Our monthly update explores the focus area of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), as they continue to visit workplaces across the UK for spot checks and inspections. We also provide a roundup of prosecutions from the previous month, highlighting the commonly identified issues for employers to avoid.
With the 2022 Commonwealth Games being hosted in Birmingham this summer, the HSE will spend the upcoming months focusing on construction sites in the region, while continuing to visit other workplaces across the UK.
As covered in our recent campaigns update, April also represents Stress Awareness Month, meaning those receiving an inspection or spot check should be well-prepared to demonstrate their measures for employee wellbeing.
The HSE’s Working Minds page includes many helpful resources for this area, as well as industry-specific guidance for agriculture, construction, health, and manufacturing.
Birmingham’s construction industry under inspection
Unsurprisingly, Birmingham and its surrounding areas have become a hotspot for development projects in the approach to 2022’s Commonwealth Games.
The number of new construction schemes doubled within the region during 2021, with the HSE now starting to ramp up inspections on sites, particularly within the city centre.
Employers have been reminded that there is “no room for complacency with compliance”, following a statement from one of the HSE’s regional inspectors, who quoted the industry’s 3,500 annual cancer-related deaths as a major concern.
If visited, businesses will be required to evidence their measures for keeping both their employees and the public safe, with many sites operating in busy areas of the city centre.
Any resulting improvement notices will allow a 21-day period to resolve issues, although more serious breaches will lead to prosecution.
If you have any questions regarding H&S compliance in construction, whether based in Birmingham or not, call us today on 0345 076 2288 or complete the form below.
£650k in fines after two fatalities and 10 injuries during March
Prosecutions in March 2022 covered multiple incidents involving two fatalities, nine significant injuries, and several ill health accidents. Two prison sentences were also issued, spanning a collective total of one year and 14 months.
As a result of this month’s incidents, over £650,000 in fines has been paid by employers, with one manufacturing company contributing £200,000 to this total.
This fine was issued to Hanson Springs Ltd, following an incident where an employee had attempted to replace the blade on a vertical bandsaw, with two of the employee’s fingers being severed in the process.
Upon investigation of the incident, the HSE found that although training had been provided for the employee, the content was of poor quality and was therefore insufficient for the task at hand.
Furthermore, no formal competency assessment had been carried out by the employer, meaning it was unsafe for the employee to attempt to replace the machine blade.
Other key themes from March’s incidents included a lack of planning, inadequate barriers, insufficient risk assessments, poor training, and lack of maintenance of work equipment.
Employers must ensure their staff and anyone affected by their work are safe from injury, so far as is reasonably practicable. With our team of experienced H&S Consultants, our audits cover all areas of your business including risk assessments, training, and maintenance of equipment.
Download a free personalised Health and Safety Risk Report to assess your current compliance levels with policies, risk assessments, and training. These areas are summarised as the three pillars of defensibility, helping you to minimise the prospect of enforcement action if utilised correctly.
For any other health and safety queries, call us today on 0345 076 2288 or submit a question using the form below.