5 of the most expensive compliance blunders in 2017

5 of the most expensive compliance blunders in 2017

Whether you’re a CEO of a large global supermarket or an owner of a small convenience store, failing to be compliant can cost you millions of pounds in fines. Here are some of the worst examples from 2017.

When it comes to safeguarding your business, customers and employees, it’s vital to consider your legal obligations regarding health and safety, environmental, quality and security compliance.

Failure to do this can not only tarnish the reputation of your business and put people’s lives at risk, but also result in a sizeable fine.

So, if you’re thinking about cutting corners or believe you need to tighten up on certain procedures, you may want to take a look at this list first.

 

One Stop – £250k fine

Fareham Borough Council successfully prosecuted One Stop Ltd for health and safety failures last year, costing the chain of convenience stores £250k.

The incident occurred back in September 2016, when a customer sustained serious injuries after tripping over a pothole on the forecourt.

The Environmental Health Officers revealed that the local store had numerous opportunities to repair the pothole, but failed to do so. An easy fix resulting in a big fine.

 

Iceland Foods – £2.5 million fine

Frozen food giants, Iceland, faced a staggering £2.5 million fine after a fatal accident occurred at one of their stores in Rotherham.

On 28 October 2013, a contractor visited the store to replace the filters within an air conditioning unit situated in the warehouse on a plant platform above a suspended ceiling.

Unfortunately, the contractor fell three metres from the platform and through the ceiling. As a result, he sustained fatal injuries.

The following investigation discovered that the Rotherham store had failed to carry out a risk assessment and tried to argue that they were intending on fitting a guardrail.

 

Tesco – £8 million fine

Following the horsemeat scandal in 2013, Tesco made the headlines for the wrong reasons again last year when they were fined £8 million.

The fine was issued after a huge fuel leak happened in 2014 at the Haslingden petrol station, polluting a Lancashire river. According to the Environment Agency, over 5,000 gallons of petrol escaped from the Tesco filling station and entered the sewerage system. The careless act not only killed local wildlife, but also forced some locals to leave their homes after suffering from headaches and sickness.

As it stands, this is the largest fine for a single incident of pollution in the UK.

 

 

Laing O’Rourke – £2.5 million fine

Construction company, Laing O’Rourke, was issued with a monumental fine in 2017 after an isolated incident resulted in the death of an employee back in 2014.

The tragic event occurred when large concrete panels weighing several tonnes toppled over onto 29-year-old employee, Richard Reddish. The father of one was killed, with the following investigation revealing that Laing O’Rourke hadn’t previously completed a single risk assessment.

The company’s failure to take the simple but essential precautionary measures has ended in the worst possible scenario.

 

Howden Joinery – £1.2 million

Fitted kitchen supplier, Howden Joinery, were forced to pay £1.2 million after a lorry driver was killed whilst visiting their depot in Cumbria.

48-year-old agency worker, Richard Brown, was crushed when a forklift overbalanced and left him trapped against the HGV. The maximum weight capacity of the forklift truck was 1,520kg, yet the combined weight of the kitchen worktops was 2,160kg.

A preventable incident and avoidable fine if the right training was previously carried out for their agency workers.

 

Summary

The lesson here is to ensure you carry out the relevant actions and have the right training in place for your employees. Don’t put things off or shun accountability, because it could result in serious injuries, incidences and fines.

So if you want to avoid making our 2018 list, you might want to consider getting a second opinion.

Here at icet solutions, we offer a wide range of services, from compliance management software to providing training and e-learning. To find out more, get in touch today.

 

Keeping employees safe during their winter commute

Keeping employees safe during their winter commute

Snowfall is expected in the UK this winter and the Met office have issued warnings for severe wind and rain.

With the UK weather worsening it is useful to give your employees a timely reminder and raise awareness of the issues around commuting to and from work during the winter months ahead.

It has been said that businesses can be impacted by two groups of employees who commute:

  • The first group are a hardy, if not risky group of employees who will make the effort to get to work whatever the conditions.
  • The second group may seek to avoid “making it in” with a token attempt to complete the journey under questionable circumstances.

Giving your employees Winter driving tips will help make sure the hardy group are not putting themselves or others at risk by attempting the journey and can also help tackle some of the more unnecessary excuses from the second group when reasonable efforts should be made.

Most importantly, if we can all collaborate to help smarter working and commuting, we can help mitigate the significant increase in deaths and injuries on our roads during the winter months ahead.

The following are points that should be considered when advising your employees and putting plans in place.

Know when it’s safe to travel

The first, and most important winter driving advice for anyone, but especially commuters is to actually know when it is not safe to drive at all. There are some situations where driving is fool hardy at best and downright bonkers at worst. The best way to judge this is to listen to the local Police instructions via local news outlets.

If it is made clear that travelling should only be undertaken if it is absolutely necessary then a company should consider advising their employees to stay at home. The type of conditions that causes this type of warning is usually due to severe condition and any decision should be obvious.

Businesses should have a severe weather policy and procedures in place and have it communicated to all managers and staff; this will increase safety awareness and will also help manage the situation should you feel some employees are taking advantage of the conditions.

Be bad weather prepared

Not all bad weather comes in overnight, so the choice to travel can often be one that is not made first thing in the morning but during a working day or afterwards.

