The Price of Health and Safety Non-Compliance in Construction
Posted by Ian Bolton
Complying with health and safety regulations in the workplace is a statutory duty for all organisations, but beyond this, it also has business benefits as non-compliance is accompanied by hefty fines and the equivalent of millions lost due to sick days and long-term absences due to work-related illnesses or injuries.
While the financial benefits of good health and safety practices apply to any organisation, in recent weeks, several construction companies demonstrated the financial impact of non-compliance by receiving fines far greater than what it would have cost to provide the appropriate training to staff.
In December 2019, the Health and Safety Executive published several news pieces on fines that were enforced on construction companies for their lack of compliance and failure to provide adequate safety measures.
The first construction company to be named and shamed for their disregard of HSE notices was All Type Electrical and Building Limited. The London based company was served with multiple Prohibition Notices and Improvement Notices, all of which were ignored by the directors. As a result of this, the company received a £60,000 fine – something that could have been avoided had they passed the initial HSE inspections, or complied with the Prohibition Notices and Improvement Notices.
In more serious cases, the failure to carry out a proper risk assessment and provide appropriate protection can result in injuries or even fatalities. One such case was that of Pearson Property Development Ltd. After a self-employed joiner suffered a serious eye injury, an investigation by the HSE revealed that the construction site had not taken all the necessary safety precautions to assess the competency of staff before they began erecting scaffolding on the site. Along with a lack of proper supervision, this created an unsafe working environment which ultimately lead to the incident. Having breached health and safety regulations, the company was prosecuted and fined £10,000. Again, this fine as well as the original accident, could have been avoided had proper safety procedures been followed and employees trained on safe working practices.
The fines handed out to the organisations in the cases mentioned above, and many similar instances of non-compliance could have easily been avoided had organisations fulfilled their statutory duty to safeguard their employees.
Not only can health and safety training help minimise the likelihood of accidents and injuries, but it also costs far less than the fines incurred for non-compliance’s.
A number of the Praxis42 eLearning courses are ideal for organisations in the construction industry as they cover a wide range of relevant topics from driver awareness to manual handling training. We also offer the , a type of health and safety awareness training which construction site workers are commonly required to complete before being allowed on site.