Monday, 22 October 2012

Fee For Intervention is Here

This month saw a new system for health and safety inspections come into force in the UK, which will result in companies being billed for some regulatory activity.

Under the cost recovery scheme, unveiled by the Government earlier this year, businesses failing to comply with legislation could now face heavy costs.

The Fees for Intervention (FFI) initiative is being operated by national regulator the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which will see charges introduced in a range of areas, including the production of letters and reports, evidence gathering and site visits.

They will be targeted at those organizations that break the rules and will be linked to related costs of taking enforcement action, with an hourly FFI rate of £124 set for 2012-13.

Firms that fully comply with all UK health and safety legislation will continue to incur no charges and the HSE will examine how the system is working after 12 months of operation, reporting the results of its review within three months of the scheme taking effect.

The FFI charges will be in addition to any fines and legal costs faced by businesses charged with failing to meet their health and safety obligations.

If you need help with getting your health and safety system right, then contact us via

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Health and Safety Management Systems – Why Bother?

When someone uses the phrase “management system” it conjures up an image of an office full of clerks, busy filling in endless reams of paper, without anyone actually knowing what the end result is. This does not need to be the way, especially when it comes to health and safety, the object of the exercise is to have a system that works for your needs, one that not only gives you results but also achieves its objectives of keeping you and everyone else safe.

A health and safety management system can be as simple as a one page set of tick boxes, to make sure you haven’t forgotten something important, right up to an OHSAS 18001 system which not only controls everything you do with health and safety, but can be audited to an international standard as well as demonstrating that you are working to best practice. The important thing is that the system should do what you want or need it to do, it should not create procedures for the sake of it and should be clear in its results and observations.

Given that a health and safety management system can be simple, certainly shouldn’t be excessive and will produce clear results, what will we gain from having one and how much is it going to cost? There are some very simple answers to these questions:

What will we gain?

A safer working environment
Less absenteeism
Increased production                                    
Happier workforce
Customer recognition                                     
Peer recognition
Mitigation against legal costs                          
Defence against legislation breeches
Lower insurance costs                                    
Access to additional work opportunities         

How much will it cost?

Debit:    Producing the system                                     
             Necessary capital expenditure (guarding etc)
             Training costs of personnel                             
             Monitoring & auditing

Credit:  Less absenteeism                                          
             Increased production
             Lower legal costs                                            
             Lower insurance costs
             Mitigation against fines and claims                  
             Maintenance of company reputation
             Increased tendering opportunity

Taking all of the above, together with many more benefits, it can be seen that the reasons we bother are simple, a well produced health and safety management system will help you keep all around you safe thus avoiding absenteeism, lost production and legal claims against you, it will help you comply with current legislation avoiding legal costs, it will demonstrate to customers and your peers, that you are a company they would like to do business with, it can help keep your insurance costs down, maybe even reducing them and it could provide the conditions that will allow you to access many other tendering opportunities.

So, why bother?                      Increased profitability
                                                Increased reputation and profile
                                                Happier, more productive workforce
                                                Increased work opportunities
                                                Legal compliance
                                                Because it’s the right thing to do!

If you would like to know more about how effective a health and safety management system can be or to discuss any other matters relating to health and safety, then please contact us via our website at

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Welcome Back "Bob-a-Job" and Sanity

Bob-a-Job week returns this week, two decades after the Scout Association scrapped it over health and safety concerns and the rise of compensation culture.
For generations of Scouts, it was a time for raising money by performing good deeds – until health and safety fears and the rise of compensation culture saw it scrapped. Now, 20 years after the last one, Bob-a-Job week will this week be revived by the Scout Association, as leaders attempt to rebuild the movement's traditional commitment to helping others.
The scheme, which starts on Saturday 12th May 2012, will see more than 144,000 children take part in thousands of community projects across the UK. The revamped scheme has been designed to comply with health and safety laws and to avoid the risk of compensation claims that saw its previous incarnation halted in 1992. Then, unsupervised children, would knock on strangers' doors to ask if they wanted jobs done. Now, the scouts will operate in groups while carrying out work and will be supervised all the time by their leaders.
Bob-a-job week was first introduced as a good turn day in 1914 by scout movement founder Lord Baden-Powell. In its previous format, officially known as Scout Job Week, it was started during Easter week 1949 and became an annual fixture.
The scheme got its nickname from shilling, colloquially 'bob', that the youngsters were paid for completing their good turn - which would now be worth 5p.

