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MrBrightside  
#1 Posted : 14 February 2020 14:36:10(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
MrBrightside

What would you do?

Your advice is not listened too or you are not even asked. Those in charge are questioning the fundamental basics of health & safety as ‘not practical’ and ‘can rely on people’s common sense to know what to do’, but you think ok that’s it I’m going to leave but if I do someone could get seriously injured or even die if I’m not here to fight the good fight.

Do I go to the HSE, will that solve anything? would they even turn up?

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Kim Hedges on 19/02/2020(UTC)
SBH  
#2 Posted : 14 February 2020 14:45:41(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
SBH

Whats your industry?

SBH

Swygart25604  
#3 Posted : 15 February 2020 12:50:47(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
Swygart25604

IOSH Code of Conduct

4.6 Inform any person overruling or neglecting their professional advice of the potential adverse consequences and keep a written record of the date, time and nature of this action.

Guidance

As a health and safety professional, you may find employers or clients occasionally either ignore your advice or fail to act on all of it within your recommended timescales. There can be times when the employer or client is ignoring advice on something that presents an imminent danger to the workforce. Health and safety professionals are required to exercise professional independence and to remain as objective as they can. If you believe your advice is not being followed, you should take reasonable steps to make the person overruling your advice aware of the potential consequences. This would normally be in writing, and you should ask for a confirmation receipt. If this does not work, then you are expected to escalate the matter to the next tier of management in a further effort to see changes implemented. In a situation where you have a genuine concern that death or serious injury might result, then the right thing to do is contact an enforcement agency such as the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). You are expected to “do the right thing” regardless of the possible cost to you. In extreme cases, this might mean resigning or ending a relationship with a client.

HSE provides information on the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998, which is designed to protect workers who ‘blow the whistle’ about a wrongdoing. A wrong-doing may include where you have a reasonable belief that your disclosure tends to show one or more of the following: a criminal offence; a breach of a legal obligation; a miscarriage of justice; a danger to the health and safety of any individual; damage to the environment; or the deliberate coveringup of information tending to show any of the above.

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Kim Hedges on 19/02/2020(UTC)
jmaclaughlin  
#4 Posted : 17 February 2020 15:07:22(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
jmaclaughlin

Sounds like you are in a tough spot.

Am assuming that your employers are hoping to utilise the SFARP silver bullet, in the event that if anything goes wrong and they do not have the appropriate  controls in place.

Therefore I would go for an approach of documenting hazards/risks as per normal, recommend the correct controls, if your employer decides to not implement the controls on cost ground, note it in your document, get them to sign it and  the responsibility becomes theirs. (If they refuse to sign it, document it, and file it on your corporate server.

If you are of the opinion  that someone is at the risk of injury or worse, then report it to the HSE via phone or CIRAS  if your employer is a member.

As H&S professionals we absolutely cannot rely on “Common Sense”, just regard it as a nice to have, nothing more.

Good luck!

 

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Kim Hedges on 19/02/2020(UTC)
SNS  
#5 Posted : 17 February 2020 21:20:48(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
SNS

As jmaclaughlin says, plus:

Keep a good diary & copy every advice note to yourself.

Prepare an updated CV, keep reading the job adverts.

There comes a time to walk away, if 'they' won't listen simply cut your losses and walk away.

stevedm  
#6 Posted : 18 February 2020 09:07:55(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
stevedm

....firstly stand back and take a deep breath...every industry has the same problems...it is inherant in some type of peoples behaviour...

In my mind there are always 2 parts to every EHS question 1. What is the legal requirement 2. How can I practically implement it....the first question is easy, and if you want to advise on that and leave it there...then that is a choice...the second question is always the more difficult one...

I have had HSE inspectors tell me I need fall arrest from a truck cab, operations managers say that they are ok if the plant blows up and accountants not too worried about employee death (he changed his mind when I said it would also mean the loss of a £1m asset)....I will write the funnies and the monumentally stupid ones up one day...the point is you are always going to get this and how you deal with it will have to change and adapt to fit the cirumstances...you will get more credit for making it work than pointing out the failings...find a solution(s) that have worked elsewhere...this forum is full of ideas to help with that...to give you ideas and practical advice, which doesn't always need to be in public...

above all smile...it makes everyone wonder what you are up to :)

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chris42 on 18/02/2020(UTC), Kim Hedges on 19/02/2020(UTC)
ttxela  
#7 Posted : 18 February 2020 11:17:32(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
ttxela

Originally Posted by: MrBrightside Go to Quoted Post

What would you do?

