Four pressing challenges facing health and safety teams
19 July 2018

Four pressing challenges facing health and safety teams

HR and H&S professionals need to team up to tackle concerns head on, said experts from SHE Software in a recent Ciphr webinar


Cathryn Newbery

Cathryn Newbery

Cathryn Newbery is head of content and community at Ciphr. She was previously deputy editor at People Management magazine. You can find her on Twitter @c_newbery. Her writing focuses on HR systems and solutions, as well as the employee experience at work.


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HR and H&S professionals need to team up to tackle concerns head on, said experts from SHE Software in a recent Ciphr webinar

HR and health and safety (H&S) professionals are facing a number significant challenges in their quest to ensure H&S compliance at work, said Simon Cooke and Julian Taylor of SHE Software during a recent Ciphr webinar.

According to Cooke and Taylor, these are the four most-pressing health and safety issues that organisations need to tackle now.

1. Regulatory change

The arrival of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May 2018 has provided significant impetus for HR and H&S professionals to get their H&S data in order, said Cooke. “You can’t have sensitive personal information flying around in spreadsheets anymore,” he said.

HR professionals also need to be aware of new sentencing guidelines that came into effect in February this year, Cooke added. People can now be prosecuted and sentenced for risk of harm – not just actual harm caused – and fines are now proportional to an organisation’s turnover.

Taylor noted that the corporate manslaughter regulations, which came into force in 2008 are resulting in prison sentences for staff at organisations found to be in breach of their duty of care to their employees. “The ramifications of not getting it right are ever increasing,” he said.

2. Productivity and efficiency pressures

Taylor also highlighted the introduction in 2013 by the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) of intervention fees. “If you are found to be in material breach of health and safety law, you will have to pay for the time it takes the HSE to identify the breach and put it right,” he said. “They will invoice you £129 per hour for that work – making it potentially very costly for businesses.”

Meanwhile, Cooke said that “both HR and H&S professions are looking to make their organisations more productive and efficiency. We don’t want safety to be an administrative burden.”

A key workplace health and safety challenge for many organisations is a proliferation of forms and processes in many organisations, said Taylor. Different teams carrying out the same work using different processes is causing complexity and inefficiencies, and risks incidents and necessary interventions being overlooked.

3. Need to develop a safety culture

“When we talk about compliance, there’s often an assumption that this is a management responsibility,” said Taylor. “But it’s also important to reinforce that safety comes from all levels of your organisation. Culture is one of the most fundamental things to improving safety. Everyone at every level needs to take an interest in and support safety initiatives.”

Cooke added: “A shared objective to drive cultural change around general performance or safety performance can be enabled by connecting best of breed software such as Ciphr and SHE.”

4. Meetings expectations of a multi-generation workforce

The emergence of the multi-generation workforce is a significant challenge when it comes to monitoring health and safety issues, and engaging employees in safety culture. “Each generation will have different expectations of how things should be done,” says Taylor. “For younger workers, apps will be a way of life – so they’ll disengage if H&S monitoring is still being done with pen and paper.

“H&S is an inherently mobile activity, so it makes sense to take advantage of mobile apps,” he added. “Apps should make safety a simply thing to do for all demographics of our workforce.”

For more tips and advice on overcoming key workplace health and safety challenges, watch the webinar on demand here.

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