Health and Safety fines of £47 million over accidents deemed avoidable - Barnes Commercial Limited
Health and safety

Avoidable Health and Safety mistakes in the workplace

A new study published by WorkNest revealed recent statistics associated with fatalities in the workplace. It was discovered that between April 2021 and March 2022 there were an alarming 123 work related deaths. And perhaps as shocking, were the £47 million in fines across 200 organisations for accidents that were deemed ‘wholly avoidable’. This means that had appropriate health and safety procedures been put in place, some of these fatalities might have been avoided. So, what can employers learn from this?

The three biggest mistakes responsible for these accidents were found to be lack of planning and failure to risk assess along with a lack of machine guarding and maintenance. We’ve taken a closer look at some of these common causes and what you can do to try an avoid them.

health and safety

Common Health and Safety Mistakes

1. Lack of Planning

According to the HSE, all organisations should adopt a Plan, Do, Check, Act approach in regards to health and safety. In spite of this, many employers are still failing to effectively plan the crucial protective measures that are required to safeguard their employees. In fact, inspectors stated that adequate risk controls along with health and safety management strategies had failed to be put in place by a substantial 48.5% of the cases reviewed by WorkNest. This insinuates that without adequate guidance from well-planned health and safety policies, employees are left vulnerable to human error and ultimately harm.

2. Failure to Risk Assess

Risk assessments are also a pivotal part of health and safety management and include an evaluation of the various hazards that can pose a possible threat in the workplace. Under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, employers are legally required to carry out risk assessments of their environment, tasks, and equipment. However, 32.5% of the organisations reviewed by WorkNest had highlighted this area as a fundamental failure. A lack of risk assessment not only increases the chances of accident, but also leaves employers open to fines, reputational damage and possibly even prosecution.

3. Other Areas Which Fell Short

The third most common cause, accounting for 8% of incidents, was a lack of machine guarding and maintenance. This was followed by failure to segregate vehicles (5%), lack of training (3.5%), poor supervision (1.5%) and poor management (1%). It was also shown by the HSE that human error was the cause of 90% of workplace accidents and within those, 70% could have been prevented by proper management action.

Mitigating Risks

The reported statistics highlight just how important having a thorough risk management plan in the workplace is. The vast majority of accidents are preventable, but only if the correct steps are taken to avoid them. Having a well thought out and comprehensive plan means that if something does go wrong, measures are already in place to protect you and your employees from harm.

One of the most important factors in your risk management plan is identifying the risks early on. Barnes Commercial Insurance Broker has the experience and expertise to help you with this as part of our broader risk management service. Talk to our experienced advisers today to arrange a review of your risk management plans on 01480 272727. Alternatively send us an email at and we’ll be pleased to assist.

Luke Green

Authored by: Luke Green

Business Development Executive

07th October 2022

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