07 July 2010 #Health & Safety
Accidents at work are likely to be investigated by the enforcing authorities, often the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). The HSE have wide powers and can enter premises at any reasonable time, remove equipment, take photographs, require people to answer questions, copy documents etc. Employers need to be prepared for such a visit, and saying and doing the right thing can influence whether or not an organisation is prosecuted. You will want to demonstrate that you have a good health and safety record, that (hopefully!) this was a one off accident and that it would not be a good use of the HSE`s limited resources to prosecute you. We can help you prepare for a visit from an inspector and have recently provided training to a major plc on this issue.
Even if you do not face a criminal prosecution, an employee may still bring civil proceedings for personal injury damages. Employers need comprehensive evidence to defend such claims, and since it can be up to 3 years before you even know a claim is going to be brought you need to be keeping all this evidence together. As soon as somebody is injured, you should collate all relevant information such as training records, risk assessments, witness statements given at the time of the incident, photographs etc and keep them in a file. Hopefully, this file will sit on a shelf gathering dust and will not need to be referred to again. However, if a claim is pursued, at least you will have a good chance of defending the claim.
If you are interested in training in this area, or require any other advice on dealing with personal injury claims or criminal prosecutions please contact us.