Yes It Affects You As Well.
It is a simple request ‘Will you change that light bulb for me?’ ‘Would you get a box down from the loft? So your employee agrees, falls of the stool or ladder and is injured. Did you as the employer carry out a risk assessment? Did you carry out training on how to use a ladder?
The answer is probably not and that could cost you a great deal of money if the employee is injured in the process, as Health and Safety Regulations apply to both large and small organisations. As an employer of domestic/household staff you are not exempt.
In the past we have brought details of penalties when employers were found to have breached Health and Safety Regulations, but recently fines have been getting heavier and heavier.
To cite a specific example, recently national bakers, Warburtons were fined £2 million at Wolverhampton Crown Court after pleading guilty to breaching the Work at Height Regulation 2005 after a worker fell while cleaning a mixing machine.
The Health and Safety Investigation found that Warburtons Limited routinely expected their workers to access the top of the mixers to clean them. The workers were often unbalanced and would brace themselves to stop from falling. The workers were not adequately supervised and there had been no training on how the mixer needed to be cleaned at height. The company failed to control the risk of falls from height when carrying out this routine cleaning activity the court was told.
Warburtons Limited, of Bolton, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 6(3) of the Work at Height Regulation 2005 and in addition to the £2 million fine, were ordered to pay costs of £19,609.28.
Health and Safety Executive Inspector Mahesh Mahey told the court that the case highlighted the importance of fully assessing risks of working from height and to take appropriate steps to avoid injury.
Those seeking guidance can go to the following web page:
http://www.hse.gov.uk/risk/ On the left hand side of the page, under “Risk Management” click on “sensible risk management.” Although lacking specific detail the page does provide guidance on how the issue should or should not be approached.
A sensible safety net for you as an employer of domestic/household staff is to have in force a Household Contents insurance policy which covers the risk of accidents to staff on your premises. Such policies are good value and provide peace of mind. Your insurance broker will be able to effect such a policy for you, or confirm that you are already covered.
The Graham Agency, keeping you informed.