Welcome to 2017

We at the Wilkins Safety Group would like to wish you all a happy, prosperous and, above all, a safe New Year.

In our forthcoming newsletters we shall endeavour to keep you up-to-date with legislative changes, updates and titbits from the world of health and safety. Like previous years we will keep it informative and relevant and not inundate you with unnecessary advertisements or sales pitches from other companies.  We will keep you informed of upcoming training courses and services available from us. We will also keep you abreast of the 25 yearslatest HSE cases which we hope make you think about your business and what you can do to improve things.

Celebrating 25 Years – Yes, I set up the Wilkins Safety Group in January 1992 so we are now 25 Years old and the business has grown especially over the last two years. I feel that we have all the ingredients in place, the last couple of years have been phenomenal for our business and I look forward to us being able to grow the business further and build on our achievements to date.

As an organisation we look forward to working with you during this forthcoming year to assist in ensuring you and your company attains compliance with health and safety legislation, then maintaining that compliance.

This week’s 1 recent HSE case look at A UK subsidiary of US Energy Corporation who failed in their appeal against a £3m fine

As ever, if you have a subject that you would like us to cover one week, please contact us by phone 01458 253682, email or via our Facebook page or by Twitter

Health & Safety predictions for 2017.

To start 2017 I thought that I would give you the predictions for the year from the HSE Chair and some of my own thoughts. Especially considering such things as Trump, Brexit, Health and the Sentencing Guidelines.

Martin Temple, chair of Health and Safety Executive

Martin Temple

“In 2017, HSE will encourage more of Britain’s workforce to sign up to the long term benefits offered by the Help GB work well strategy commitment to deliver safer and healthier workplaces. The importance of tackling ill heath in the workplace cannot be overstated and will form a cornerstone of the work HSE and industry focuses on in the coming years, not just 2017.

“A lot of good work has already been done on health, but it needs to have the same priority as safety. For example in the construction industry, the number of workers suffering work-related ill-health each year is of a similar order to the number of workers in construction injured in workplace accidents.

“With the launch of a new Health and Work strategy, HSE will demonstrate the Government’s commitment to tackling ill-health in the workplace. The preventative work of HSE and industry bodies will be a key component of this overall approach.

“HSE is currently building a strong platform for change with many organisations, sharing a common aim of Helping Great Britain Work Well while also driving home the message and convincing business that health and safety is an enabler, not a burden.

“HSE will also be looking to think beyond the improvements made to simplify its legislation and guidance during the last Parliament.  We need to find and tackle unnecessary burdens on business that others create. The popular Mythbusters campaign will remain an important foundation for this, and I’m pleased to become the Chair of the Challenge Panel.

“We will be looking at blue tape and how it can be tackled – requirements that may have good intentions, but that can be prescriptive or go further than legislation and guidance.  It’s something I feel strongly that we have to attempt to tackle, however challenging it may be.

“We want all small businesses to know how to manage health and safety risk effectively and proportionately – allowing them to be more productive and safer.”

Brexit, Trump and EU regulation

Well 2016 saw the UK vote for Brexit which is generally reported as being a rise in anti-immigrant sentiment. This year we will see a businessman/reality TV star become the President of the United States of America. All of which are likely to affect political regimes all over the world.

So, what will this mean for health and safety?

People are at the very core of every successful business.  The political changes are likely to affect the availability of skilled labour from outside the UK, so businesses will need an increased focus on supporting and developing their workforce.

The population is ageing and pension changes mean that people are retiring later. Consequently, management of health issues will become of key importance. Likewise, there is also a need to support and develop young people as they enter the workforce. Employers must start to embed a positive and effective approach to health and safety early in their working lives.

Remember, most UK health and safety law derived from EU Directives has been in place for many years and are embedded in company investment decisions, company policies, management systems, safe systems of work and working practices. So it is very unlikely that anything will be repealed.

More emphasis from the HSE on the health and well being of people at work.

Health issues will continue to dominate the regulatory landscape however safety maturity and human factors will creep up the agenda. Larger organisations are currently most keen to understand why things can still go wrong despite having seemingly extensive and robust health and safety management systems.

Many other smaller operations could also benefit from the same analysis. This has the potential to deliver significant benefits both for individuals and organisations keen to protect their most important asset.

As this is an emerging issue, we at Wilkins Safety Group intend to develop a bank of guidance and good practice material to inform and support businesses in this area.

The new European PPE Regulation, which moves hearing protection from category 2 to category 3 (the highest risk category), is an important step in revaluating the importance of hearing protection. Hearing loss is less visible than other injuries and some workers already suffer from hearing loss caused by recreational exposures.

Businesses will need to assess workers’ hearing at the outset. They will also need to raise awareness of hearing conservation among workers; minimise exposure time and noise levels; and identify the most effective product to maintain hearing conservation.

Careful management of the PPE Regulation’s one-year transition period will also be critical. During this time, products that meet both the current EU Directive and the forthcoming regulation will exist on the market, which may cause confusion for end users. Manufacturers need to educate customers so that they understand the transition process and changes in regulatory requirements.

The New Sentencing Guidelines

The new sentencing guidelines that took effect last February have had a dramatic impact upon sentencing for health and safety offences.  Multi-million pound fines have been imposed upon companies for non-fatal as well as fatal incidents and more individuals have received immediate or suspended custodial sentences

2016 saw the introduction of ‘Better Case Management’ in the Crown Courts which aims to reduce the number of hearings required. Consequently, defendants are expected to identify the issues they dispute early on. In 2017 new guidelines will mean the full third discount in sentence is only available if a guilty plea is entered at the first appearance in the magistrates’ court.

“These changes taken as a whole mean that duty holders in the wake of an incident can no longer take a ‘wait and see’ approach.  They need to be proactive in their investigation and preparation so that if a prosecution ensues they are ready to respond.

Continued Training

Health and Safety training is increasingly important. All too often the HSE, when visiting a business, find that many of the problems found are caused by a lack of training, either of the workforce or the management. Consequently, you must ensure that you are giving your workforce, from you down, the latest health and safety training. Remember, most courses and training certificates only last for 3 – 5 years. After that they must be redone to ensure that they cover the latest regulations.

You should also be giving your workforce regular “Toolbox Talks” to reinforce their main training and to try and stop them returning to old habits.

Companies need to recognise that accidents have a major impact on productivity. Accidents kill more children, young people and young parents than anything else. They are the biggest cause of death up to age 39, and indeed the biggest cause of preventable death up to the age of 72.

Instead of a debilitating culture of risk aversion, you should be promoting an enabling culture of risk awareness/risk management to prevent accidents and the life-changing injuries that they cause.

If you need any help with any of these areas or want any template documents, then please call us to discuss your needs. We intend to expand our range over the year.

But even more than that, you are also expected to train employees on the Health and Safety that they need to carry out their job properly and safely.

Training CoursesTraining room

We shall be running new courses again in 2017 and the dates and details of forthcoming courses will be published here each week.

But remember we are still available for running “In House” courses and are looking to add new training courses to our list.

If you have any questions about these courses or any other training or would like us to run a particular course for you, call Jon Wilkins of the Wilkins Safety Group on 01458 253682 or email him.