As it’s Halloween and ghosts and ghouls are ready to grace our screens and prowl our streets, we got talking to our consultants to hear their ‘scary stories’ in health and safety and took a look at some of the ‘spooky headlines’ that we have seen on regulatory websites in recent weeks….
Scary headlines – fact, not fiction
- Metal company fined after worker loses foot – UK
- Mine deaths skyrocket at Impala Platinum’s Mine in Rustenburg – South Africa
- Syracuse roofing contractor again exposes workers to fall hazards: OSHA – US
- Fatal crane tragedy: DOSH issues ‘stop work order’ on construction site – Malaysia
Unfortunately, it’s not just at this time of year we hear stories like this….it’s all too often, in developed and developing labour markets all over the world. Each week, throughout the year, the HSE media centre in the UK, OSHA in the US, the Department of Labour in South Africa and other regulatory bodies the world over feature headlines of this nature….many of which could sadly have been prevented.
The safety of employees is in our hands: a duty of care
Employers have a legal responsibility to protect their employees from a range of dangers and under occupational health and safety legislation, the onus is on employers to carry out due diligence by conducting workplace hazard assessments (amongst other things) and implementing effective control measures to remedy any hazards that might have been identified as part of this process.
Are you carrying out health and safety due diligence in your workplace?
If not, you should be. In the case of a workplace accident or incident, you will need to be able to provide clear and evidence-based due diligence defence – as proof that you did all you could (reasonably be expected to do) to prevent the occurrence of said incident in the first place.
Due diligence defence consists of three factors:
- Foreseeability – whether or not a reasonable person could have foreseen that something could happen.
- Preventability – was there an opportunity to prevent the injury or incident?
- Control – who was the responsible person present who could have prevented the incident?
It is the above three factors that will be looked at should an accident occur in your workplace and need further investigation, but the key to due diligence defence is an employer’s actions before – and not after – an accident or injury occurs in the workplace. Keep an eye out for our upcoming post on due diligence in the workplace.
As it’s Halloween, we’ve linked a gory poem found in a HSfB thread entitle ‘No PPE for Me’. Be warned…although it’s ‘tongue-in-cheek’ (with a very serious underlying topic at it’s core), if you’re not of the ‘strong-stomach-brigade’, you might want to miss this one! Click to read.
On a more personal note, you can make this year’s holiday a safe one by following a few simple safety tips with our useful infographic.
Keep Halloween Happy folks!