This phrase, or variations thereof, echo in post-incident investigations and prosecutions carried out by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. Sometimes, employers and workers alike cut corners, inadvertently jeopardising safety. Yet, the consequences of complacency can be severe, ranging from injury and loss of life to substantial financial penalties. Human nature often breeds a belief in our immunity to mishaps. This mindset fosters a tolerance for inadequate planning, risk assessment, and risk mitigation. But, as we all know, accidents and consequences do not discriminate.
Today, the core tenet and legal requirement of health and safety across all sectors is that employers must provide a safe working environment – risk assessment is an essential tool in achieving this goal. Yet, for risk managers, persuading staff and contractors to prioritise planning and risk preparation can feel like an uphill battle.
It is worth bearing in mind the potential repercussions of non-compliance. For cases tried in magistrate’s courts, organisations may face fines ranging from £5,000 to £20,000. However, for cases tried in Crown Court, fines are unlimited. Courts may also mandate defendants to cover additional legal expenses, victim surcharges and compensations for those affected.