Monday, 2 April 2012

New date for health and safety cost recovery scheme

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has announced that its cost recovery scheme, Fee for Intervention (FFI), is going ahead but will now not start in April 2012.
The scheme sets out to recover costs from those who break health and safety laws for the time and effort HSE spends on helping to put matters right - investigating and taking enforcement action.
Law-abiding businesses will be free from costs and will not pay a penny.
Gordon MacDonald, HSE's programme director, said:
"The Government has agreed that it is right that those who break the law should pay their fair share of the costs to put things right - and not the public purse.
"The Government intends to proceed with the FFI scheme as recommended to ministers by HSE's Board in December in response to the formal consultation that took place last Summer.
"Discussions are still taking place on the technical details of the scheme, which we expect to conclude soon.
"Therefore, FFI will not be introduced in April but at the next available opportunity, which is likely to be October 2012."

Monday, 26 March 2012

(RIDDOR) Change – 6 April 2012

From 6 April 2012, subject to Parliamentary approval, RIDDOR’s over three day injury reporting requirement will change. From then the trigger point will increase from over three days’ to over seven days’ incapacitation (not counting the day on which the accident happened).

Incapacitation means that the worker is absent or is unable to do work that they would reasonably be expected to do as part of their normal work.

Employers and others with responsibilities under RIDDOR must still keep a record of all over three day injuries – if the employer has to keep an accident book, then this record will be enough.

The deadline by which the over seven day injury must be reported will increase to 15 days from the day of the accident.

Monday, 19 March 2012

How often do I need to test my electrical appliances?

This is an interesting question as the perception is that everything should be tested every year, if only this was the case, it would make life a lot easier for those doing the tests. The fact is that there are no hard and fast rules as to when or how often items should be tested.

Let’ s look at the whole picture first, portable electrical appliances need to be inspected and tested on a regular basis, inspection frequency need not be the same as the testing frequency, in fact they should be inspected by the operator every time they are used (is the plug damaged? are there any breaks in the cable? is there any damage to the appliance casing?) In other words a common sense approach to using any electrical item. This said not every fault will be spotted by a simple inspection, therefore it is essential that a regime of thorough inspections and testing be set up.

Now we go back to the original question, how often? Although there is no hard and fast rule, there is a code of practice produced by the IEE which provides guidance for qualified testers to use, to answer this question, however the final frequency will depend upon many factors, which an experienced tester will take into account and come up with a sensible schedule.

There are three main considerations when deciding how often to test an electrical appliance:

1.    Type of premises: The conditions or type of premises will have a major effect on the frequency of testing, imagine using something as simple as an extension lead, these can be found in every environment, however we would not expect one in an office to be subject to damage as much as one in a fabrication workshop. In general we would categorise the premises into 6 sections; Construction, Industrial, Public, Schools, Hotels and Shops & Offices.

2.    Type of Equipment: The appliance itself will also dictate the frequency in which it is to be tested, some equipment is more susceptible to damage than others, for example an electric drill is more at risk than say a refrigerator, in general terms the more portable an appliance is, the more it is likely to get damaged. Appliances are generally split into 5 categories; Stationary, IT, Moveable, Portable and Hand-held.

3.    Equipment Construction: When we say construction, we mean how well the live electrical parts are separated from being able to be touched, in other words how well they are insulated. An appliance which is well insulated will need a less frequent inspection regime than one that only has basic insulation. There are four classes of insulation, class 0 which has only basic insulation and no earth, class 1 which has basic insulation and a facility to connect to earth, class 2 which has enhanced double insulation but with no earth and finally class 3 or separated extra low voltage , which uses low voltage power fed from a double insulated transformer and no earth.

