Accidents at work: the role of the Health and Safety Executive
Accidents at work are all too common. As a firm dealing with catastrophic injury cases we will have several cases involving workplace accidents at any one time.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is an independent regulator for work-related health, safety and illness. Most businesses will be aware that if a person has died or been injured because of a work related accident then it is likely to have to be reported. A Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) report is required when:
- the accident is work-related; and
- it results in an injury of a type which is reportable (including any injury requiring a hospital stay of 24 hours or more and any injury which renders an individual unable to perform their duties for 7 day).
As a regulator, its goal is to prevent workplace death, injury or ill health. They use a variety of ways to help people manage risks at work, including:
- providingadvice, information and guidance
- raising awareness in workplaces byinfluencing and engaging
- operatingpermissioning and licensing activities in major hazard industries
- carrying out targeted inspections andinvestigations
- taking enforcement action to prevent harm and hold those who break the law to account
Recently, a contractor has been fined £600,000 after a worker was seriously injured in an accident at work while trying to replace a traffic light pole during which he came into contact with a live underground cable that immediately gave him an electric shock and set him on fire, sustaining serious burns to most of his body. The investigation by the HSE found that although a risk assessment was performed, this was not communicated to the subcontractor’s employees and despite the appointment of a cable avoidance expert his notes had not been passed to the supply chain workers. The Court found that the contractor had successfully identified the location of the cable, but had failed to act on these findings. The highways contractor pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 25(4) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015.
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