Each month we identify the current focus of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and provide a summary of key statistics and prosecutions from the previous month.
Are you preventing occupational lung disease?
As expected, the HSE is continuing their focus on performing Covid-secure inspections and spot checks in organisations from all sectors. They are also paying significant attention towards the issue of occupational lung disease, with certain workplaces being subject to inspections. If your employees carry out welding or use metalworking fluids, we highly recommend that you review the HSE’s guidance on these areas to ensure that you are compliant.
According to research by the HSE, over 12,000 people died due to work-related lung disease last year in the UK. Understandably, this is a concern which must be taken seriously by employers, with dangers present in sectors such as construction, stonework, woodworking, cement/concrete manufacture, and quarrying.
Employers must fulfil their legal duty to protect their employees from breathing in hazardous substances. If not, there is a risk of developing health problems like pneumoconiosis, silicosis, asthma, and work-related lung cancer. COSHH assessments play a significant part in reducing this risk, so reviewing and updating these regularly is crucial for a safer workplace.
For peace of mind when it comes to preventing occupational health issues, including the review of COSHH assessments, contact our team of H&S experts today on 0300 303 4401.
£3 million in fines and four prison sentences
Prosecutions in May covered separate incidents involving two fatalities and 17 significant injuries and ill health accidents. These prosecutions led to fines exceeding £3million and four prison sentences spanning a combined total of five years. Two of these prison sentences were related to unsafe acts and conditions where no injury was sustained, demonstrating that severe penalties can be issued based upon potential for harm alone. This includes a large fine of over £400,000, which was linked to a major flammable gas leak where nobody was injured.
Commonly identified issues during May include:
- Unsuitable risk assessments
- Unsafe systems of work
- Poor training
- Inadequate protective measures, including barriers and guarding
- Insufficient supervision
How confident are you of your health and safety arrangements? Who is your organisation’s competent person, and can you demonstrate their competence? If not, or you would like support with any other area of health and safety, we can help. Our team of H&S experts can act as your competent person, provide onsite risk assessments, and train your employees in a range of crucial areas.