On our blog recently we have talked a lot about the importance of health and safety and ensuring that precautions are taken to create the safest working environment for contractors possible. From health and safety assessments, to training, there’s a lot that can be done to mitigate risk for workers, but what happens when protocol isn’t followed correctly?
Altius’ Managing Director, Gary Plant said:
“Many businesses make the mistake of thinking that ‘it won’t happen to us’. Every business that has experienced an incident wishes they had followed the protocols rather than taking the risk. The consequences are often devastating for the business and the people involved.
The fines are bad enough but the time lost and guilt experienced are usually much worse. Then there’s the reputational damage and cost of rebuilding customer and staff confidence. We’ve seen organisations investigated who have done all the right things, and some that have not and we know whose shoes we’d want to be in!”
Here are the top examples of safety issues OSHA have issued fines to contractors for in 2016, as revealed by the Safety Services Company.
Number of inspections: 1783
Number of citations: 2362
Total amount fined: £948,817.69
Average fine: £531.74
Working at height can be dangerous if the relevant safety procedures are not set out and followed prior to carrying out the work. In the past ladders have been used where other equipment such as scaffolding would have been more appropriate. Always carry out a risk assessment and assess if the equipment is right for the task at hand and then follow up with control measures such as method statements, PPE and staff training.
2. Aerial lifts
Number of inspections: 1259
Number of citations: 1432
Total amount fined: £921819.49
Average fine: £732.09
Only contractors qualified in the practices of aerial lifts should be involved in any hoisting or lifting operation. Before any lifts begin, all involved parties need to meet to review the plan, which should include a detailed sketch of the process and will act as a visual guide.
3. Fall protection
Number of inspections: 4667
Number of citations: 5148
Total amount fined: £4,127,123.16
Average fine: £883.69
Working at height can be very dangerous, and not taking precautions to protect contractors can mean that you’ll get a hefty fine. OSHA take fall protection seriously, and by not using safe practices, not properly training employees in the use of fall protection equipment, or by not constructing or installing safety equipment – you could be fined, or worse.
4. Specific excavation requirements
Number of inspections: 770
Number of citations: 1362
Total amount fined: £1,238,148.68
Average fine: £1,607.40
Due to the dangerous nature of excavation projects, the risks can change daily, or even hourly. Precautions must always be maintained at an excavation site, and supports or battening must be inspected by a competent person at the start of each working shift, and at other specified times. No work should take place unless the site is safe.
5. General requirements
Number of inspections: 3025
Number of citations: 8147
Total Amount Fined: £5,029,179.26
Average Fine: 1,662.25
The average site is constantly changing for contractors, and with it, so are the risks. With every change, a new health and safety assessment should be conducted to highlight if there are further measures that need to be taken to protect contractors. The extra time it takes to create safe work practices are well worth the effort.
Self-assess your management of contractors
How well are you managing your contractors and their safety? Why not put your management skills to the test and download Managing your subcontractors: A self-assessment guide. The results of this assessment will highlight areas where you will need to pay further attention and offer advice for contractor management.