Four workplace game changers for health and safety in 2015
2015 looks set to be a busy year, with several big legislation changes planned in the areas of health, safety and the environment. International workplace has picked the top four you need to prepare for as you enter the New Year.
- All change in CDM in 2015
As part of the UK Government’s drive to cut bureaucracy, some major changes are on the way in relation to the management of health and safety within the construction industry.
It is recognised that that the majority of fatalities within the construction sector occur in smaller constructions sites. It is with this in mind that the HSE is focusing on the simplification of the current Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007, so they are easier to understand by those in control of small and medium projects. Some of these changes include the following:
- It will be a duty of the client to inform the HSE for a construction project which lasts 30 days with more than 20 workers occupying the site simultaneously or project exceeds 500 person days. This may mean the notifiable projects are reduced by approximately 50%, allowing the HSE to focus
- Replacement of the CDM Coordinator (CDMC) role, with that of a Principal Designer who is appointed by the client. The need to appoint a Principal Designer will be where a project involves more than one contractor on site. Domestic clients will also have duties for domestic projects, which can be transferred to the Principal Designer and/or Principal Contractor.
- Removal the need to assess competency, which was seen as one of the elements of the current Regulations that is overly bureaucratic and replace this with a legal obligation on the client.
- Removal of the Approved Code of Practice (ACoP) associated with the current Construction Design and Management which is to be replaced with industry specific guidance. However, the HSE has since changed tack following a review of the responses to the consultation document and a slimmed down version of the Approved Code of Practice will be retained, but industry specific guidance will also be issued.
- Revisions to ISO 14001
The international ISO 14001 standard outlines how to put an effective environmental management system in place and it is intended to help businesses remain commercially successful without disregarding crucial environmental responsibilities.
IEMA has been actively engaged throughout the revision of the standard, which is used by over 300,000 organisations worldwide, and recently stated that it has received ‘overwhelming support’ for the changes thus far.
The changes to ISO 14001 are expected to be implemented in Q3 of 2015 and will see the standard integrated more closely into core business planning. In addition, there will be further focus on leadership, environmental performance and communication.
If you are already certified to ISO 14001 there will be a transition period of three years in which to transfer the EMS to the new edition of the standard.
If you are not yet certified then you may wish to consider some of the benefits of certification which include:
- Improved efficiency cuts the cost of running your business.
- Demonstrating compliance expands your business opportunities.
- Meeting legal obligations helps to win greater stakeholder and customer trust.
- Better environmental management reduces waste and resource use.
- ESOS… less than one year until first deadline must be met
The deadline for the first compliance period for the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) Regulations is 5 December 2015, by which time qualifying businesses will have to achieve compliance with the regulations and notify the Environment Agency.
ESOS is the UK Government’s response to implementing Article 8 of the EU Energy Efficiency Directive, which mandates energy assessments for organisations with 250+ employees, or with an annual turnover and balance sheet of €50m and €43m respectively.
The new regulations require participants to calculate their total energy consumption (including fuel for business transport) over a 12 month period overlapping with the qualification date (31 December 2014), and to carry out energy efficiency auditing covering 90% of this energy use.
90% of your organisations energy use must be covered by:
- ESOS compliant energy audits
- Display Energy Certificates (DECs)
- Green Deal Assessments
- ISO 50001 accredited energy management system
If implemented correctly, ESOS will be a great chance to get cost effective energy efficiency plans considered at board level and could yield substantial savings in utility bills.
- Health and safety fines to increase drastically under tougher guidelines
Under tougher sentencing guidelines proposed in November, large firms convicted of corporate manslaughter will face fines of up to £20m.
The Sentencing Council announced that the review of guidelines is taking place in part due to concerns that some sentences imposed for these offences have been too low, particularly in relation to large organisations convicted of the most serious health and safety and food safety offences
In 2013/14 in the UK, 133 people were killed at work and 70 members of the public fatally injured in accidents connected to work, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
However, to date, there have been only eight convictions for corporate manslaughter in England and Wales since the legislation was introduced in 2007. The largest fine issued thus far was handed down just a few weeks ago when a company was found guilty of corporate manslaughter and fined £500,000 following the death of an employee.
Given the fact that £500,000 is the biggest fine handed out so far, it is evident that the proposals from the Sentencing Council to substantially increase the fines are set to shake things up and ensure that companies start to take health and safety more seriously.
For more information on any of these topics please contact International Workplace on 0871 777 8881 or visit https://www.internationalworkplace.com/health-and-safety/blogs
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