Having heard the Governments rant about Health and Safety, and also been in the position when I have been frustrated at being told I can not do something because of Health and Safety, then I thought it was worth highlighting the issue and the thoughts around it.
Health and Safety legislation exists to ensure that employees work in a safe environment. Surely that goes without saying. I did my Health and Safety course at work and some of the statistics out of that were interesting. So many accidents are simple slips and trips and could be easily avoidable. Also from a business perspective, the amount of hours lost due to accidents stack up, so anything that can be done to prevent an accident is surely in the business interest.
There are many stories and myths around when it comes to H&S, they invariably start with “My friend works somewhere, where x happened” or the like. These stories don’t help matters. Even the HSE recognises this and has a Myth of the month section on their website
Really the problem has arisen, not in the H&S laws themselves, but in the blame culture that has arisen, the Compensation claims and the “no win no fee” has encouraged many to seek the cash when they have an injury. The problem with this, for every 10 (pick a multiple) sensible claims, there are some considered less than sensible, which the press pick up and report, therefore perpetuating the myth that H&S is just nonsense.
However, these claims have made employers take the H&S problem seriously, and more importantly made them invest in it, and made workers much safer in the work place.
Another issue is the type of workplace, my work is largely office based, so we are talking about seemingly minor things like spilling coffee on the stairs, moving my own IT equipment, however, think of the construction industry,and things like hard hats, steel toe cap boots etc..
When you look at the actual H&S legislation, it is quite high level and really it is down to the individual business to interpret it for its own workplace, and it is then monitored on how it keeps up with its own monitoring.
The Million Pound question is what is more important, the health, and lives, of the workforce, or the perceived injustice of H&S legislation? Or is the question about how to ensure the H&S is enforced correctly and not used as an excuse by people to not do what they don’t want to do.
- Workplace Safety is No Accident for USANA Health Sciences (eon.businesswire.com)
- Health and safety could be relaxed (mirror.co.uk)
- Workplace accidents ‘unreported’ (bbc.co.uk)