Failure to have risk assessments led to £1.2m fine

Risk assessment is one of the most important things an employer can do. Take our five-question test to see if you are compliant.

A waste recycling company was ordered to pay over £1 million after an employee received a fatal injury.

In 2016, a 22-year-old tripped and fell under the wheels of a refuse lorry and sustained fatal injuries.

Investigators found that a proper risk assessment had not been carried out and there was a failure in the level of supervision.

Enterprise Managed Services admitted breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act. The company was fined £1.2m and ordered to pay costs of over £60,000.

This tragic incident led to the death of a young man

HSE Inspector, Michelle Morrison, said: “This tragic incident led to the death of a young man, which could so easily have been avoided by simply carrying out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment and identifying where reversing could be avoided.”

Those in control of workplaces are responsible for identifying and implementing suitable methods of work to reduce or minimise risk. The process of risk assessment is so incredibly important.

Take our five-question test

Take our five-question test to see if you have ‘suitable and sufficient’ risk assessments in place.

1. Have you identified a list of work activities that might need a risk assessment?

2. Do you have a risk assessment register, which identifies the assessments you need to keep up-to-date?

3. Have you carried out a risk assessment for each activity mentioned above and does the risk assessment include a description of hazards and the controls that are needed to reduce the risk?

4. Have you communicated the findings of the risk assessments to your employees and to your contractors?

5. Do you keep the risk assessments up-to-date and amend them if there are changes to work activities or changes to legislation?

If you answered “yes” to all five question, you are in good shape. However, if you were not able to answer “yes” to any of the questions, your business could be at risk.

If you need advice about risk assessment, or any other aspect of health, safety, environment or wellbeing, please get in contact.

Get your FREE health and safety questionnaire

Have you ever wondered what shape your business is in regarding health, safety, environment and wellbeing?

We have developed a simple questionnaire that businesses can use to check how compliant they are. The 20 questions are simple to answer and will give business owners an idea of where they stand in relation to health and safety.

Send for your FREE questionnaire.

Historical buildings don’t necessarily present a problem to fire safety

I had the absolute pleasure last week to carry out a fire risk assessment of a very old building in Aberdeenshire.

Lickleyhead Castle was constructed in the 1600s. The original estate was owned by Clan Leslie but it was sold to Patrick Duff of Craigston who extended the building in 1723.

In 1922, Don Guillermo de Landa y Escandon, the Governor of Mexico City, purchased the castle for his daughter Maria Luiz. Maria married a Leslie and her great granddaughter, Rose Leslie, lived at Lickleyhead as a child. Her father, Sebastian Leslie, inherited the castle but he had to sell the property in 2018 when ordered by the courts for failing to pay council tax.

Rose Leslie is an actress, rising to fame as Gwen Dawson in the ITV drama Downton Abbey and as Ygritte in the HBO series Game of Thrones.

The property was purchased by the Davies family, and it is their intention to turn the building into holiday accommodation. I must say, their approach to safety is second to none because they have spared no effort improving the premises, including upgrading fire safety precautions.

As you can imagine, Lickleyhead Castle is a complex structure, and it comes with challenges regarding fire safety. However, with a little bit of patience and by taking a pragmatic approach, we were able to agree on improvements.

Fire doors were interesting! None of the seven bedrooms have fire doors, hardly surprising given that the doors are hundreds of years old. The last thing anyone would want is to replace those historic stunning doors with modern fire doors. And why should they, because those doors are solid and would most likely hold back a fire much longer than FD60-rated doors.

Several of the doors in the castle had very ancient self-closing devices. I am not sure how old they were but they must be getting on for 80 years old. No need to replace those with modern self-closing devices, because they do the job just fine.

Emergency lighting and the fire alarm system needed upgrading but it was possible to keep the units discretely positioned. There were a few tweaks needed to improve general security but nothing that would present an issue.

I hope the Davies family enjoy their new business venture and I wish them all the success.

how cool would it be to rent the castle for a holiday and perhaps stay in the room where young Rose played as a child.