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Written by
on 07 March 2014

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Health and Safety Executive and ServicesWhat Resources Have Businesses set aside for Safety Measures?

The question business owners need to be asking themselves today is whether the safety measures they have put in place at their premises are effective or a mere waste of time and money. A survey by Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has revealed that small firms are mistakenly taking pointless and sometimes bizarre actions in trying to comply with health and safety regulations.

The HSE Survey has revealed…

Driven by fear, small firms are going to bizarre lengths to stay on the safe side. HSE surveyed 45 Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) on the approaches they take to health and safety. One business was found to have done a complete risk assessment in the use of a tape measure while another wrote down guidelines for walking up stairs. The basis of all this apparent confusion is myths that have been created around health and safety.

The survey has flagged a number of absurd things employers have found themselves doing on advice. 22% of the people surveyed, that is one in five people, believed a specialist consultant had to be brought in to manage health and safety because they considered themselves incapable. 11% believed that electrical appliances such as toasters and kettles must be tested annually and by a qualified electrician. Many SMEs are not even sure if the measures they have taken are appropriate, and others are aware they ought to do something but have no clue where to begin.

Common Risks in the Workplace

The ultimate price in matters of health and safety hazards is life. It’s great news then that most hazards can be prevented, as long as the right precautions are taken. These hazards do not have to come in the form of combustible materials; very ordinary jobs have potential risks as well. A faulty gas pipe can leak carbon monoxide, the silent killer, and cause fatalities. Even a sleep-deprived employee could fall asleep behind the wheel and drive into a concrete wall instead of driving to work.

Common risks at workplaces include chemical and gas exposure, slipping and falling, transportation accidents, toxic poisoning, electrocution, being struck by objects, hearing loss, repetitive motion and ergonomic injuries, and communicable diseases like the cold. Some risks are more likely to happen in some businesses than others. As an employee, you should assess the hazards that can cause the greatest threat to your employees and damage to your business. The next and obvious step after this is mitigation.

Do only what must be done

Employers, especially in the small and medium businesses, should examine their safety standards and guidelines, and do away with those that are unnecessary. This way they can save effort, time, and money.

Health and safety should be about preventing risks of injury and ill-health in the workplace by taking reasonable steps. Any measure that does not make much sense is more likely than not to be completely unnecessary, so listen to your guts. Most of all, through planning of the safety and health measures to run is enough to forestall most risks and setbacks.

About 

David Cant is a Director at Veritas Consulting. The SME’s favourite go-to consultant for health and safety know-how. Bucket loads of experience. Fluent in practical advice. Solutionist with a brain you can pick. You can find him across social media on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.

David Cant is a Director at Veritas Consulting. The SME’s favourite go-to consultant for health and safety know-how. Bucket loads of experience. Fluent in practical advice. Solutionist with a brain you can pick. You can find him across social media on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.

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