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H&S MANAGEMENT - The cost of non-compliance

Research has shown that it’s much cheaper to comply with your health and safety duties than leave it to chance. What’s to know?

Statistics. Safety consultancy Arinite has studied health and safety fines issued in 2016*. It identified that in total, £32,438,677 worth of fines were handed out. It also analysed how much businesses are spending on compliance. It found that small and medium-sized businesses can expect to pay between £5,000 and £40,000 per year to keep their house in order.

What does this cover? The investment includes maintenance in health and safety systems, e.g. policies, procedures, risk assessments etc., insurance, and the provision of competent health and safety advice.

More expensive. The consultancy then took the £40,000 figure away from the average fine. It concluded that if you’re fined it will cost you at least £75,000 more than if you had taken appropriate steps to become compliant. The difference between the cost of compliance and the potential fine is much greater for larger businesses.

Additional costs. It shouldn’t be forgotten that as well as fines, you also have legal costs, lost time, increased insurance costs, potential reputational damage, loss of business, etc. to factor in. As fines are getting larger all the time, the numbers will continue to stack up in favour of compliance over leaving it to chance.

Money well spent. Another important factor to consider is how the courts view those who have ignored their compliance duties. If there has been cost cutting at the expense of safety or a company has a persistent poor safety record, any penalty will be greater. If it can be proved that reasonable effort has been made to be compliant, the penalty you face will reflect this. Tip. Maintain records of how much time and money has been spent on compliance. For example, investment in competent advice, training, personal protective equipment, safer machinery etc. If things go wrong, this evidence may be useful in proving that you have invested in reducing the risks.

 If you’re fined it will cost you at least £75,000 more than if you had taken appropriate steps to become compliant. Keep records of what you spend on safety.

*To see the full research, please click on the following link

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