Evac+Chair will be launching a new campaign during The Health and Safety Event which takes place at Birmingham’s NEC from 10-12 April. Exhibiting on Stand HS120, the emergency stair descent solutions specialist is going to be focusing its attentions on ‘The Changing Nature of Risk’, a timely educational campaign specifically aimed at informing today’s Health and Safety and risk management practitioners of the new and emerging evacuation risks within modern society.
Given the rapid change to workforces over the last decade, employers now need to have greater clarity on how every member of their team should be made safe during emergency evacuation situations. With this firmly in mind, Evac+Chair wants to explore the variety and scale of modern day evacuation risks for which Health and Safety and risk managers must now cater. As such, the company will be surveying visitors and gathering their views on the changing role of risk.
Each attendee at The Health and Safety Event who takes part in the survey will be entered into a competition to win High Street retail vouchers worth £25. A winner will be announced on each day of the show. For a chance to win, attendees should visit Stand HS120 and follow #ChangingRoleOfRisks on Twitter.
During a Keynote presentation to be delivered by Gary Hicks (manager of Evac+Chair’s Dubai office), the company will also be addressing the need for businesses to have emergency evacuation procedures in place that are specific to defined security threats.
Hicks explained to Risk UK: “While fire evacuation procedures may be similar, there are crucial differences that businesses need to be aware of and to start planning for if they’ve not already done so. As the current threat level posed by international terrorism in the UK is set at ‘Severe’ by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre, it’s absolutely imperative that every business owner nationwide has a comprehensive and up-to-date evacuation procedure in place should the need arise.”
Hicks continued: “We’re really excited to be able to explore these issues and create a forum for conversation at The Health and Safety Event. As it’s a building owner’s responsibility to ensure the safe evacuation of all of its employees and visitors, we’ll be discussing legislation requirements, sharing Best Practice techniques and explaining how to train key team members such that, in the event of an incident occurring, all preparations which could and should have been made come into play.”
Cost of workplace-related accidents on the rise
Personal injury specialist YouClaim is urging employers and employees alike to ensure they’re doing everything they possibly can to reduce the risk of accidents in the workplace as businesses are spending billions of pounds each year to cover the cost of accidents.
Around 70,000 employees suffer an injury in the workplace each year. That’s according to RIDDOR reports from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). The 2015-2016 reports show that, although the number of injuries has gradually declined over the last five years, work-related accidents and illness cost businesses in the UK around £14.9 billion per year and result in a loss of 31.2 million working days.
In addition, the penalties for breaching Health and Safety legislation have become tougher, with those found guilty of a breach now facing hefty fines from the HSE or up to two years’ imprisonment. Since the introduction of new sentencing guidelines on 1 February 2016, the value of fines collected has increased by 80%, jumping from £38.8 million in 2015-2016 to £69.9 million in 2016-2017.
Richard Powell at YouClaim explained: “For some companies, fines issued for breaches of Health and Safety could be the difference between staying in business or facing bankruptcy. Although these penalties may seem tough, they’re in place to urge companies to assess their current Health and Safety procedures and commit to further improving standards.”
To help raise awareness of accidents in the workplace, YouClaim has created a visual guide on the risks that many companies are missing, which is increasing the likelihood of an incident. Powell added: “Without regular checks, a seemingly safe workplace can hide serious Health and Safety risks likely to cause harm to employees, visitors or members of the public. In reality, it may be impractical to prevent every imaginable hazard, but no-one wants to think that they could have done more if an accident did take place.”
Research carried out by YouClaim into the HSE’s survey of Managing Health and Safety in the Workplace highlighted that a quarter of businesses see the complexity of legal obligations as a major difficulty to addressing issues. Related to this, 17% of organisations view the required paperwork as a difficulty, while lack of resource – either staff or time (19%), money (15%) or expertise/specialist support (10%) – is a further issue.
Powell concluded: “Competency is the most vital skill for managing Health and Safety in the workplace. Every level of an organisation should be involved. Training directors, line managers and workers must be made more aware of the risks. Understanding what action needs to be taken when a hazard arises will undoubtedly help to promote a safe and healthy workplace.”