As can be seen here, there are many permutations to be taken into consideration when deciding how often to test an electrical appliance, which is why a qualified PAT tester will have been trained not only how to check the equipment, but also how to manage the testing regime. So going back to the original question “how often do I need to test my electrical appliances” there are 120 possible answers for each and every appliance, so please let the experts sort it out for you.

We hope that we have been able to answer the question and demonstrate that having your appliances tested at the correct intervals is not a cost, but an investment in your company’s future prosperity. Should you have further questions about this subject or any other health and safety issues, then please do not hesitate to contact us via

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Why do I need to test my electrical equipment?

This is a question that we get asked a lot of times and there are several parts to the answer, so let’s look at this stage by stage.

Firstly there’s the humanitarian issue, do we want to put our staff, ourselves or the public in danger? Off course we don’t, but that’s exactly what we are doing if we do not maintain all equipment in a safe manner. According to some HSE statistics 1% of all industrial accidents are as a result of electrocution from faulty or badly maintained electrical equipment, however this 1% of accidents represents 6% of total fatalities.

Secondly there’s a business continuity issue, whilst all equipment will be out of service for a very short moment (during testing) this is minute compared to the same piece of kit electrocuting someone. At this point your production will be stopped whilst HSE and police investigate the circumstances, your man power will have been reduced (the member of staff being off sick or even killed) the piece of kit will probably need to be repaired or replaced, all this is costing the company time.

Thirdly we have an intellectual issue, having had an incident it’s almost certain that you will have a negative effect on morale within your work force, as they will feel that they are not valued enough to look after. In addition to this your professional image to your existing and potential customers will also be affected, how many of them want to be associated with a company that is careless or just doesn’t care?

Next we have the cost to the company, yes there is a cost involved in having the equipment tested and with this you get what you pay for. To test an electrical appliance properly in accordance with IEE code of practice takes between 4 and 6 minutes (so if anyone tells you he can test more 120 in a day, then beware) If you take the cost of the testing and put it against the items we have already covered then the alternative costs involved would be; court costs in being sued for negligence or even prosecuted for corporate manslaughter, loss of production, sick pay, reduced production from remaining staff, replacement or repair of the piece of kit, HSE costs, loss of revenue and you will still need to pay for your appliances to be tested.

If by now you’re getting really depressed about this, then buckle up because there’s more. According to fire brigade statistics 26% of fires, on commercial premises, are caused by faulty electrical equipment, this means there is a potential for one in four businesses to be the victim of fire as a result. The consequences of a fire on your premises are potentially far more serious than previously explained; more injuries, more fatalities, greater loss of continuity, removal from the market place (whether this is temporary or permanent), greater costs or even total loss of your business.

“This may all be inconvenient, but our insurance will pay to get us back on our feet” check your small print, because you may find that by not carrying out your best endeavours to prevent these incidents, that you have invalidated your insurance, there may also be a clause that states you must comply with all of your legal duties.

Which brings us to the last point, “why do I need to test my electrical equipment” because it’s your legal duty, under various health and safety legislation, it is your responsibility to maintain all equipment in a safe manner and the best way to do this is employ a regime of regular inspections and testing.

We hope that we have been able to answer the question and demonstrate that having your appliances tested is not a cost, but an investment in your company’s future prosperity. Should you have further questions about this subject or any other health and safety issues, then please do not hesitate to contact us at via 

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Guide to Safe Equipment at Work

Accidents happen in every walk of life and often, are down to lack of concentration or simple carelessness but accidents in the workplace can happen because equipment is not safe to use or a risk assessment hasn’t taken place.

Clearly, a worker should not use equipment if he or she thinks it isn’t safe but employers are bound by a duty of care which means they are ultimately responsible for making sure that both staff and visitors are not put at risk.

