How much money has your business invested in ensuring that you adhere to rules and regulations set in place by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE)? Did you know that in 2016 almost £32.5 million fines were issued by the HSE across the UK alone?! In fact, the average fine was over £112,000! Of all the fines issued, over half were to companies in the manufacturing industry, followed by extractive and utility supply companies. To be this into stark perspective, the average cost of health and safety compliance is between £5-40,000 for a UK based SME, meaning that by implementing thorough health and safety regulations, the average SME could be saving up to £75,000 by avoiding HSE fines.
According to reports by the HSE, they expect that small to medium sized businesses can expect to pay up to £40,000 per year to remain health and safety compliant. These costs typical cover the maintenance of a formal health and safety system, insurance, plus any compensation for a designated health and safety role or person. However, for larger businesses, the costs of compliance can be a lot higher, but then so can the fines and consequences if HSE regulations aren’t correctly implemented.
Over the past few years, the HSE have considerably increased the size of fines in the UK and are only getting tougher. Back in 2016, new sentencing guidelines were introduced which increased the maximum fine threshold to £10 million!
You can avoid fines and repercussions by the HSE by ensure that your business has a structured health and safety management plan in place. A comprehensive health and safety plan for a SME business should include the following: an appointed health and safety person, either internally or an external profession; a health and safety policy which meets current legal and best practice requirements (and should be regularly reviewed); written risk assessments of activities which may affect the health and safety of both employees and visitors; provide and record health and safety training for all of your employees; develop safe working practices where hazardous processes exist; have a system in place for recording and investigating any accidents or incidents; carry out regular health and safety audits of the work environment as well as systems, procedures and documentation.