<<

. 74
( 131 .)



>>

the first time recorded the purpose of journeys, showed work vehicles were
involved in over 54 000 crashes in 2005, or 150 per day;
Explosions and fires;
Slips, trips and falls account for 12 000, or 15%, of all accidental deaths
each year;
Terrorist threats: London HQ-based companies are at increased risk and com-
panies are more likely to face terrorist attacks because of what they represent
rather than where they are located, according to Aon, the risk and insurance
consultants. Terrorism insurance cover is on the rise and more companies are
purchasing it (Business Insurance, 26 April 2004, volume 38, number 17,
p. 3). Of 15 industries examined, energy companies were deemed most likely
to buy terrorism coverage, with 40.5% of energy firms having done so. The
industry least likely to purchase terrorism coverage was construction; and
Violence: there has been a marked increase in violence in many countries,
among the general public, from customers towards staff and among staff as
well. In the UK retail sector there was an increase from actual physical
attacks from six per 1000 staff in 2002 to seven in 2003. Organisations like
the National Health Service and transport systems like London Underground
and bus companies have adopted internal training programmes to deal with
this increased risk and have also embarked on public education programmes
to reduce assaults upon employees.
The following graph shows the internal safety issues for workforce by sector.



Safety Internal (workforce)
2.5%

STEEL & OTHER METALS
2.0%
TRANSPORT
Net (Residual) Risk




MINING
1.5%
OIL & GAS

CHEMICALS
1.0%
CONSTRUCTION & BLDG
MATERIALS

SECTORS
0.5%
FTSE 350 AVERAGE


0.0%
0.0% 1.0% 2.0% 3.0% 4.0% 5.0% 6.0% 7.0%
Gross (Inherent) Risk
Chapter 16 “ Health and safety in the workplace 393



Sectors with high workforce safety risks are the steel sector (Corus has had
numerous fatalities within the last few years) and construction sector. Other
industries that involve working with large volumes of raw or processed materi-
als, e.g. Mining, Oil and Gas and Chemicals sectors, are natural candidates for
high safety risk levels. However, it must be emphasised that this is the net risk
after taking into consideration all risk minimisation activities. HSE official
figures show that the sectors with the highest number of fatalities are the
Agriculture and Construction sectors.
Other specific high risk sectors that are not represented as they are not
often listed on the stock markets are the agriculture and fishing industries.
These sectors need to prepare specific plans for coping with their risks. An
example of where poor safety measures led to loss is the three crew members of
a Belgian fishing vessel who died when it capsised off the coast of England, but
their lives might have been saved if they had been wearing lifejackets.
In the UK there have been renewed calls for increased legal actions against
those responsible for safety infringements. There have been quite a large num-
ber of acquittals of companies and directors on manslaughter charges, as shown
in the table below (see Corporate Manslaughter and Homicides in the UK at
www.corporateaccountability.org/manslaughter/cases/main.htm).


Number of incidents Total number of Number of Number of Number of
(involving at least deaths involved companies company business owners
one death) which in these incidents acquitted directors/senior (i.e. sole traders
have resulted in managers or partners)
acquittal acquitted acquitted

21 375 11 20 10




Case studies
Some can be as extreme as the Petrobas oil platform disaster which cost 10
lives and $600 million in lost revenue;
When UK nuclear power generator British Energy stated that they had to shut
down two of their main generators due to safety concerns and maintenance
after inspections, their shares fell by another 2.7% to 51„8p;
A fire station was destroyed in the UK, by fire, as they had not had a fire
alarm fitted to alert anyone (BBC News, 25 October 2006);
A welder who suffered a horrific hand injury leading to the amputation of a
finger has received a £100 000 payout;
A refuse collection worker was awarded £3.75 million compensation after an
accident which left him paralysed;
Barclays plc were reported in Hazards as having awarded £150 000 to a cler-
ical worker who had to have a leg amputated after a fall on an uneven path
(July 2000);
Part C “ Overview of the Social Aspects of Business Risks
394



A worker was killed in a boiler room explosion at a British sugar factory just
one month after another worker had died at another of the company™s plants
(Risks, issue number 96, 8 March 2003);
British Telecom were criticised by the coroner, police and Communication
Workers Union for their actions in relation to the case of a BT engineer who
was killed when she was thrown from the top of a telegraph pole (Risks, issue
number 96, 8 March 2003);
BP plc had calls from their president in Alaska to make safety the priority of
all 1400 employees in the state where BP has been on probation since 2000
(˜Safety record in Alaska gives BP a barrel of woe™, Financial Times, 7 August
2004). UK multinational BP has been hit by fines of $1.42 million (£763 000)
for safety violations on its Prudhoe Bay oilfield in Alaska;
Construction workers are dying at a rate of more than two a day on construc-
tion sites in the United Arab Emirates (UAE);
A contract worker died when he slipped and fell into a giant tank of paint at the
Ford car paint shop factory in Southampton. A supervisor was charged with
manslaughter. Ford Motor Company, Haden Drysis International Ltd and Philip
Services (Europe) Ltd are also being prosecuted for health and safety offences;
In an incident at a British Gas Energy Centre, a worker was left with cuts on
his head and a fractured rib after being crushed by a reversing lorry (Hazards,
July 2000);
Two workers were burnt to death while cleaning a health club after the indus-
trial chemicals they were using ignited. Leicester Crown Court heard that the
men had been using unsuitable chemicals and had not been made aware of
the dangers they faced;
Two men died when a kiln collapsed on top of them. Stoke on Trent Crown
Court heard that the two men were sent to demolish the disused kiln without
proper instruction and with no previous experience of kiln demolition;
A worker died when he fell through a roof while carrying out roofing work.
Teesside Crown Court heard that the only safety equipment provided were
seven safety boards and that the worker had not been provided with safety
harnesses or a safety net. An HSE inspector had two months earlier warned
the director and company about carrying out high risk roofing work without
taking enough safety measures;
Three people died in June 1999 when a driver fell asleep while driving a van
for a haulage company. The prosecution was related to the length of time that
the directors required their employees to drive;
A worker died on his first day at work at Shoreham Docks when the jaws of
a crane grab closed around his neck. The Old Bailey was told that the crane
operator could not see inside the ship™s hold and the person responsible for
communication between the crane driver and the worker couldn™t speak
English. The company was fined £50 000 for health and safety offences;
In July 1999, Great Western Trains were cleared of the manslaughter of seven
people who died in Southall when a train operated by the company went
through a red signal. The company subsequently pleaded guilty to health and
safety offences and were fined £1.5 million;
Chapter 16 “ Health and safety in the workplace 395



