Health and Safety management and supervision can often be seen to be neglected, with roles and responsibilities often unassigned as well as ‘not my job’ types of attitude being prevalent. A recent case goes to show that this kind of attitude can lead to severe consequences, for the victims and the employer.
In 2020 a UK based groundworks contactor was found to be liable for inadequate supervision. Whilst preparing the site for the structural stage, an employee of the company poured petrol onto a bonfire, leaving his co-worker engulfed in flames as the petrol vapour ignited. The worker suffered serious burns and underwent two skin graft operations to his left hand, left arm, left side of torso and both his legs.
An investigation found that the company had failed to provide employees with appropriate instruction or information to ensure work is carried out safely. The company was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay costs of around £7,000, not to mention the life changing effects to the victim of the incident, as well as the employee who poured petrol onto the fire.
What are the key factors and responsibilities in preventing this kind of incident occurring?
- Risk assessment- Every employer shall make suitable and sufficient assessments of the risk presented to employees and non-employees alike.
- Employers are to provide their employees with comprehensible and relevant information based on the risks to their health and safety provided by the assessments, as well as protective measures in place.
- An employer must appoint one or more competent persons in the assistance of ensuring safety.
- Training- Employers must provide instruction, training, and supervision as far as reasonably practicable to ensure the safety of employees.
The following CSC guides provide further information about the importance of the Health and Safety Policy and Risk Assessments:
Introduction to Risk Assessments
The Health & Safety Policy
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