Use Risk Assessments to Avoid Prosecution

A company has been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive this week after they failed to ensure the safety of their employees. Despite no accidents occurring the firm, Oxfordshire Ales were prosecuted by the HSE after they failed to improve the safety at their plant. This involved dangerous work at height issues and problems with the manual handling undertaken by the employees. All of these problems could have been easily solved with the help of health and safety training.

There are many courses that would have benefited the company. After the firm was handed the improvement notices they could have addressed each issue and avoided prosecution. Training is readily available to help managers and supervisors learn how to conduct risk assessments. The risk assessments could then have been carried out on both of the areas where the HSE believed the company was failing.

All Problems Could Have Been Solved with Risk Assessments

Working at height has its own regulations. Any problems with this type of work need to be sorted out. Falls from height are responsible for thousands of injuries at work and is a main contributor to the fatality figures. Performing a risk assessment can highlight what the problems are, who they put at risk and then provide you with the information you need to make adequate changes to reduce those risks. The risk assessments could have then been applied to manual handling.

At Oxfordshire Ales the workers were responsible for lifting and moving heavy sacks full of barley and hops. The movement was awkward and this posed problems for each person and could have resulted in serious injuries.

The HSE wanted the brewery to perform a risk assessment in order to solve all the problems and reduce the hazards, yet the brewery did not take the necessary action. Therefore, the company was taken to court where they were fined £6,000 for breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Work at Height Regulations. On top of the fine the firm also have to pay £8,623 in court costs.

The cost of sending your employees on health and safety courses is nothing compared to legal fees and fines. Don't risk it, book your place on a course.

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