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Businesses urged to prepare for serious incidents

21 February 2019

ORGANISATIONS MUST be prepared for serious incidents to ensure they can respond promptly and effectively if the worst happens, health and safety managers and other business leaders heard at a meeting in Leicester.

About 100 people responsible for protecting workers attended the event held by IOSH's Food and Drink Industries Group.

They heard that serious incidents like workplace fatalities can happen in the best-managed workplaces, focusing on a hypothetical incident where someone was killed after being struck by a forklift truck in a warehouse.

The discussion focused on how businesses should be prepared for a major incident, the steps they should take in the immediate aftermath and the process of an investigation.

Andy Melachrino, chair of the IOSH group, said, “No matter how good an organisation’s health and safety management systems are, sometimes accidents do happen, whether it’s caused by an individual’s behaviour or another reason.

“Therefore, it’s hugely important that organisations have got policies in place for how they respond. They must be ready; it’s as simple as that.

“That is what today’s event has been about. Workplace accidents have hugely serious consequences for organisations and, of course, for the people involved. We wanted to provide guidance on this for delegates, so they can go back to their workplace and examine their own policies and procedures.”

The event was held at College Court, in Knighton Road, Leicester, on Thursday 14 February and attended by representatives from across a number of sectors.

It was led by representatives from law firm Keoghs LLP. Chris Newton, a partner at the firm and head of their crime and regulatory team, said health and safety management must be paramount for businesses. He said:

“While the preference is for prevention, accidents happen in workplaces for varying reasons. When they do, it is important that organisations can learn from them to avoid a repeat.

“Our event has been about supporting businesses in this process. When accidents happen, it’s often a very difficult time for all involved.”

In 2017-18, there were 144 workplace fatalities in Britain. The main causes were falls from height (35), being struck by a moving vehicle (26) and being struck by a moving object (26).