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There’s an old phrase that really resonates in my head during my time in the health & safety industry. This is;

“you think hiring a professional is expensive, try hiring an amateur”.

I remember in my first month of working with UK SME Support, I spoke with a lady who was looking to implement ISO however didn’t really have a budget for it. After explaining what we do & how we do it she was very excited to start work with us. We then discussed cost options & this is where our conversation went dry. She decided that she “knows a guy” who can do it all for £500. 4 months later & £1500 out of pocket this lady gives us a call & asked us for our help.  Admittingly the first thought that came into my mind was “HA, I told you so” but of course to the customer I was very sympathetic & I went out of my way to make sure she got a great service, value for money, & somebody who knew what they were doing.

No matter who you are if there’s an opportunity to save money we all probably will.  We need to be aware if saving money is going to benefit you in the long term. I’ve found some great examples in the work place that cost them in the long run.


In November 2014 HMG Paints who are the UK’s leading independent Paint Manufacturer were fined £80,000 & had to pay costs of nearly £40,000. The employee complained about the it being difficult to clean the floor & allowed him to purchase an industrial floor scrubber to carry out the task. It was the electric motor on the floor scrubber which ignited the cloud of flammable vapour in the spray booth. The incident caused over 25% burns to the workman who required treatment at a specialist hospital burns unit.

They employee had never been trained to clean the floors, nor did he have the correct supervision when doing so.

2). Caltherm (UK) LTD

On 18 January 2008, a 22-year-old was helping to move an industrial steam-heated DMT liquid oven weighing 800kg (over three-quarters of a ton). As the oven was being moved, it fell from the two pallet trucks that were being used for the move, and the employee sustained Multiple bones to be broken & dislocated several parts of his ankle. His injuries were sufficiently serious to cause some long-term discomfort and adversely affect his work capabilities.

There had been no risk assessment had been conducted for the movement of ovens on the premises. Caltherm (UK) Ltd was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay court costs of £3,377.

3). Vinyl Compound LTD

IN February 2015, a 19 year old male was crushed & killed by a forklift truck. After investigation, it was found that the individual was not adequately trained to use the forklift truck. It was also found the company did not inform their employees of the speed limit on-site, had not put measures in place to control the speed of vehicles, and failed to have adequate lighting and edge protection in place to avoid FLTs overturning.

Vinyl Compound LTD were fined £450,000 & order to pay costs of nearly £72,000. Although a lot of money you cannot put a price on the life of another human being.]

4). RWE npower and contractor AMEC Group Ltd

A maintenance worker fell to his death at a South Wales power station. The agency worker fell around 12 metres through an unprotected opening in a platform at Aberthaw Power Station. RWE npower Plc, of Swindon, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. They were fined £250,000 and ordered to pay £30,000 costs.

The principal contractors, AMEC Group Ltd, of Knutsford, Cheshire, pleaded guilty to breaching regulation 11(1) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. They were fined £200,000 with costs of £30,000. Again, this a lot of money but it still doesn’t cover the costs of human life & the effects it has on the individual’s family.

Everyday there’s accidents in the work place that have a negative impact on so many individuals. We’re all aware of the right & wrong procedures but we’re often blinded by our own ignorance. It’s easy to say, “these things won’t happen to me” or “My staff know not to do that”.  Implementing the correct procedures & processes is one of the most important things a business can do! I understand that the cost of hiring someone externally can seem like an unnecessary expenditure that could be spent better elsewhere. However, a small investment now could be reason you don’t have nearly half a million pound in fines in the future.

If you’d like any advice on Quality, Environmental, Health & Safety, anything to make your work place a safer environment for you & your employees your more than welcome to get in touch with UK SME Support today & if we can’t help you we will make sure we put you in touch with someone who can.

01625 569 474



UKSMES are based in Cheshire and specialise in ISO, OHSAS & CE Marking.

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