It’s 2019, 45 years since the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 was implemented. So what is it, after 45 years, that we are 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? It must be more than that, and actually, perhaps the stereotype that Health and Safety has ‘gone mad’ is the biggest danger to us, way beyond common sense failures.
Back in my day…
The fact is this: the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HASAWA) was introduced in 1974, in those years that the older generation refer to as “back in my day” normally when they’re about to spout into “we didn’t need health and safety, we just didn’t have accidents”.
I’ve got statistics on common sense
I mean, they’re wrong of course, they did have accidents, plenty of them, shocking, horrible and often fatal accidents, which is why the HASAWA was brought in, to begin with. What they didn’t have “in their day” was the power to share important messages as this generation do. Yes, they got a daily paper – but we can search the entire world’s worth of daily papers to look at what has gone on in a day in any given place. We have the power to share something we find shocking, relevant or interesting with thousands of people with just a click, Health and Safety haven’t gone mad. We just use that as a terrible excuse to make silly, avoidable mistakes.
Can you see that? Official statistics from the HSE (Health and Safety Executive – the people who know this stuff) shows that the implementation of the HASAWA has drastically reduced the amount of workplace fatalities.
Please think back a little harder!
With all due respect, it may be that those lacking ‘common sense’ – or as I like to call it ‘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!
And actually, it probably wasn’t their awareness of hazards, accident and incident prevention and safe systems of work that failed them, it was the fact that the people at the top of the business, those ordering in the new COSHH products, the ones arranging dangerous tasks and duties, the guys 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?” and pass their findings onto the people following instructions at the bottom of the line.
So my 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 someones 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 is no one to ask, don’t do it! Missing deadlines is NOT the end of the world, a work place fatality however…. You know the rest.
- Think of your family.
- Think of the company standards and reputation.
- Think of yourself! You matter, do not endanger yourself for a 9-5.
So why do we still fail? I think I know the answer of course! It’s because it’s hard!
But I don’t have time for that!
There’s a lot to do, there’s 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, not inside poring over risk assessments and we don’t want to pay people just to tick off boxes (even if we do).
So what is the answer?
Move with the times!
Software solutions are now commonplace as an answer to health and safety compliance, they replace the traditional paper/spreadsheet-based systems and beat them black and blue in a competition for speed, effectiveness, reach and auditability.
Consider the consequences!
Even so, people still don’t want to spend money on common sense. Those are the people who generally pay 100x the cost of a good health and safety system in fines and costs when their ‘common sense’ system fails and they are under an HSE investigation.
They’re also the people who are in prison serving time for corporate manslaughter or have lost their business in the name of useless or absent H&S policies and procedures. If you’re looking at yourself and have just realised you are potentially going to become one of those people, don’t fear – I can help!
CRAMS – Comprehensive Risk Assessed Method Statements
CRAMS is a fully inclusive, cloud-based, health and safety software solution!
Investment can be as little as £2.00 per user, per month, CRAMS is already trusted by a wide range of customers across a variety of sectors, to manage their H&S risk in line with the HASAWA.
Built by our own team of in-house developers, our software is robust and reliable. We host and maintain the core infrastructure, so you just focus on getting the most out of CRAMS for your business.
We include lots of functionality in our software but use intelligent design to keep the user experience simple. There are other systems on the market, however many of them are just document depositories with limited functionality. No other system combines your sites, people, risks, methods, accidents/incidents and competency training in one dynamic all-inclusive application like CRAMS does.
Unlike traditional IT systems, cloud-based software is very scalable and 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 on the system at any one time.
Finally, with CRAMS being cloud-based it is 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 get you down, move up to the cloud and futureproof your organisation!
It’s The Law!
The basis of British health and safety law is the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. 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 is:
- to look at what the risks are
- take sensible measures to tackle them
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (the Management Regulations) generally make more explicit what employers are required to do to manage health and safety under the Health and Safety at Work Act. Like the Act, they apply to every work activity. The main requirement on employers is to carry out a risk assessment.
Employers with five or more employees need to record the significant findings of the risk assessment. Risk assessment needn’t be complicated in most work environments.
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 to implement the arrangements
- Set up emergency procedures
- Provide clear information and training to employees
- Work together with other employers sharing the same workplace
- Other regulations require action in response to hazards, or in industries where hazards are particularly high
These laws do not allow for excuses about barriers of any kind, it is your responsibility to ensure your staff understands how to fulfill their roles safely and without risk. Using CRAMS to manage this 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 and provide the documentation they are legally expected to.