So employers must ensure that all equipment and machinery is safe for use. This means that it should be inspected regularly in case it has been damaged or misused.

Ensuring Safety in Your Business

Most obviously, you need to keep the workplace clean and safe for all and ensure that people are protected from falling from heights or being exposed to hazardous substances.
You should also check that all roads, walkways, floors and stairs are safe to use and not blocked by large pieces of equipment or piled up stock.

Although serious accidents can occur with large or specialised machinery, many injuries happen every year when employees are using basic every day equipment such as stepladders, hand saws or mechanical screwdrivers.


So it’s extremely important to make sure that all equipment is inspected regularly. In most cases, a daily pre-check should be carried out. You can emphasise the importance to your workers through regular toolbox talks.

Show them some examples of accidents which have happened through every day equipment and make sure they know the importance of checking all equipment before they use it.
For example, before using a ladder they should check it visually for any broken or cracked rungs and ensure that the feet are solid.

They need to check that any locking devices on stepladders are working properly and should use any recommended safety equipment at heights, such as a harness.

Other equipment such as machinery should be visually checked and employees must know who is responsible for checking that any safety guards or switches are in good working order and that any moving parts, waste collectors and other gadgets have been oiled regularly.

If machinery has an exhaust system, this needs to be inspected on a regular basis.
Safety Aids

Research by the Health and Safety Executive has shown that experience is no substitute for safety guards or equipment.

It takes only a split second of concentration loss to lose a finger in cutting equipment but often, experienced workers have disabled safety features to make a machine easier to use.

It is easy to become complacent about small equipment such as wood saws or mechanical screwdrivers but they are capable of causing serious injury if not well maintained or used correctly.

Employers should make a list of all equipment in use and decide how and when it should be checked and who will note that an inspection has been undertaken. In the event of an accident, this will at least show that dangers have been taken seriously and that procedures are in place to keep employees safe.

Protective Equipment

Lots of every day equipment has the potential to cause injury unless workers have been given personal protective equipment (PPE) to reduce the chances of harm.

PPE equipment can vary from something as simple as clothing which provides protection against the weather to safety helmets, gloves, eye protection, safety footwear, noise reduction headphones or safety harnesses.

If PPE is needed for a job, it must be provided by the employer and they cannot charge employees for it.

It is important that employers provide the required PPE and ensure that it is fit for purpose. Check gloves for holes or damage, ensure that headphones are not broken and follow guidelines for checking harnesses.

Employees also have a responsibility towards their own safety and can refuse to undertake any job which they consider unsafe.

As an employee you can reduce the risk of accidents by reporting any faulty equipment or machinery as soon as possible. Make sure equipment that you are using is in good condition and well looked after. It should always be cleaned well and correctly stored after use. 

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

The dangers of electrical equipment in the workplace

Employers and other duty-holders have been reminded of the dangers that can be posed by electrical equipment in the workplace, in the wake of recent research into the failure rates of appliances.

Test instrument manufacturer Seaward reviewed its portable appliance (PAT) test reports compiled during routine in-service electrical safety ...testing. Its analysis of more than 80,000 PAT tests revealed an average appliance failure rate of 1.4 per cent, which equates to more than 1100 potentially dangerous appliances that would not have been discovered had inspection and testing not been carried out.

The failures were typically recorded in such premises as offices, schools, universities and factories, and involved damaged mains cords, enclosures, or casings, exposed moving parts, and failed earth continuity, or insulation resistance tests.

In industrial environments, such as engineering and manufacturing premises, the failure rates were, at an average of 7.4 per cent, much higher than the likes of offices and administrative services, reflecting the damage and mishandling often associated with power tools and other moveable electrical equipment.

Seaward also emphasised another potentially deadly effect of faulty portable electrical appliances: fire. It cited official UK fire statistics, which show that the Fire Service attended 136,000 accidental fires in non-residential dwellings between 2000 and 2005, the main cause of which was faulty appliances and leads, which were responsible for 30 per cent of the total.