Your advice is not listened too or you are not even asked. Those in charge are questioning the fundamental basics of health & safety as ‘not practical’ and ‘can rely on people’s common sense to know what to do’, but you think ok that’s it I’m going to leave but if I do someone could get seriously injured or even die if I’m not here to fight the good fight.

Do I go to the HSE, will that solve anything? would they even turn up?

It sounds like things are pretty bad, as others say I would certainly be keeping my own records (not just on work systems) of communications and events.

I suppose one thing to consider is if all your advice really is being totally disregarded how will your mere presence prevent someone being injured or killed?  Only you can judge if you are making some sort of progress, albeit small, in the right direction. If not then perhaps a planned exit would be preferable to waiting until a catastrophic event.

As for whether the HSE will take notice, I've experienced them take quite an interest in direct employee complaints about relatively minor (certainly not imminent danger of serious injury or death) matters where there is concerns about an employer not addressing issues over a period of time - so I imagine direct contact about a more acute matter might prick their ears up!

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Kim Hedges on 19/02/2020(UTC)
Rich_T  
#8 Posted : 18 February 2020 11:53:39(UTC)
Rank: New forum user
Rich_T

I feel your frustrations. I'm in a similar position.

No matter what I put in front of "Them", "They" won't listen. I am even going as basic as a working fire alarm. The response I had from a director was "I'm sure they will smell the burning, then they'll run".

I am sticking to it, and trying to get more influence with other Directors, and getting them on side. I took the leap after working for a national company for 10 years, to move to a family run business 7 months ago. I won't give up, and all I can do is keep trying.

As previously mentioned, keep a track of what you have done, and advised, like a diary. And just keep pushing. Hopefully nothing will go wrong, but if it does, at least you can say you did all you could. 

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Kim Hedges on 19/02/2020(UTC)
fairlieg  
#9 Posted : 19 February 2020 10:31:58(UTC)
Rank: Forum user
fairlieg

How practical safety measures are, can only really be determined by the people doing the work (Work as imagined v's Work as Done).  So that would be a good place to start however, I am sure you have already been down this route.

  • How do you routinely carry out this task?
  • What are some of the rules about how this should be done?
  • What rules are commonly not followed, why are you not able to follow them?
  • Describe what can go wrong with the way you carry out the task without following the rules?
  • Describe how you prevent something bad happening?
  • When something bad happens how do you avoid getting hurt?
  • How would you redesign the work to make it more efficient and still keep you safe etc?

Have you identified the trade off's that are being made (thoroughness v's efficiency) and in cases where there is a drive for efficiency is it a perception or are there real efficiencies achieved by being less thorough? (look for time, cost savings and are they real e.g. quality rework, time delays for ee’s having to “improvise” or cause by stoppages).  Try to build a compelling case if you have not already done so and then start to look at the legal compliance impacts.  It’s also note worthy to mention that if you are raising these concerns in writing and something bad does happen there is potential for prosecution for those you have now made aware.

If you were to contact the HSE or LA you also need to be sure that there is a breach in the HSE legislation to help ensure your complaint falls within the definitions of a protected disclosure.  Make sure you document all the way, if you have done as much as you can and there is an unwillingness to change and you get “ghosted” or treated differently because of raising concerns, your documenting can help build a case for unfair dissmissal or constructive dismissal if you choose to leave yourself.

As has been mentioned its not easy.  Not knowing the context of the situation you are in leaves us all spit balling but just make sure you get yourself as well informed about your rights and obligations before you decide to take “flight” or are “thrown” from a great height (Employment Rights Act 1996 Part X Section 100).

I think once you get official with your communications (and explain that you are doing so make sure that you are clearly documenting your concerns so that when something happens you don't also get proscecuted and potentially jailed) there may be a willingness on the other parties to pay attention to what you have to say

Edited by user 20 February 2020 08:53:42(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

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Kim Hedges on 19/02/2020(UTC)
Kim Hedges  
#10 Posted : 19 February 2020 22:54:46(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Kim Hedges

As has been said so eloquently by so many, all I can add is, been there done that.

I have been in a similar situation, to me it was scary dangerous what was going on daily on the site I was working on.  I spoke to the Senior Manager on site and politely (always politely) pointed out my concerns.  I was sacked 3 hours later at the end of the days work and told not to come back.  The job lasted another 6 months.   Anyway, type out your concerns, dates, times, take photos if possible.  Then inform the HSE, you may give a copy of your report, depends on you. 

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