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.
New legislation introduced – The Building Safety Act 2022
Building safety will be high on the HSE’s agenda during May, after The Building Safety Act 2022 received Royal Assent on 28 April.
Under this new law, the HSE is named as the new Building Safety Regulator, meaning they will hold responsibilities for overseeing the safety and standards of affected buildings, while also assisting the built environment industry with enhancing their competence.
This covers high-rise buildings only, giving new duties to those responsible for safety in this environment.
If you operate in a high-rise building, we recommend visiting the HSE’s dedicated Building Safety Regulator page for guidance.
£2.4m in fines after two fatalities and eight injuries during April
Prosecutions in April 2022 covered multiple incidents involving two fatalities, eight significant injuries, and several ill health incidents. Three prison sentences were also issued, spanning a collective total of 25 months.
As a result of this month’s incidents, over £2.4m in fines has been paid by employers, with one energy contractor contributing £900,000 to this total. This fine was issued in response to a cable strike on a construction site, which left an employee’s retina with severe damage.
Upon investigation by the HSE, it was found that the energy contractor had not fully completed a permit for the digging work involved, while monitoring and supervision was also lacking.
It is imperative that employers hiring contractors carry out inductions, also checking their insurance and competency before work commences.
In another case, a Bristol SME with 62 employees was fined £50,000, after an employee’s arm was crushed by machinery. The employer had failed to provide adequate training on the use of company equipment, meaning the incident was easily avoidable.
It’s important to remember that providing appropriate H&S training is a legal requirement for all employers. These sessions must be delivered by a competent person, with content created on an evidence-based approach. All training must also be recorded.
Other key themes from April’s incidents included unsafe systems of work, unregistered gas work, insufficient risk assessments, and poor maintenance of equipment.
Looking for further support?
If you would like to receive tailored guidance on any of the issues discussed above, AHR Consultants can help.
This includes assistance with managing contractors and RAMS (Risk Assessment Method Statements).
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.