South Lawn Hotel, basking in the early morning sun, greeted delegates at Thursday morning’s Business Breakfast on HSE: Mythbusting.
The morning kicked off with a fabulous breakfast by our hosts, which was, in Chairman Matthew Lawson’s words “a unique way of providing a full English breakfast”. Matthew then went on to officially announce the launch of the New Forest Brilliance in Business Awards and encouraged all businesses to nominate their own or another business under one of the 7 categories.
Matthew then introduced Frances Outram, HSE Board Member, who facilitated a discussion and update on the work of the HSE. Frances moved to the area 25 years ago and has been an HSE Board member for 5 years. She has a passionate belief in making all things H&S simple for SMEs and is Chair of the Small Business Trade Association Forum
Frances explained the HSE’s role in enforcing the Health & Safety at Work Act which celebrates 40 years. The Act has brought about a significant reduction in deaths and injuries and the UK has one of the best Health & Safety records in the world.
HSE is using a wide range of information available to enable it to target higher risk premises, which has proved to be very effective. In addition, HSE is making sure that clear straightforward guidance is available to SMEs. The Small Business Trade Association Forum is one of the means by which HSE has been able to improve communication and consultation with SMEs on new initiatives and changes in health & safety law. One such important change in law is coming into force on 1 October. If you are self-employed and your work activity poses no potential risk to the health and safety of other workers or members of the public, then health and safety law will not apply to you. For further information visit: http://www.hse.gov.uk/self-employed/
Frances went on to highlight the role of the Mythbusters Challenge Panel. So many situations are blamed on “Health & Safety” and the panel provides a mechanism to independently challenge advice or decisions, made in the name of health and safety that are believed to be disproportionate or inaccurate. “Health and safety” is about managing real risks properly, not being risk averse and stopping people getting on with their lives.
A number of other information links were tabled and discussed and these can be found by clicking here.
Delegates joined in various discussions, raising a number of questions, in particular relating to the construction industry and risk assessments.
Frances did an excellent job in updating the group on the many tools available to SMEs to find out more about H&S matters and, we hope, dispelled a few myths in the world of Health & Safety.