If you have ever looked at some of the questions on a method statement and risk assessment, most of them are common sense. They force the person writing the report to think about and anticipate accidents and to act before something tragic happens.
It should be a no brainer in so many cases, but still it seems we leave the work undone and so we have the inevitable result that there is an increase in fines for H&S failings.
The largest UK fines for health and safety incidents have increased substantially in the past year, with some of the biggest brands in business having to pay millions of pounds for failing to control serious risks to employees and the public.
- 2016 ~ 19 fines of £1m or more – the largest being £5m
- 2015 ~ 3 fines of £1m or more
- 2014 ~ None
These shocking statistics are not the result of greater carelessness, but of legislation to address accidents which could be avoided. The introduction of new sentencing guidelines for health and safety offences was brought on 1 February 2016.
Not every fine in 2016’s largest 20, involved a fatality, with the guidelines deeming that it is enough for a company’s health and safety failings to have caused injury, or put people at substantial risk of injury or death to warrant a penalty.
So, it seems health and safety procedures are just common sense, but most of all it is common sense to write the method statements and do the risk assessments.