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Findings from 2013 Safety and Health Expo Survey

Posted by Tracy Seward

Praxis42 sponsored this year’s Platinum Lounge at the Safety and Health Expo at the Birmingham NEC and took the opportunity to ask senior health and safety leaders about the challenges they face in ensuring compliance. The aim of the project was to establish what really concerns those responsible for managing compliance across a large property portfolio by asking three questions. Almost 100 professionals from various sectors took part in the survey and provided valuable anecdotal supporting information.

The first question focused specifically on managing typical workplace hazards, how they ranked them in importance and the priority given to controlling the risk. The list below shows the responses given in order of frequency:

  1. Slips, Trips and Falls (STF)
  2. Fire Safety Management
  3. Management of Contractors
  4. Working at Height
  5. Electrical Safety
  6. Display Screen Equipment
  7. Management of Asbestos
  8. Access to Goods and Services – Accessibility

The result that STF was perceived as the biggest risk management issue supports the Health and Safety Executive statistics, insurance industry evidence and probably the experience of participants in the survey. Fire Safety Management is an ever present risk and if an organisation has a large property portfolio or they manage certain high risk processes then fire life and property safety will be a priority. The Management of Contractors is a complex risk to manage successfully and in some sectors could be the number one risk for an organisation. Many participants selected several areas as having equal priority.

The second question attempted to establish how important audit and inspection was to an organisation’s compliance approach and as part of the management system. 92% of participants stated that ensuring compliance through inspection was essential. The remaining 8% felt it was very important. All participants therefore recognised that audit and inspection forms an essential element of their health and safety management system. This finding is in line with best practice, guidance such as ‘Successful Health and Safety Management’ (HSG65) and other management standards.

The third question looked at how audit and inspection was conducted within organisations and by whom. The engagement of external resource exclusively or in a combination of external and internal resources was favoured by 56% of participants. Supporting conversations showed there was some common thinking that external auditing provides independent objective verification giving unbiased recommendations for improvement. Internal audits were used by 35% of participants with 9% relying on management self compliance declarations. No participants in the survey reported that they did not carry out any form of compliance measurement.


The survey identified that there are common compliance risks being addressed across organisations with large property portfolios and that the perceived management priority of risk mirrors national statistics and what practitioners would typically understand. Health and safety leaders are not simply content with setting health and safety standards and policies; they understand the importance of checking that they are in place and being measured in a proactive way.

While the findings confirm what was anticipated, the supporting conversations highlighted the need for compliance solutions to be pragmatic, simple to administer, provide meaningful metrics and to be consistent across the whole organisation.

Praxis42 has developed a number of services aimed at supporting customers to achieve their compliance goals across multiple sites or large property portfolios. This study has helped to confirm our thoughts that each customer offering should be tailored to fit the culture of their organisation. To find out more about how Praxis42 can help you with your compliance management, whether it be specifics such as Fire Risk Assessments or helping you with your  audit and inspection programme, please call 0870 4464201 to discuss your needs with one of our Directors or visit www.praxis42.com.

For additional information on this study or to discuss it further please email help@praxis42.com

Finally, we would like to thank all those who joined us in the Platinum Lounge at the Safety and Health Expo, especially those who took part in our survey. We hope you find these results useful and they either give you peace of mind that you are on the right path or they give you something to consider going forward.

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