25 Mar 2011
Leaked Health and Safety Executive letter reveals budget cut impact. London, 22 March 2011 – Despite alleged impending budget cuts within the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), businesses that flout health and safety laws could still be heading for trouble, warns Croner. News from a leaked letter by the HSE reveals the impact that budget cuts will have on its capability to carry out its statutory enforcement responsibilities. Commenting on the leak Stephen Thomas, Safety Technical Consultant at Croner, says: "Fewer inspections may well result in a more blasé attitude to health and safety, in particular among SMEs who, due to a lack of experience, knowledge or in-house safety expertise, may take a more passive approach to safety. If there is little or no proactive enforcement then they have less of a reason to comply with the law - let alone adopt industry best practice standards. "Furthermore Croner believes that the current drive for a laissez-faire attitude to health and safety could ultimately lead to more workplace accidents and ill-health, especially in 'low risk' industries where inspections are due to be cut back. "The pitfalls of not effectively managing health and safety remain, not just the obvious ones such as fines and legal fees but also hidden costs such as increased insurance premiums, damage to business reputation, losing client contracts, production time lost, temporary employee costs, maintenance and repair costs and poor workforce morale. "Ultimately employers must remember that health and safety law has not been relaxed and the recent prosecution of Cotswold Geotechnical Holdings for corporate manslaughter should act as a timely reminder to those businesses that flout health and safety laws. What business can afford to take a £385,000 chance and risk harming their most valuable asset – their employees?" The law requires businesses: • To have a written health and safety policy, if they employ five people or more • To have written risk assessments • To provide suitable safety training for all employees • Designate appropriate health and safety budgets for their organisation • To appoint competent persons (ie people with suitable qualifications, training and experience) Croner offers a variety health and safety services to help businesses of all sizes comply with the latest legislation.
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