Promoting Health and Safety Best Practice in Your Business

The first firm to be successfully prosecuted under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 was a firm of consultants.

The prosecution resulted from the death of a Junior Geologist who was taking soil samples from inside a deep trench when the sides collapsed on top of him.

The jury found that the safe system of work for digging trial pits was wholly and unnecessarily dangerous, and the company had ignored well recognised industry guidance.

Increase in health and safety prosecutions

There has been a steady increase year-on-year in successful health and safety prosecutions under the 2007 Act, and a number of incidents and subsequent prosecutions over the last five years highlight how important it is to ensure that all service providers are assessed.

Click here to read what 2015 could hold in store for the CDM regulations.

Promoting health and safety best practice

Organisations need to ensure that their contractors are competent and have appropriate health and safety management systems in place for their work activity. So, what can be done to follow health and safety best practice consistently in your workplace?

While the necessity to assess contractors has been recognised by responsible clients for some time, the assessment of other service providers, such as designers and consultants is often overlooked.

In 2012, a company and its safety consultant were fined following two separate incidents where 2 employees sheared off their fingers while operating an inadequately guarded guillotine. Despite the Health and Safety Executive serving enforcement notices on the company with regards to the guillotine, the safety consultant produced risk assessments for the company concluding that safety guards on the guillotines were acceptable.

Clients: How can SafeContractor help me assess my contractors?

SafeContractor is used by over 230 major clients to undertake the pre-qualification assessment of their contractors and on-site service providers. These clients recognise that if a contractor has met the robust standards of the scheme, they can be assured that the contractors that work for them have demonstrated that they are compliant against the scheme standards to carry out the work for which they are accredited.

A SafeContractor assessment of consultant activities requires evidence of suitable and sufficient policies, risk assessments, training and, where appropriate, safe systems of work. As a specific example, accreditation of a safety consultant requires a demonstration of appropriate health and safety qualifications, current membership to a relevant professional body, further industry training, relevant experience and evidence of up-to-date continual professional development. They also need to demonstrate that they have professional indemnity insurance cover.

While accreditation does not guarantee that health and safety best practice is always undertaken, by ensuring that all service providers are assessed by a reputable health and safety accreditation, such as SafeContractor, clients can minimise the risk of damage to their reputation and bottom line.

Contractors: What do I need to do to become SafeContractor accredited?

In order to gain SafeContractor accreditation, designers/contractors must prove that they comply with their duties under the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007. That is, you must demonstrate that you have processes in place to eliminate or reduce risk through design and coordinate residual risk to other parties.

Additionally, designers need to provide evidence of the appropriate qualifications and/or current membership to a relevant professional body, up-to-date continual professional development and professional indemnity insurance cover at a minimum for accreditation.

SafeContractor reduces risk by ensuring organisations have suitable management systems in place to manage safety for themselves and deliver the services to their clients in a safe way.

Post date: 15 Dec 2014

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