonstrate to customers and your peers, that you are a company they would like to do business with, it can help keep your insurance costs down, maybe even reducing them and it could provide the conditions that will allow you to access many other tendering opportunities.

 So, why bother? 

Increased profitability

 Increased reputation and profile 

 Happier, more productive workforce

Increased work opportunities

Legal compliance

Because it’s the right thing to do!

 If you would like to know more about how effective a health and safety management system can be or to discuss any other matters relating to health and safety, then please contact us via our website at www.anchorhands.co.uk

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Risk and your business

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Here we will be looking at the physical risks that need to be accounted for within any business planning, but hopefully will cover the general areas necessary to give you an idea of what to look out for.

Before we move on let’s be clear what we are talking about.

   What is Risk?                                           

“Risk is the likelihood of a body or event to cause harm.”

This should not be  confused with Hazard.         

 What is Hazard?            

“Hazard is the ability of a body or event to cause harm.”

From this we can see that in order to reduce the risks to our businesses we need to remove, reduce or protect against the hazards we come across. The way we do this is by carrying out a Risk Assessment

 There are five steps to carrying out any risk assessment.

 Step 1: Identify and record the hazards that are present, these fall broadly into five categories

Physical: such as pressure, heat, damp, noise, radiation and electricity

Chemical: such as dusts, fumes, chemicals, toxic materials and gases

Biological: such as infections, viruses and contagions

Ergonomic: work conditions, stress, RSI and man-machine interaction

The fifth one we’ll come back to as it’s covered under specific legislation

 Step 2: Identify the people that may be affected by the hazard

Paying particular attention to those groups that may be especially vulnerable such as the elderly, blind, young and disabled.

At this point it is possible to rank the severity of the risk, giving it a more tangible identity

 Step 3: Remove, reduce the severity or Protect against, the Hazard.

The preference here is always to remove the hazard completely (rearrange items to avoid trips and impacts), if this cannot be done then reduce the severity of the hazard (use low voltage equipment or less aggressive chemicals) and as a last resort protect against the hazard (provide warnings or personal protective equipment).

Once again assuming that all the measures have been put into place, it will be possible to rank the severity of the residual risks. You can then establish whether the remaining risks are acceptable or if they need further action.

 Step 4: Record, Plan, Inform and Train            

Record the significant findings from steps 1 to 3 and what actions have or need to be taken as a result.

Prepare any plans or procedures that may be required in order to facilitate the actions

Inform and instruct all relevant people, co-operate with all concerned.

Provide any necessary training that may be required as a result of the assessment.

 Step 5: Review

Having carried out the assessments they must be kept relevant, which means that they should be reviewed on a regular basis or when conditions change (such as work practices, new technology, legislation or results of monitoring)

Remember any revisions to the assessments must be communicated to those that need to know the results of those revisions.

 Why have we gone to the trouble of doing these risk assessments and putting whatever precautions in place, is it because of our genuine concern for our fellow workers safety, is it because it makes financial sense to do it or is it our legal duty?

 The answer is all of the above!

 From a humanitarian and moral point of view, we do not want to cause or allow to be caused, harm to anybody

  1. Research shows that investing in risk reduction leads to better company performance.
  2. A good working environment is good business.
  3. Staff feel that they are valued.
  4. Your customers see a company that does it right and cares.
  5. You avoid costs associated with disruption, sickness, investigation, down time, compensation claims, increased insurance premiums and loss of goodwill
  6. And for those companies that cannot see the benefit, there are legal requirements, with quite hefty penalties for non compliance

 Remember under step 1 of the risk assessment we said there was a fifth hazard, which was covered under its own legislation, this is Fire!

 Potentially this one can be the most destructive, obviously to your staff, the public and visitors, but also to a business and as such should be carried out by a competent person.

 If your stock and premises are all destroyed, how are you going to trade?

 This is why in March 2006 the “Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005” came into force, making it the responsibility of all owners or occupiers of commercial properties, to carry out a Fire Risk Assessment of those premises and put into action any necessary precautions and planning, specific to those risks.

 For the purpose of the legislation “Commercial” means anything non-domestic, so that includes churches, schools, libraries etc. In fact only military and some government buildings are exempt.

 When we carry out our Fire Risk Assessment it’s worth remembering how fire works, for this we use the fire triangle.

  Fire needs 3 elements to exist firstly Fuel (flammable gases, flammable liquids or flammable solids. Secondly Oxygen (The air around us, oxidizing agents and stored oxygen) and finally Ignition (Naked flame, faulty electrical appliances, hot processes and hot machinery)… Remove any one of these and the fire goes out.

 We have seen that there are many types of hazards and therefore risks, surrounding our businesses, it is essential then that we Eliminate these risks, if we cannot do this, then we should Reduce the effect of them, and finally Protect against any residual risk.

 Remember none of this will work if we do not communicate your findings and plans to those who may be affected.

 This way our businesses should be safe environments in which to work, be protected from the disruption and costs that incidents can bring and demonstrate to others that we are responsible and considerate business people.

All of this has to be a cost effective  benefit to all of our businesses, a benefit which you can take to the bank!

 

If you would like more information, then please contact us via www.anchorhands.co.uk

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