The Importance of Positive Health and Safety Culture

Published: 30 Jan 2023

An operator of a Lincolnshire Hotel has been ordered to pay more than £250,000 in fines after it failed to comply with a string of health and safety improvement notices.

Due to an enforcement officer noticing damaged electrical cables throughout the kitchen, an improvement notice was issued demanding that any work be inspected and tested by a competent contractor. A follow up inspection found that the work had not been done, as well as observations of numerous other H&S breaches.

In court, the company pleaded guilty to eight charges, including failing to comply with an improvement notice as well as failing to report an accident that occurred on the premises within legally required timeframes.

Even after repeated warnings relating to their health and safety performance, it begs the questions as to why issues were not addressed. There are often a wide range of reasons as to why operators do not comply with health and safety requirements. These include, financial reasons, a specific risk within the premises not having previously caused an accident, a lack of knowledge, a lack of organisation, a weak management structure, a lack of time to deal with H&S amongst many other reasons you can think of!

Below are a few pointers that will lead to improved H&S outcomes:

  • Know your place of work - As a business leader, do you know your premises inside-out? It is important to know what the risks are, where the risks are, and what needs to be done. This process is known as risk assessment.
  • Attitudes of leaders - Are business leaders committed to sufficient H&S performance? Is H&S performance put on the same pedestal in board meetings as marketing, accounts, and employment strategy? Remember, zero tolerance for poor practice at the top filters down.
  • Delegation - Are roles and responsibilities carefully administered throughout the business? Do you have committed H&S champions to manage how the operation is run on the ground?
  •  Set the bar - How is H&S measured? H&S operating policies allow for minimum company standards to be established.
  • Expert advice - Use expert contractors to provide specialist advice, this includes 3rd part auditors, fire risk assessors and water hygiene risk assessors to name a few.
  • Reporting culture - Accidents, incidents and near misses are inevitable. How are these reported and acted upon?

What are the benefits of a positive H&S culture?

  • Happier workforce - feelings of safety and security will lead to improved employee wellbeing and keep employees at work.
  • Reduced insurance premiums.
  • 3rd party accreditation - this can open doors to business growth.
  • Lower staff turnover - a happy workforce are less likely to move on, reducing recruitment costs and keeping hold of the best.
  • Reduced risk of serious incident - Serious incidents are known to destroy businesses financially and reputationally.
  • Reduced risk of enforcement involvement.

It is no secret that safety breaches are leading to greater fines and even prison sentences for responsible individuals.

A positive H&S culture will not only improve business outcomes, but will protect your business from serious incidents, fines and in some cases, prison sentences.

      What is of a greater cost? Implementing a positive H&S culture or a 250K fine?

Contact the team at CSC for advice on how to improve your health & safety practices.