It’s 2019, 45 years since the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 was implemented. So what is it that after 45 years we’re still getting wrong?
Health and safety vs. common sense
We think health and safety is JUST common sense – but is it? If it was, surely multi-million pound companies wouldn’t still be getting things wrong and being prosecuted for their negligence?
Perhaps the stereotype that “health and safety has gone mad” is the biggest danger here – way beyond failures of common sense.
Back in my day…
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HASAWA) was introduced in 1974, the period that the older generation might refer to as “back in my day” just before they begin to spout “we didn’t need health and safety, we just didn’t have accidents”.
I’ve got statistics on common sense
Well they’re wrong of course. They did have accidents, plenty of them. Shocking, horrible and often fatal accidents. Which is why the HASAWA was introduced in the first place.
What they didn’t have “in their day” was the same power we have to share important messages. Yes, they took their daily paper, but we can search almost every news publication in the world to look at what’s gone on in a single day and in any given place. When we read something that shocks or interests us we have the power to share it with thousands of people, in just a single click. Health and safety hasn’t gone mad, we just use that cliché as an excuse to make silly, avoidable mistakes.
So now you have the numbers, the irrefutable truth: official statistics from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) show that implementation of the HASAWA has dramatically reduced the number of annual workplace fatalities.
Please think back a little harder!
With all due respect, it may be that those lacking “common sense” – or rather “an awareness of hazards, accident and incident prevention and safe systems of work” – were simply killed off.
HASAWA is there to protect you! Take advantage!
But let’s be kind – it probably wasn’t their awareness of hazards, accident and incident prevention and safe systems of work that failed them. It was more likely the fact that the people at the top of the business – those ordering the new COSHH products, arranging dangerous tasks and duties, those quite often in charge of delivering a wage slip at the end of the month – never once stopped to think “can we do this in a safer way?”. The people most at risk, as so often is the case, were the people most in the dark about the dangers posed by the workplace.
So our message to you today is this:
- Statistics don’t lie: HASAWA is there to protect you and its pretty good at doing that – pay attention to it.
- Simply stopping for a second and thinking “is this safe?” could save someone’s life. Stop and think, if it’s not safe, stop until you find a way that is!
- If you’re not sure, ask someone. If there’s no one to ask, don’t do it! Missing deadlines is NOT the end of the world, but a workplace fatality however… Well you know the rest.
- Think of your family.
- Think of the company’s standards and its reputation.
- Think of yourself! You matter, do not endanger yourself for the 9-5.
So why do we still fail?
Well we think we know the answer. It’s because it’s hard.
But I don’t have time for that!
There’s a lot to think about, a lot to look at and a lot of paperwork involved.
We want our team out on the job, bringing in money for the business and not inside poring over risk assessments. And we don’t want to pay people just to tick boxes.
So what’s the answer?
Move with the times!
Software solutions are now commonplace as an answer to health and safety compliance. They’re replacing the traditional paper or spreadsheet-based system because:
- they’re faster to use;
- they’re more effective at keeping people safe;
- they can reach more of your staff;
- they’re better at ensuring your compliance; and
- they have vastly improved auditability.
Consider the consequences!
Even so, people still don’t want to spend money on common sense. Those are the people who’d pay 100x the cost of a good health and safety system in fines when their ‘common sense’ system fails and they find themselves under HSE investigation.
They’re also the people serving time for corporate manslaughter, or who have lost their businesses thanks to useless H&S policies and procedures. If you’re looking at yourself and have just realised that you have the potential to become one of those people, don’t fear – we can help!
Introducing CRAMS – Comprehensive Risk Assessed Method Statements
CRAMS is a fully inclusive H&S solution that costs from as little as £2.00 per user, per month.
A wide range of customers across a variety of sectors use our software to manage their health and safety risk according to the guidelines stipulated in the HASAWA.
Built by our team of in-house developers, our software is robust and reliable. We host and maintain the core infrastructure, allow you to focus on using CRAMS to transform your organisation’s approach to H&S.
We include lots of functionality in our software but use intelligent design to keep the user experience simple. While there are many other systems on the market, many are just document depositories with limited functionality. No other system combines your sites, people, risk assessments, method statements, accidents/incidents and competency training in a single, all-inclusive application like CRAMS does.
Unlike traditional IT systems, cloud-based software is scaleable and as such can be more affordable. There are no large upfront hardware costs: instead, you pay a one-off deployment fee and then a monthly subscription based on the number of users with active profiles on the system.
Finally, with CRAMS being cloud-based it’s available via any web-enabled device. This allows us to provide maintenance and upgrades regularly and behind the scenes, with no action required by our users.
Don’t let H&S compliance get you down, move up to the cloud and future-proof your organisation.
It’s the law!
The basis of British health and safety law is the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HASAWA). The Act sets out the general duties which employers have towards employees and members of the public, and employees have to themselves and to each other.
These duties are qualified in the Act by the principle of “so far as is reasonably practicable”. In other words, an employer does not have to take measures to avoid or reduce the risk if they are technically impossible or if the time, trouble or cost of the measures would be grossly disproportionate to the risk.
What the law requires here is what good management and common sense would lead employers to do anyway, and that’s:
- to look at what the risks are; and
- to take sensible measures to tackle them.
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (the Management Regulations) are more explicit about what employers are required to do to manage health and safety under the Health and Safety at Work Act. Like the Act, these regulations apply to every work activity, with risk assessments required by law to ensure the safety of staff while they perform these activities.
Employers with five or more employees have a legal duty to record the significant findings of any risk assessment and while this may seem daunting, risk assessment in most work environments needn’t be complicated.
The five steps of risk assessment are as follows:
- Identify the hazards.
- Decide who might be harmed and how.
- Evaluate the risks and decide on control measures.
- Record your findings.
- Review your assessment and update as and when necessary.
Besides carrying out a risk assessment, employers also need to:
- make arrangements for implementing the health and safety measures identified as necessary by the risk assessment;
- appoint competent people (often themselves or company colleagues) to help them implement the arrangements;
- set up emergency procedures;
- provide clear information and training to employees;
- work together with other employers sharing the same workplace; and
- be aware that other regulations require action in response to hazards, particularly in industries where hazards are more prevalent.
These laws do not allow for excuses, and it is your legal responsibility to ensure your staff understand how to fulfill their roles safely and without risk.
Using CRAMS to manage this process makes creating new policies and method statements simpler than ever before, with hundreds of helpful hints and pre-set choices to give even the most health and safety-phobic manager the tools they need to be compliant.
Our team love to demonstrate the power of our sophisticated software. If you’d like to learn more about how CRAMS could help your organisation, book a demo today!