During this same period, the Fire Protection Association revealed that there were 346 reported fire losses that were electrical in origin in premises other than dwellings. The total loss from these was £178m, with an average loss per incident of £50,000.

Rod Taylor, managing director of Seaward, said: “These figures show beyond any doubt the extent to which damaged and faulty electrical appliances pose a danger to users, and are also a potential cause of damaging fires.

“Although at first sight the percentages may appear to be low, the true potential impact can be gauged from the massive number of appliances and electrical items used in everyday workplaces.

“Clearly, the preventative measures to be adopted need to be in proportion to the risk, but in the majority of cases the costs of adopting sensible inspection and testing regimes are lower than those involved with other forms of risk assessment.”

For further advice on PAT testing or to arrange for your equipment to be checked out contact us via our website at

Monday, 5 March 2012

Who is responsible for fire safety?

Who is responsible for fire safety?
Generally, the employer (Responsible Person) is responsible for the fire safety of all who are lawfully on the premises (Relevant Persons). These include employees, visitors, contractors, members of the public and any person in the immediate vicinity, such as people walking past. Operational fire fighters at incidents are not included.
Responsibility for managing duties on behalf of the Responsible Person (RP) at the head of an organisation may be shared, for example, between branch or area manager, depending on the extent of control each has i.e. they must have the appropriate authority, skills and training to manage these duties. 
Is it permissible for others to carry out duties on behalf of the Responsible Persons?
Yes, the RP may nominate Competent Persons (CP). For instance, an RP may nominate others to act as fire marshals or wardens with a duty for assisting with evacuation; or an engineer might be given the task of testing fire alarms.
The RP must ensure CPs have the ability to carry out their tasks i.e. they must be properly competent, trained and equipped, or external experts may be brought in to fill any shortfall. 
Please bear in mind that delegating duties falling within the RP’s remit does not absolve a person from responsibility. It is down to the RP to put sufficient checks in place to ensure delegated duties are carried out correctly.
Do employees have responsibility?
Yes, employees must take reasonable care for the safety of themselves and others who may be affected by their acts or omissions at work e.g. wedging open a fire door. It is the RP’s responsibility to ensure employees receive training.
Who is responsible for fire safety in multi-occupied premises?
This may be shared by several people. In a multi-occupied office, the landlord/owner and tenants may be responsible for common areas with each occupier responsible for the areas they control. 
The fire alarm may be the sole responsibility of the landlord/owner if it is common to the entire premises. A tenancy agreement should identify who is responsible for each area of fire safety.
Occupiers have a duty to take reasonable steps to co-operate and co-ordinate with each other.
Who is responsible for fire safety when there is no employer?
The person in control of the premises is responsible. This could be the person or organisation paying the rent or owning the building. e.g. a charity trustee in the case of a charity shop or a parish council in case of a village hall.
Who is responsible for fire safety in an unoccupied building?
This is normally the owner of the building

Friday, 2 March 2012

Impact of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005

Falling foul of fire safety legislation can result in hefty fines, often in cases where there has been no serious injury or loss of life.

When assessing risks associated with fire, the immediate concern is often the potential loss of life. Corporate manslaughter or gross negligence charges can follow if death occurs due to corporate or individual gross negligence, also lesser injuries often result in health and safety prosecutions.
However, businesses are also discovering - to their considerable cost - that it is not injury, but the risk posed if there was to be a fire, which is triggering prosecution under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRO).

Obligations imposed by the RRO

The RRO imposes duties on a defined "responsible person" to protect anyone who may be on or in the vicinity of the premises. A responsible person may be a corporate or an individual and includes employers operating from, and owners or commercial occupiers of, premises.