An employee was engulfed in a fireball while working near a furnace. The
company was convicted of health and safety offences and fined £50 000;
Six deaths took place when a heavily laden truck careered down a hill and
ploughed into a van. It had been alleged that the truck had grossly defective
brakes. The company had previously been convicted of using a vehicle with
defective brakes and fined £5000;
According to the Unilever Social Review 2002, two fatal accidents occurred
in Hindustan Lever factories. Following the incidents a major new safety ini-
tiative was developed; and
An employee of Whitbread plc was scalded while emptying a pasta cooker.
Allegedly, the incident occurred despite the company having previously
been told to make changes to the system of work. The company was fined
£5000 (Hazards, January 2002).


Risk management
Positive risk management programmes and projects are important, such as
drafting a slip-and-fall prevention policy and educating employees about meas-
ures they can take to prevent such accidents.
Risk managers should:
Identify slip-and-fall hazard areas;
Assess illumination and other factors that can contribute to slip-and-fall acci-
dents, install anti-slip surfaces;
Take other preventive measures; and
Collect and analyse claims data regarding past slip-and-fall accidents to see
if they can pinpoint specific problem areas and learn from past mistakes.
There is an increase in the training available for these types of risks, with
language training for staff who are not f luent or capable in the organisation™s
local working language and new qualifications to show proficiency on safety
matters like:
The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE), with the Institution of
Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) and British Safety Council Awards
(BSC Awards) have prepared a new workplace hazard awareness course and
qualification.


Analysis of historical health liability risks
This risk heading is covered in more depth in the next chapter. In summary the
results indicate that:
Historical health liabilities risk is an average of 1.2% of market value of the
500 top EU and US companies; and
This risk exposure has been reduced from 1.9% of market value by good risk
management techniques (the risk reduction/management factor).
Part C “ Overview of the Social Aspects of Business Risks
396



These issues are relevant to staff, but usually occur when the employees have
already left the company or retired. So although historical liabilities affect the
employees of the staff this issue is viewed in the external health and safety risk
section.


Employees
Through working for the company a member of staff has developed a disease,
disability or impairment as a consequence of the company failing to take action
to reduce the risk of personal injury to the employee.


Public
Negative health consequences are experienced by individuals as a result of
using the company™s product or service. For example, a pharmaceutical com-
pany which failed to conduct adequate tests to ensure safety of their product.


A sustainable health and safety risk management system
Positive indicators of risk management include:
A publicly stated health and safety policy;
Line responsibility for health and safety (board, committee or at business
unit levels);
A formal joint health and safety committee, with a proportion of the work-
force covered by such a committee;
A publicly stated health and safety management system to monitor
performance;
Monitoring the workforce sickness rate, examples include the following:
McCarthy & Stone have installed a scheme of internal fines. The fines are
triggered by poor health and safety performance, reported either by the
enforcement authorities or the group™s health and safety advisors as part of
their regular inspection process. They have also surveyed the group™s older
offices throughout the UK to ensure compliance with the Control of
Asbestos at Work Regulations 2002 (SI 2002 No. 2675); and
Taylor Woodrow seeks feedback from their employees: 55% of its employ-
ees in the UK believed that they provide good working conditions (CSR,
2003, p. 17).
Tougher enforcement and extension of rules: organisations can extend their
internal policies to all premises or countries of operation. An example is that
UK telecoms giant BT is to ban its 100 000 workers from smoking in its offices
and vans across the world;
Acknowledge good performance: ensure that good performance is recognised
by management with appropriate remuneration and reward systems. Any
incentives have to be appropriate but there should not be any inappropriate
rewards for encouraging unsafe behaviour. An example of this unwise practice
Chapter 16 “ Health and safety in the workplace 397



is that of a European retailer who offered crates of beer to workers at a distri-
bution depot who raised their work rate to a level seen to be in excess of a
˜safe™ rate;
Establish policies for new and emerging risks like stress and bullying. Recent
research shows only 3% of organisations have a zero tolerance policy
towards bullying. Examples of best practice for combating stress are available
from: http://www.hse.gov.uk/stress/experience.htm and samples policy tem-
plates from: http://www.hse.gov.uk/stress/stresspolicy.pdf
Employers could do more to help support workers who are suffering from men-
tal health problems. The British Occupational Health Research Foundation
(BOHRF) says counselling could help staff to stay in work. An outline of the
stress management standards looked at the six key areas of work that, if prop-
erly managed, can help to reduce work-related stress. They are available from:
http://www.hse.gov.uk/stress/standards/index.htm and an outline of the

<<

. 74
( 131 .)



>>