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One in four firms flout health and safety rules

One in four small businesses bosses fears fines for flouting health and safety laws, according to a recent survey.

With an ever-thickening rulebook of new regulations, checklists and risk assessments for the work place and events, a lot of small business owners cannot afford the time or money to keep up with the latest changes.

They also face a double-whammy of voiding their business insurance by failing to maintain health and safety standards, that means they would have to dig any compensation out of their own pocket if a worker took them to court as a result of incurring an injury at work. The Forum of Private Business survey disclosed that following the Health and Safety Executive’s workplace strategy was introduced, 25% of small business owners are worried about prosecution for keeping poor standards.

By law, employers have a legal responsibility to protect the health and safety of staff and other people – such as customers and members of the public – who may be affected by their work.

Employers have a legal obligation to:

    * Make the workplace safe and eliminate or control health risks

    * Ensure plant and machinery are safe and safety systems of work are set and followed

    * Ensure articles and substances are moved, stored and used safely

    * Provide adequate welfare facilities

    * Give workers the information, instruction, communication and welfare necessary for their health and safety

    * Consult workers on health and safety matters

Only this week, the HSE has warned employers about failing in responsibilities towards workers after a series of prosecutions of firms over deaths and injuries.

“These prosecutions should serve as a warning to all employers, large and small, to make sure they know what their health and safety obligations and that proper processes should be maintained to make sure they are imposed,” said an HSE spokesman.

“Just because a firm may only have two or three employees does not make their obligation to those employees any less than those of a much larger organisation.”


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