Health and safety in the workplace advice from Rollits

We had a chat with John Ashworth, a Senior Solicitor in the Dispute Resolution Team at Rollits, about how businesses can remain compliant in regard to H&S.

“There’s a myriad of jobs out there that can be physically stressful or mentally draining, but not many of them come with the same risks which workers faced a couple of hundred years ago,” said John. “Thanks to new safety technology, and better training, as well as the introduction of new legislation and accompanying regulations, workers are safer than ever before.

“Most of the current health and safety practices enjoyed by workers today stem from the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, although laws do keep changing as processes and sectors evolve.”

John explained that it’s imperative to remain proactive and meticulous when it comes to a company’s health and safety. Some businesses are simply reactive and have to deal with a situation when something has gone wrong, yet there are numerous ways to embed a strong company culture that focuses on the health and safety of employees, site visitors and the general public.

“Health and safety legislation can be seen as ‘over the top’ but it’s always in the best interests of the worker and the public,” said John. “Prevention is better than cure, which is why Rollits offers training to business owners and senior personnel, focusing on compliance with relevant legislation. We can also assist individuals and businesses with issues when something goes wrong, helping to make the legal process a lot smoother and easier to navigate.”

As well as working with commercial and industrial businesses, Rollits specialises in supporting those who work within the agricultural sector, which has one of the highest death rates of any industry.

Rollits regularly holds seminars and provides in-depth training for business owners and senior personnel to ensure everyone, whether employees, contractors or visitors working on site and those working remotely, can remain safe in their role.

By staying on top of the latest regulations and ensuring that all staff are fully inducted, trained and have access to H&S resources, a business can remain compliant, agile and competitive.

“A common misconception is that health and safety is entirely the employer’s responsibility, but employees have a duty to look after their own welfare, as well as that of their colleagues and the public,” added John. “If a health and safety breach occurs, it’s not just the business that could potentially face the consequences.

“Depending on the scale and nature of the accident, it could also affect the company’s reputation, which in turn can cause reduced business and put jobs at risk. In the worst-case scenario, a significant health and safety incident could end up with someone receiving a prison sentence.

“Needless to say, health and safety should never be taken lightly and all relevant policies and procedures should be followed by every employee.”

As well as protecting people, health and safety best practice enables a business to remain ready for an audit, builds a company’s reputation, and gives employees the peace of mind that they’re working in safe and responsible environments. 

“From a financial perspective, it’s important to remember that the costs implication of a health and safety prosecution can sometimes be greater than the actual fines imposed for a failure to comply. It is therefore important that if faced with a potential health and safety breach, initial advice is taken at an early stage to determine how best to proceed.

Rollits is a member of the Humberside Occupational Health & Safety Group. Their Regulatory Team has experts who offer health and safety training as well as support in the event of a health and safety breach. To find out more, get in touch for fully tailored advice and support.