You may have heard the saying: “If you think safety is expensive, try an accident!” The cost of getting health and safety wrong can be sky high from fees, penalties and fines, to insurance pay outs, loss of work time and damaged equipment or products. Not to mention your moral responsibility to protect people working in or customers visiting your dealership. Find out our three easy steps to profitable health and safety.
1. Avoid FFI (Fee For Intervention)
Fee for Intervention (FFI) was introduced in 2012 and allows the HSE to charge firms for the time its inspectors take to identify any material breaches in health and safety regulations, all at a cost of £129 per hour. The revenue generated from FFI by the end of January 2014 cost UK businesses over £10.6m.
Avoiding these costly fees and fines isn’t rocket science. Success starts with a written health and safety policy, proactive assessment and management of health and safety risks and sourcing expert support to ensure compliance with regulations.
How to avoid fines, penalties and improvement or prohibition notices
A structured health and safety management plan is vital to ensure compliance with health and safety laws. It should include the following:
• An appointed health and safety person either internal or an external professional
• A regularly reviewed health and safety policy which meets current legal requirements and best practice
• Regularly reviewed written risk assessments of all activities that may affect the health and safety of employees and visitors
• Health and safety training for staff that is formally recorded
• Safe working practices for hazardous processes
• Regular health and safety audits of the work environment, systems, procedures and documentation
• A system for recording and investigating accidents or incidents
2. Maintain your standards
Health and safety is both your legal and moral responsibility as a business owner. It should be part of the everyday process of running your business and an integral part of workplace behaviours and attitudes. Effectively managing for health and safety is simple, it requires just two core elements:
1. Leadership and management
Health and safety should be built into the core of your dealership leader’s responsibilities and management should be sustained and systematic containing the following steps:
• Plan: say what you want to happen
• Do: make sure there are systems in place to provide the tools and equipment to do the job
• Check: make sure the work is being done safely
• Act and learn: listen to problems and successes and make improvements.
To maintain standards, put in place management systems that include:
• periodic health assessments
• monitoring sick absences
• line management supervision
• accurate accident and near-miss reporting
2. A trained/skilled workforce operating in an environment where people are trusted and involved
Skills and knowledge can deteriorate over time so to reinforce good practice, you need a system that will:
• regularly assess your workers’ ability
• maintain agreed health standards
• respond to the changing needs of individuals
Supervision is pivotal to help you understand your worker’s skills and knowledge. Ask yourself:
• Who will supervise each worker?
• How will the worker be supervised?
• Who will the supervisor report to?
Creating a positive health and safety culture will ensure you maintain the standards required to avoid FFI and protect anyone working in or visiting your business.
3. Ensure contractors meet your internal standards
Using contractors is common in dealership businesses, for maintenance, repairs, installation, construction, demolition and many other jobs. However, many accidents involve contractors as they often don’t follow the same rules and processes as you.
Sometimes you may have more than one contractor on site. You need to think about how their work may affect each other and how they interact with your activities. Clearly, in these circumstances there is more chance of something being overlooked.
To manage contractors effectively follow our simple five step process:
Step 1: Planning
• Define the job
• Identify hazards
• Assess risks
• Eliminate and reduce the risks
• Specify health and safety conditions
• Discuss with contractor (if selected)
Step 2: Choosing a contractor
• What safety and technical competence is needed?
• Ask questions
• Get evidence
• Explain the job and the site, including site rules
• Ask for a safety method statement
• Decide whether subcontracting is acceptable. If so, how will health and safety be ensured?
Step 3: Contractors working on site
• All contractors sign in and out
• Name a site contact
• Reinforce health and safety information and site rules
• Check the job and allow work to begin
Step 4: Keeping a check
• Assess the degree of contact needed
• Monitor progress:
o Is the job going as planned e.g. using necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) according to the conditions of the permit-to-work system (PTW)??
o Is the contractor working safely and as agreed?
o Have there been any incidents?
o Has there been a change in personnel?
o Are any special arrangements required e.g. due to changes in timing, out of hours or weekend work??
o Have any problems arisen which mean you need to rethink the job?
Step 5: Reviewing the work
• Review the job and contractor
• How effective was your planning?
• How did the contractor perform?
• How did the job go?
• Record the lessons
Effective health and safety is based on effective leadership, thorough processes and consistent standards. Though health and safety can be considered expensive, effective management can not only eliminate the costs of getting it wrong, but also help your business increase productivity through a healthy and engaged workforce.
To find out more about managing health and safety effectively in the motor trade, get in touch by calling 0161 486 5020, 0203 1264 997 or emailing us at [email protected].