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The High Cost of Non-Compliance: A Health and Safety Perspective

The High Cost of Non-Compliance: A Health and Safety Perspective

At Ligtas, we spend time not only delivering expert advice to ensure our own clients can go beyond compliance, but we also regularly review prosecutions reported by the HSE to glean lessons learned and to be able to advise our clients on what to be mindful of going forward.

The following five cases were reviewed. They each demonstrate the high costs of failing to prioritise safety in various areas, including compliance, financial and commercial solutions, reputation, knowledge, expertise, and competence.

Let's take a look...

Cider Manufacturer Incident

H Weston and Sons Limited, a cider manufacturer, was fined £1.4 million due to the death of a grandfather on his 65th birthday. The incident occurred when a security barrier speared through a vehicle's windshield, fatally crushing the victim. The HSE investigation found that the company failed to conduct a sufficient risk assessment and did not implement a safe system to secure the barrier when open and closed. This case highlights the need for thorough risk assessments and the implementation of safe work systems.

https://press.hse.gov.uk/2023/11/30/renowned-cider-manufacturer-fined-following-grandads-death/

Construction Site Incident

In another case, two companies were fined over £600k following the death of a worker who fell from a building roof in Warrington. The companies failed to plan the lightning protection work properly and manage and monitor it safely. This tragedy underlines the importance of proper planning and risk assessment in construction work, especially when working at height.

https://press.hse.gov.uk/2023/11/30/firms-fined-over-600k-after-dad-dies-from-fall/

Lift Maintenance Company Incident

Lift Monitoring Systems Limited was fined £200,000 after an engineer was fatally crushed while working at a factory. The incident occurred due to the failure to cover a void, demonstrating the critical need to ensure safety measures are in place during maintenance work.

https://press.hse.gov.uk/2023/11/27/lift-maintenance-company-fined-after-engineer-fatally-crushed/

Film Production Company Incident

FF9 Pictures Limited was fined £800,000 after a stunt performer sustained life-changing injuries during the filming of Fast and Furious 9. The company's risk assessment failed to address potential rope snap or link failure, and there was no system for double-checking the equipment. This case emphasises the importance of comprehensive risk assessments and regular equipment checks in the entertainment industry.

https://press.hse.gov.uk/2023/11/24/company-fined-as-stunt-performer-sustains-life-changing-injuries-during-filming-of-fast-and-furious-film/

Manufacturing Business Incident

W.S. Barrett and Son Limited, a manufacturing business, was fined for failing to protect workers from hazardous substances. The company had not thoroughly examined and tested its Local Exhaust Ventilation systems, which resulted in potential exposure to welding fume and dusts from powder coating. This highlights the importance of regular maintenance and inspection of control measures.

https://press.hse.gov.uk/2023/11/22/company-fined-as-hse-inspection-identifies-failures/

The Total Cost Of Non-Compliance

Shockingly, the total of the fines for all five cases amounts to £3,040,000

  1. H Weston and Sons Limited: £1.4 million
  2. Inco Contracts Limited: £600,000
  3. Prestige Security Installations Limited: £30,000
  4. Lift Monitoring Systems Limited: £200,000
  5. FF9 Pictures Limited: £800,000
  6. W.S. Barrett and Son Limited: £10,000

As you can see, these incidents demonstrate that the high cost of failing to prioritise health and safety includes not only significant financial penalties but also, more importantly, the tragic loss of life and severe injuries. Compliance with health and safety regulations, thorough risk assessments, the implementation of safe work systems, regular equipment checks, and training and competence in safety practices are crucial to avoid such devastating outcomes. This analysis is a reminder of the critical importance of health and safety in protecting workers and the public.

Lessons Learned

Compliance: The Cornerstone of Workplace Safety

The tragic incidents at H Weston and Sons Limited and the construction site in Warrington illustrate the dire consequences of non-compliance with health and safety regulations. These cases underscore the importance of adhering to legal standards and implementing robust safety protocols to avoid catastrophic outcomes. Companies must prioritise compliance to not only fulfil legal obligations but also to safeguard their employees.

Safety: Beyond Compliance

Safety is not just a regulatory requirement; it's a moral imperative. The fatalities in the Lift Monitoring Systems Limited and FF9 Pictures Limited incidents could have been prevented with more rigorous safety measures. Employers should go beyond mere compliance, creating a culture of safety that values life and well-being above all.

Financial and Commercial Solutions: Mitigating Risks

The substantial fines imposed on the companies in these cases highlight the financial repercussions of neglecting health and safety. Investing in safety is ethically sound and financially prudent. Organisations should allocate resources for safety training, equipment, and systems that can help mitigate risks and prevent costly accidents.

Reputation: A Stake in Safety

A company's reputation is intricately linked to its approach to health and safety. Incidents like those at W.S. Barrett and Son Limited damage public trust and corporate image. Maintaining a strong safety record is crucial for sustaining a positive reputation and building confidence among customers, investors, and the community.

Knowledge, Expertise, and Competence: Keys to Safety

The underlying factor in many health and safety failures is a lack of knowledge, expertise, and competence. Continuous training and development programs are essential for equipping employees with the skills and knowledge necessary to recognise and manage risks effectively. Employers should create an environment where continuous learning and professional development in health and safety are prioritised.

Knowledge, Expertise, and Competence: Keys to Safety

The underlying factor in many health and safety failures is a lack of knowledge, expertise, and competence. Continuous training and development programs are essential for equipping employees with the skills and knowledge necessary to recognise and manage risks effectively. Employers should create an environment where continuous learning and professional development in health and safety are prioritised.

Looking Ahead: Tips for Future Safety

These tips seem simple, but they are here to remind you that sometimes simple, fundamental things save lives.

  • Conduct Thorough Risk Assessments: Regularly evaluate potential hazards in your workplace and take proactive steps to mitigate them
  • Invest in Training: Ensure all employees are adequately trained in safety procedures and emergency responses
  • Regular Equipment Checks and Maintenance: Implement a systematic approach to inspect and maintain safety equipment and machinery
  • Create a Safety Culture: Encourage open communication about safety concerns and make safety a shared responsibility among all employees
  • Stay Informed: Keep abreast of your industry's latest health and safety regulations and best practices
  • Resources: https://ligtas.co.uk/webinar-replays and https://ligtas.co.uk/newsletters

And Finally

The biggest takeaway from these five stories is the critical importance of rigorous health and safety practices in the workplace. The severe consequences of non-compliance, including substantial financial penalties, loss of life, serious injuries, and damage to reputation, highlight the need for organisations to prioritise safety.

These cases underscore that beyond meeting legal obligations, there is vitally important to protect the well-being of employees. Implementing thorough risk assessments, regular safety training, proper equipment maintenance, and fostering a strong safety culture are key steps in mitigating risks and ensuring a safer working environment. We’ll leave you with these questions:

  • How compliant are you?
  • How do you know?
  • And how can you prove it?

If you are not sure and would like to talk through what to do, please call Ligtas at 02922 800 000 or email enquiries@ligtas.co.uk

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