Social distancing has been in our lives for far too long now, and even when everyone goes back to work, it’s inevitable the guidelines will still be in place for a while. But distancing in businesses is something health and safety managers have had to consider long before Covid-19. Whatever business you own, I urge you to make sure you’ve done a proper risk assessment and segregation is in place everywhere it needs to be.

In 2018, a manufacturer got caught out in just such a way. The company failed to safely segregate workers and vehicles which unfortunately led to a worker being hit by a forklift truck. The accident left the man with a serious brain injury and he had to be placed in an induced coma.

The company, based in Tredegar, south east Wales, manufactures metal pressings and sub-assemblies for the automotive industry. It was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive for failing to adequately control workplace transport risks. Investigators found a lack of segregation between vehicles and pedestrians, no safe pedestrian crossings where vehicle and pedestrian routes crossed, and insufficient safety signage to highlight hazards.

Newport Magistrates’ Court found the business guilty of breaching section 4(1) of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations and it was fined £525,000 and ordered to pay costs of £8014.

But it doesn’t have to be as severe as this to still cause problems. Even not sufficiently protecting staff from Covid-19 could put you in breach of regulations. Staff need to feel safe at work, and it’s an employer’s duty to ensure that they are kept as safe as reasonably possible.

When was the last time you did a risk assessment? How are you managing your health and safety? If you’ve got any concerns at all, we can help at Sky Blue Safety. I offer free 30 minute consultations, discussing health and safety issues with companies. I can then either direct you to finding a health and safety consultant, or support you if you need to recruit an in-house specialist. Please contact us to find out more.

Please click this link to read the full report about the prosecution.