A responsible individual has a duty to ensure that a risk assessment is carried out to identify what needs to be done. They must also take "general fire precautions" to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the safety of staff and others. "General fire precautions" include measures to reduce the risk or spread of fire. These include consideration of:
  • the means, safety and efficacy of escape measures
  • how any fire will be detected and tackled, and how warnings will be given
  • arrangements for the instruction and training of employees on fire prevention and firefighting, minimising the risks and evacuation.

The RRO created a number of new offences and inspectors have power to issue enforcement and prohibition notices and prosecute for breaches.
One offence created is the failure of a responsible person to comply with fire safety duties "where that failure places one or more relevant persons at risk of death or serious injury in case of fire".

Very similar to the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, individuals may also face prosecution where a company is guilty, as a responsible person, for a breach of the RRO and that breach is, "proved to have been committed with the consent or connivance of, or to be attributable to any neglect on the part of, any director, manager, secretary or other similar officer."
Where an offence has been committed due to "the act or default of some other person", that other person is also guilty of an offence and may be prosecuted regardless of whether or not there are also proceedings against the responsible person.

The offences clearly envisage, and the cases confirm, that guilt will be established simply for putting people at risk were there to be a fire, whether or not there is actually a fire. It is not a defence that an employee or someone nominated by a company has made a mistake. The only defence available is for offences where the charges include a failure to take reasonable precautions. In those cases, it is a defence that reasonable precautions and all due diligence were taken to avoid the commission of the offence.

We hope that we have been able to highlight the impact of this legislation. Should you have further questions about this subject or any other health and safety issues, then please do not hesitate to contact us via

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Accidents & Ill Health: It pays to know the facts

Each year employee accidents and ill-health cost British employers an estimated £3.9 billion to £7.8 billion, of which £910 million to £3,710 million comes from accidental damage to property and equipment.

It's often assumed that insurance will cover any financial losses. But policies generally fall short when it comes to costs involved in the general day to day running of a business. The shortfall can be startling:
  • Uninsured losses are ten times the cost of insurance premiums paid. (Source: HSE)
  • Uninsured losses from accidents in smaller firms add up to £315 per employee, per year. (Source: Norwich Union Risk Services)

Other cost implications that are often overlooked include:
  • Dealing with the incident - Immediate action means downtime for the injured person and anyone assisting. Time spent administering first aid treatment, a hospital referral or home rest, all result in downtime. Making the area safe and making machinery serviceable are more costs for which the business is accountable.
  • Investigation of the incident - Time spent reporting the incident, holding meetings to discuss it and investigating it internally are the first step. Then time spent with an HSE, or Local Authority inspector and external consultants' fees to assist with the investigation can rapidly accumulate into hidden costs.
  • Getting back to business - Rescheduling work, recovering production, repairing damage and cleaning the site are inconveniences which slow production and reduce efficiency. Hiring replacement tools, people and equipment might also be required.
  • Business costs - Absentee costs are deceptive. Besides the salary of the injured worker, a combination of replacement staff salaries, lost time, reduced productivity and quality add to escalating costs. Training new or temporary staff, overtime and contract.
  • Increased insurance costs - higher premiums following an incident, cost associated with conditions being applied in order to gain cover.

It pays to fulfil your legal obligations with regard to Health & Safety, this way you reduce the chances of having a claim refused and all the additional costs listed above, which will probably include the cost of fulfilling those obligations in the first place. So why pay twice?

For assistance contact us at

Monday, 27 February 2012

Risk and your business

Here we will be looking at the physical risks that need to be accounted for within any business planning, but hopefully will cover the general areas necessary to give you an idea of what to look out for.
Before we move on let’s be clear what we are talking about.
What is Risk?                                           
“Risk is the likelihood of a body or event to cause harm.”
This should not be  confused with Hazard.         

What is Hazard?            
“Hazard is the ability of a body or event to cause harm.”
From this we can see that in order to reduce the risks to our businesses we need to remove, reduce or protect against the hazards we come across. The way we do this is by carrying out a Risk Assessment

There are five steps to carrying out any risk assessment.

