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Health and Safety

The Health & Safety group in Grampian has a different set up from the Highland Safety Forum. The Building Interest Group (BIG) is a sub committee of the Grampian Occupational Safety & Health group (GOSH). Visit the GOSH website

REGULATORY SIGNIFICANCE


HSE now operates a Fee for Intervention (FFI) cost recovery scheme, which came into effect on 1 October 2012. Under The Health and Safety (Fees) Regulations 2012, those who break health and safety laws are liable for recovery of HSE’s related costs, including inspection, investigation and taking enforcement action.

http://www.hse.gov.uk/fee-for-intervention/what-is-ffi.htm

It is often said that there are moral, legal and financial reasons for managing HS&W. Adequate protection of an individual’s health, safety and welfare is an important feature of any civilised society. Employers have a duty of care towards everyone affected by their work. This includes employees, contractors, visitors and members of the public. This duty of care is not only a moral imperative but is also a legal one under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 , also referred to as HSWA, HSW Act or HASAWA, is the primary piece of legislation covering occupational health and safety in Great Britain. The Health and Safety Executive with local authorities (and other enforcing authorities) is responsible for enforcing the Act and a number of other Acts and Statutory Instruments relevant to the working environment:

http://www.hse.gov.uk/legislation/hswa.htm

Contravening this Act and the various daughter Regulations constitutes a criminal offence. Penalties include prohibition or improvement notices that can disrupt work; large fines; or, in the worst cases, imprisonment. Civil court cases may also arise through any negligence. In all cases there will be financial consequences. In some cases insurance policies will cover some of the immediate costs of an accident or ill health. However, the uninsured costs include: damage or loss of equipment; loss of production; accident investigation costs; lost work or employees through bad publicity; as well as the obvious fines and legal fees.

A recent development, in legal terms, is the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007. This Act came into force in April 2008 and will create an offence under Scots Law known as corporate homicide. It is expected that the new Act will make it easier to convict companies and other large organisations where serious management failures result in death. Fines are expected to be between 2.5 and 10% of annual turnover, which would greatly exceed current fines. The actions (or omissions) of directors and senior managers will be the main focus of attention under such circumstances. However, individuals cannot be sentenced under the Act. But any investigation could uncover failings of Directors under Section 37 of The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 which does carry criminal liability for individuals.
Conversely, investment in the management of HS&W can dramatically reduce accidents and incidence of ill health which ultimately makes good business sense. Reseach has shown that investing in suitably competent and experienced H&S personnel is good for business.

IOSH – Occupational health is another area where investment can reap rewards for the business as well as workers. However, this has been traditionally an underinvested area for the construction industry. Good advice on occupational health matters for construction is available on HSE’ website, managing occupational health risks in construction:

http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/healthrisks/

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