Whenever any employee finds themselves having to drive in bad weather they should be encouraged to keep a number of important things in their cars:

  1. A Blanket or set of warm cloths, to keep warm if they get stuck in their vehicles.
  2. A set of waterproofs with a hi-vis outer garment, in case they break down, get stuck or are told to leave by the police and have to walk to safety.
  3. A pair of boots with good grip, in case they have to walk away from their vehicles in snow.
  4. Non-perishable high calorie food bars and a supply of water, if they find themselves stuck in their vehicles due to traffic or other delays.
  5. A phone charger, again in case they find themselves stuck a well charged phone can be a lifeline.
  6. A torch with spare batteries.
  7. A set of spare bulbs in case of breakdown of any lights.
  8. A shovel for deep snow – if driving on smaller roads which may be relatively untreated it can be easy for a vehicle’s wheels to get stuck. A shovel may help the driver to resolve such a problem.

It is always important to ensure that your employees are prepared before any journeys are undertaken so it’s vital to ensure that their vehicles are regularly serviced and that the tyres are in good condition and suitable for the expected weather.

Other things to check should be:

  • Ensuring the vehicle has enough fuel for the planned journey.
  • The oil and coolant levels are topped up.
  • Tyres are at the correct pressure.
  • All lights are working properly.
  • Screen wash levels should be topped up too; it’s a good idea to take some spare windscreen washer fluid.
  • All windows, mirrors and lights should be clean

flood driving tips

Driving in flood water

In the UK we are far more likely to run into flood water than deep snow. Flood water, however, can be tackled, rightly or wrongly, by anyone in any vehicle. To help drivers here are a few basic tips when it comes to driving through flood water:

The first tip is always – Don’t go through it!

If you find yourself in an unavoidable situation always take the advice of the authorities and don’t take any unnecessary risks.

Always avoid crossing moving water, if a river or stream has burst its banks and is rushing over the road be very aware a car can lift up in just a few inches of water with potentially fatal consequences.

If crossing standing water on a commute is essential, it can be perfectly safe to do so provided the following tips are used:

  1. Choose a gear and stick to it.
  2. Never change gear in deep water; it will potentially flood the clutch.
  3. Choose a low gear like second and simply slowly drive through keeping a steady and slow pace.
  4. Take it slow – water is heavy, attempting to go charging at the problem will result in damage to the vehicle and reduced visibility with water over the bonnet
  5. Never stop – if the exhaust pipe is underwater the gases coming out will largely prevent water form coming back in. Once the engine slows or stops then the water could get into the exhaust and getting moving again will be very difficult.

Controlling a vehicle in challenging conditions

Giving employees the chance to learn how to control their vehicles in challenging conditions when driving on ice or in heavy rain is a skill that not enough people know.

It can actually be a great deal of fun to learn in the right environment and this kind of activity makes for a great team building day. If budget allows it is well worth looking for local driver training centres who offer group sessions. Equipping staff with the ability to handle a car when things go wrong is certainly something worth considering.

Keeping employees safe

The key to keeping employees as safe as possible in the winter is preparation and thought. Encourage your staff to make sure their vehicles are well equipped and well maintained.

Employers should give staff the power to know when it is not safe to drive by communicating with them and keeping abreast of the local and national weather conditions. If the weather starts to deteriate during the day you should consider sending people before everyone has to sleep in the office.

The weather in the UK can be unpredictable and driving can never be 100% safe but taking the time to educate employees can certainly contribute to getting them in and out of work safely, as well as keeping them at home when things are really bad.

Be prepared, be properly equipped, drive responsibly and stay safe on the roads this winter.

If you need help to quickly create a severe weather policy for your business, give us a call.

New survey exposes a key legal compliance problem for businesses

New survey exposes a key legal compliance problem for businesses

Most small and mid-sized businesses don’t have the luxury of a dedicated Environmental, Health & Safety (EHS) department. In many cases, EHS responsibilities are delegated to one or two people who wear multiple hats within their company.  If this situation sounds familiar, be aware that you may be leaving yourself open to compliance management risks that you can’t afford to take.

Nearly half of businesses in a recent survey said their top compliance management challenge is keeping compliance policies up to date with new and changing regulations (NAVEX Global research).

If your EHS compliance is DIY, you need to develop a plan to address ever-changing compliance regulations.  Getting it wrong can mean fines or even prison sentences.  Getting it right is therefore the only option.

A recent survey spanned respondents at small (25%), midsize (31%), and enterprise (43%) businesses, as well as government and non-profit organisations. Nearly half of the business and organisations (47%) said their top policy management challenge is keeping compliance policies up to date with new and changing regulations.

Other top policy management challenges included;

  • Training employees on policies (40%)
  • Out of date policies and inaccuracy (32%)
  • Demands related to legal compliance (31%)
  • Easy access to policies and procedures (28%)
  • Document management (23%)

Nearly 50% of the organisations said they are not aware of the cost of compliance within their organisations. Typically in these cases, where companies have gone on to implement compliance management software, they have saved significantly on costs.

The report found that integrated management software such as that provided by icet solutions, improved compliance management execution by improving the efficiency of policy quality, communication, workflow, and access.