The British Woodworking Federation Group

‘I’ve told them a thousand times to do it this way’ just doesn’t cut it with the HSE

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The WITForum has just completed its 2009 round of Regional Health and Safety Workshops and they have highlighted health & safety issues our members are encountering. A number of companies expressed that while they had an unfaltering commitment to health and safety, much of its implementation was hampered by employees’ resistance. Many had taken steps to ensure wellbeing of their employees through changes in practice to improve the health and safety of the workplace. However, many have struggled with their staff’s unwillingness to implement change, with an attitude of ‘I’ve always done this way’ or an aggravated response. This was found to be discouraging managers and supervisors from challenging their workers on these health and safety issues. Jon Gibson from Didac Ltd, who delivered the 2009 workshops said ‘challenging employees on their working practice can be difficult, particularly those that have been with your organisation for some time. However, when it comes to health and safety, managers and supervisors MUST enforce the measures as the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will not accept an attitude of ‘I’ve told them a thousand times’. If an accident were to happen, the company could not use this excuse to avoid possible prosecution.’ It is imperative that if employees are not responding to management demands to comply with health and safety regulations that they take it to the next level with disciplinary proceedings. Failing to do this, or following through, will result in continued breaches in health and safety and increased risk of an accident that could in some cases prove fatal. Don’t forget, as a BWF member, you have access to employment, health and safety, and other advice help lines within your membership fee. If you have questions regarding disciplinary procedures or health and safety, just pick up the phone – we’re here to help. Call 0844 209 2613/2619 for your free advice. The HSE offers a range of guidance on their website that we would encourage all members to consult regarding health and safety: