Are you tempted to skimp on systems to record your health and safety measures?
Before you make that decision, take a look at these figures.
A study by Arinite, the health and safety consultancy, showed the average cost of health and safety fines to businesses in 2016 was £115,440.
The total handed out in fines was £32,438,677.
The cost of the fines ranged from £100 to £5 million, with half of the 2016 fines imposed in the manufacturing sector. The average fine for manufacturers found guilty of breaching health and safety law was £112,000.
A total of £16,816,673 in fines was handed to manufacturers in 2016, and £4,824,983 to construction businesses.
The size of fines has also been growing in recent years, data from the Health and Safety Executive reveals.
The top 20 fines for health and safety breaches in 2016 were eight times higher than the top 20 fines in 2014.
Last year, the threshold for the maximum fine was also raised to £10 million, and £20 million for those convicted of corporate manslaughter. This makes it likely that the size of fines will continue to increase.
That also doesn’t account for the potential for damaging PR, lost reputation, lost business, and civil claims against a business.
A health and safety breach which led to a serious incident could mean the end of your business.
Compare this with the cost of health and safety compliance for SMEs in 2016: between £5,000 and £40,000.
That includes establishing and maintaining a health and safety system, and assigning someone to oversee it.
Clearly, investing in a robust, reliable system for tracking audits and health and safety compliance makes perfect sense, financially.
What can you do to ensure your business is on the right side of the law?
Having a trackable audit trail and compliance checks are essential factors in flagging up potential problems before they become potential court cases.
If something does go wrong, having them in place also reduces the seriousness of any breach.
When checks are recorded on paper, it’s all too easy for files to go missing or for documents to become mixed up.
Moving to an online, cloud-based system makes the process simpler, allows you to keep on top of the audit trail, meaning you’re ready for an inspection of your systems at any time.
It also means you can attach photographs and notes.
How do you choose the right digital audit and compliance system?
Look for a system which is:
- Easy to use and accessible to all your staff
- Reports potential hazards in real time and alerts the relevant people
- Allows you to separate modules out to create a bespoke system for your business
- Schedules compliance checks and audits
- Has date and time stamps to verify your data
Your digital audit system will save you space, free up the time of your staff, and save money on paper, printer leasing, and inks.