Step 1: Identify and record the hazards that are present, these fall broadly into five categories
Physical: such as pressure, heat, damp, noise, radiation and electricity
Chemical: such as dusts, fumes, chemicals, toxic materials and gases
Biological: such as infections, viruses and contagions
Ergonomic: work conditions, stress, RSI and man-machine interaction
The fifth one we'll come back to as it’s covered under specific legislation

Step 2: Identify the people that may be affected by the hazard
Paying particular attention to those groups that may be especially vulnerable such as the elderly, blind, young and disabled.
At this point it is possible to rank the severity of the risk, giving it a more tangible identity

Step 3: Remove, reduce the severity or Protect against, the Hazard.
The preference here is always to remove the hazard completely (rearrange items to avoid trips and impacts), if this cannot be done then reduce the severity of the hazard (use low voltage equipment or less aggressive chemicals) and as a last resort protect against the hazard (provide warnings or personal protective equipment).
Once again assuming that all the measures have been put into place, it will be possible to rank the severity of the residual risks. You can then establish whether the remaining risks are acceptable or if they need further action.

Step 4: Record, Plan, Inform and Train            
Record the significant findings from steps 1 to 3 and what actions have or need to be taken as a result.
Prepare any plans or procedures that may be required in order to facilitate the actions
Inform and instruct all relevant people, co-operate with all concerned.
Provide any necessary training that may be required as a result of the assessment.

Step 5: Review
Having carried out the assessments they must be kept relevant, which means that they should be reviewed on a regular basis or when conditions change (such as work practices, new technology, legislation or results of monitoring)
Remember any revisions to the assessments must be communicated to those that need to know the results of those revisions.
Why have we gone to the trouble of doing these risk assessments and putting whatever precautions in place, is it because of our genuine concern for our fellow workers safety, is it because it makes financial sense to do it or is it our legal duty?

The answer is all of the above!

a.     From a humanitarian and moral point of view, we do not want to cause or allow to be caused, harm to anybody
b.    Research shows that investing in risk reduction leads to better company performance.
c.     A good working environment is good business.
d.    Staff feel that they are valued.
e.    Your customers see a company that does it right and cares.
f.      You avoid costs associated with disruption, sickness, investigation, down time, compensation claims, increased insurance premiums and loss of goodwill
g.    And for those companies that cannot see the benefit, there are legal requirements, with quite hefty penalties for non compliance

Remember under step 1 of the risk assessment I said there was a fifth hazard, which was covered under its own legislation, this is Fire!

Potentially this one can be the most destructive, obviously to your staff, the public and visitors, but also to a business.

If your stock and premises are all destroyed, how are you going to trade?

This is why in March 2006 the “Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005” came into force, making it the responsibility of all owners or occupiers of commercial properties, to carry out a Fire Risk Assessment of those premises and put into action any necessary precautions and planning.

For the purpose of the legislation “Commercial” means anything non-domestic, so that includes churches, schools, libraries etc. In fact only military and some government buildings are exempt.

When we carry out our Fire Risk Assessment it’s worth remembering how fire works, for this we use the fire triangle.

 Fire needs 3 elements to exist firstly Fuel (flammable gases, flammable liquids or flammable solids. Secondly Oxygen (The air around us, oxidizing agents and stored oxygen) and finally Ignition (Naked flame, faulty electrical appliances, hot processes and hot machinery)… Remove any one of these and the fire goes out.

We have seen that there are many types of hazards and therefore risks, surrounding our businesses, it is essential then that we Eliminate these risks, if we cannot do this, then we should Reduce the effect of them, and finally Protect against any residual risk.

Remember none of this will work if we do not communicate your findings and plans to those who may be affected.

This way our businesses should be safe environments in which to work, be protected from the disruption and costs that incidents can bring and demonstrate to others that we are responsible and considerate business people.
All of this has to be a cost effective  benefit to all of our businesses, a benefit which you can take to the bank!

If you would like more information, then please contact us at