A recent fine handed down by the Health and Safety Executive should serve as a reminder to all of us – there does not have to be an accident for a penalty to arrive. There is always a price associated with sloppy edge protection and height safety practices even if nobody is injured. The construction company in question was fined £7,000 for endangering the lives of workers by not fully abiding by the correct height safety regulations.
There was no accident and no injuries were reported. While most of the HSE prosecutions we hear about are associated with the death or serious injury of a worker, in this case there was no specific incident that triggered the action. It was a simple case of inadequate fall protection. The company was not ensuring the safety of its workforce, so they got fined.
It is essential to ensure that your company has the right edge protection and height safety measures in place. Even if your employees are the most careful in the world, things can still go wrong, and even if they don’t, this case shows that any company not operating fully within regulations can feel the consequences. It’s not the first such case and it’s very unlikely to be the last.
A £7,000 fine may not seem like much when compared to the those handed out when someone does get hurt, but no doubt it provided the push this company needed to get its act together. Being caught may not only have saved them from a bigger fine and a court case in the future, it will have made sure every endangered employee will now be safe at work.