Prosecution Increases the Need for Health and Safety Training for Managers
Accidents Pose a Threat at All Times
Unfortunately despite all of the procedures, safeguards, policies, care and attention that is afforded and put in place, mistakes and accidents in a place of work still happen. These factors, combined with health and safety training, can only reduce the potential for accidents; it can never completely eliminates the possibility entirely.
Health and Safety Legislation is in Place to Protect People and the Environment
As developed nations have continued to introduce legislation which serves to protect workers, so too have the consequences become more severe for managers who fail in their responsibilities for complying with this legislation and regulations, and fulfilling their duty of care towards employees, members of the public and the environment.
For those managers and directors who are negligent or deliberately flout legislation and regulations, rather than just facing warnings and fines, there is a very real risk of criminal proceedings and prison sentences for serious health and safety breaches.
Managers Need to Understand Health and Safety Requirements
It is essential then that not only do managers need to ensure adherence and compliance with legislation at all times, but they also need to be sure that they have a thorough and correct understanding of exactly what these legislative requirements are and what is demanded of them with regards to keeping people and the environment safe from harm as far as is reasonably practical. The threat of prosecution therefore increases the need for health and safety training for managers, as without being taught about the legislation they will not be fully aware of everything it contains and consequently what is expected of them. A lack of knowledge has been the cause of many accidents, and the same is true when it comes to managers not understanding what is required from them and subsequently not implementing it in the workplace.
The Need for Proactive Research and Health and Safety Training
The ever-present threat of prosecution means that managers and directors should not simply wait to hear about entirely new legislation or amendments to existing regulations, but instead need to actively learn the information and ensure that they keep up-to-date with changes which will impact the industry in which they operate. Whilst some requirements may apply to all workers regardless of industry or job title, and so find their way into the media, there may be changes which are industry-specific and may require a little proactiveness to find.
Not only do managers have a responsibility for improving the fortunes of the company from a financial perspective (assuming that the business is a commercial, for-profit organisation of course) and putting in the associated time and research that this entails, but they also have a duty to also carry this out with regards to health and safety. Whilst this may not be time spent which provides any financial benefits for the company (although it can be argued that it does long-term), it is still necessary to fulfil all legal requirements and minimise the potential for prosecution. Attending comprehensive health and safety training courses will fulfil a large part of this objective, as will engaging the services of an external health and safety consultancy company who can advise on the responsibilities of management.