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HS & E

Health, Safety and Environment…

Health, safety and environment… three little words that often bring out all sorts of negative reactions in people, ranging from dread and fear to anger at the thought a health, safety and environment professional is going to tell you, you are doing your job wrong!

Here at Sandford Hodges, we do things a bit differently. We facilitate safe and environmentally responsible working within your business. More than that, we partner with businesses to grow safe and prosperous companies…

There are many reasons why businesses should care about the health and safety of its employees and those that it comes into contact with through its business activities, and the environment they work in. However, they can be roughly broken down into three main areas; legal, moral and financial.

Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, employers have a duty of care to their employees, and those they come into contact with through their business undertakings. Put simply, businesses are responsible for ensuring their acts do not affect the health and safety of others. For businesses with more than 5 employees, this includes having a written health and safety policy which includes a statement of intent, an organisation for health and safety, and arrangements for health and safety. This is often referred to as a Health and Safety Management System (HSMS).

The Environmental Protection Act, 1990 also places responsibilities on businesses with regards to pollution of the environment, be that air, land or water. The Environmental Protection Act requires businesses to manage their impacts on the environment. Failure to have these health, safety and environment management systems in place can lead to prosecution or even a custodial sentence for directors if it can be found that the lack of management has led to injury, death or contamination of the environment.

 

Morally we should ensure all employees go home from work safely, and that the environment remains unspoilt for others to enjoy, for future generations. No one should suffer a serious injury or death from going to work, and no business activity should cause a detrimental effect on the environment.

Effective health safety and environmental management systems keep people safe, protect the environment and make employees feel valued. This leads to a positive business reputation, less staff turnover and greater productivity, reducing costs to a business and often improving output and efficiency.

Financially the cost of health, safety and environment infringements can be huge. These costs include fines, civil claims, sick pay, hiring and training costs, decreased production, time and costs for incident investigation, increased insurance premiums and damage to business reputation. It is estimated that for every £1 of insured costs, there are £8-£36 of uninsured costs from health, safety and environment violations. Taking the time to ensure you have an effective health, safety and environment management systems greatly reduces the likelihood of these financial burdens.

Businesses with robust health, safety and environmental management systems are also more attractive to their customers, as the risks of doing business are greatly reduced. This is a great selling point! So, why not take a look at your management system and ask yourself if it is effective in managing the health, safety and environmental risks of your business. With effective review and audit processes, there are often opportunities for improvement which will benefit your business.

If you require more information on setting up your health, safety and environment management system, or you need help with reviewing and auditing your existing health, safety and environment management system, please contact us today for a free consultation and to find out how we can help you.

Jenny Sandford is Director of Health & Safety and Environmental Consultants Sandford Hodges