Right Directions offers guidance around new health and safety fines

Rather than posing a threat, the new sentencing guidelines for safety offences, which came into effect on 1 February 2016, should provide an easy reference for operators, who until now may not have fully understood the implications of a lack or disregard of health and safety.

The figures from our latest industry accident benchmarking tool STITCH show that 84% of recorded incidents, such as running into a squash racquet, colliding with a wall during 5 a side football or just a sporting injury, could not have been prevented by the operator. So it’s clear the majority of operators work hard to follow best practice and minimise risks.
However, no operation can be perfect all the time, and knowing where culpability, accountability and responsibility lie will afford a greater level of protection. Leadership from the top is as important as front line staff understanding how their actions can impact the organisation and that they may be personally accountable if something goes wrong. Everyone should take ownership of an organisation’s health and safety.

So instead of worrying about the fines, which could be up to 24 times higher than before, operators should use this change in law as a timely reminder to look at their company procedures, check they are following current legislation and best practice and get up to date with staff training. A health and safety compliance audit could highlight any issues and provide guidance on solutions, particularly on areas that are not yet regulated.

A prime example is the rise in popularity of trampoline parks. Although there is currently no formal regulated guidance, it’s important all hazards and risks have been considered in line with the Health and Safety at Work Act, and we are now working with three trampoline park operators, including the UK’s largest group Oxygen Freejumping, to support them with health and safety best practice.

At Right Directions we also deliver Sport England’s quality scheme Quest, as well as ukactive’s Code of Practice. Both these accreditations have elements that focus on specific industry guidance and best practice across quality and health and safety, and they include a declaration requiring operators to prove they really do what they say they do. Part of that means staff have to undergo regular refresher training, so they should, in theory, be more likely to follow health and safety procedure.

For more information on the new sentencing guidance visit https://www.sentencingcouncil.org.uk or speak to us about how a health and safety compliance audit could help your business stay the right side of the law.

Gill Twell, Head of Group Operations, Right Directions

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