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.

Following the removal of Plan B restrictions in England, it is important that employees are made to feel safe if they are returning to the office. Ventilation and the consideration of Covid-19 in your company risk assessments will continue to be reviewed by HSE inspectors, so these areas should not be neglected.

Targeted inspections in South Yorkshire – Is your region next?

Following analysis of incidents within Sheffield and Rotherham, the HSE are running a targeted inspection campaign for businesses operating in these areas.

This comes after local inspectors witnessed “an alarming rise in the number of fatalities and injuries in the last five years”, according to Andrew Denison, who is Head of Operations at the HSE.

Many of the incidents in these areas have also been linked to long-term health issues, including occupational lung diseases like Mesothelioma, for which 2369 deaths were recorded in the HSE’s national stats for 2020/21.

While this specific disease is linked to asbestos exposure, there are many other serious health issues which are known to occur following excessive exposure to welding or metalworking fluids. With this in mind, the primary focus of the HSE’s campaign is to visit businesses where this exposure may be taking place.

So far, 71 businesses have been targeted in the area and 65% have been found to be breaching health and safety law. This has led to three prohibition notices being issued, along with 31 improvement notices.

Could your region be targeted next by the HSE? Achieve peace of mind with your health and safety arrangements by enlisting AHR Consultants to carry out an audit and inspection for your organisation. This will identify any shortcomings in your approach to health and safety, while giving you recommendations to address any subsequent issues.

Therefore, should the HSE visit, your organisation can demonstrate that it takes health and safety seriously, which helps to reduce the risk of enforcement action.

To see how we can help you to achieve peace of mind, contact our team of health and safety experts today on 0345 076 2288 or submit a question below.

Three fatalities lead to over £1million in fines during January

Prosecutions in January 2022 covered multiple incidents involving three fatalities, two significant injuries, and several ill health accidents. Two prison sentences were also issued, spanning a collective total of 1.5 years.

As a result of this month’s incidents, over £1.3million in fines has been paid by employers, with one care home contributing £600,000 to this total.

This fine was issued after a resident of the care home choked on food that was not approved as part of their diet. In the HSE’s incident report, it was noted that staff had not been given sufficient information or training on the correct dietary plans for residents.

Other key themes from January’s incidents included the illegal removal of asbestos, along with the completion of unregistered gas work.

We have already highlighted the risks associated with asbestos exposure in the section above, while failing to use a registered Gas Safe contractor will pose a significant threat of injury or even loss of life.

It is vital for employers to make sure that any contractors working for them are competent in their works. Our experienced H&S Consultants provide audits that include contractor management, ensuring that suitability checks are carried out before and after appointment.

As experts in all areas of health and safety, we can also act as your competent person, provide employee training, and deliver immediate legal advice.

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.