Why did he think he could do this?
|Posted: 14th Jun 2012 - 11:23 Quote|
On 12 th June the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) reported on the case of Brian Marshall, an estate management director, who had been personally fined £8,000 by Brighton Magistrates (plus a further £10,400 costs) for failing to assess the risk of asbestos during a demolition project.
The full report is available at http://www.hse.gov.uk/press/2012/rnn-se-11312.htm but the basic facts are that he ordered a workman to use an excavator to demolish a building. The building contained asbestos materials and these were released by the demolition thus putting the workforce and people nearby at risk of exposure to potentially lethal fibres.
Did Mr. Marshall not understand about the dangers of asbestos, or maybe not realise that these materials might be in the building?
On the contrary.
It came out in the evidence that Mr. Marshall had already been warned by the council about his duty to manage asbestos, and had even commisioned an asbestos survey for a similar project nearby. It seems that he was fully aware of his responsibilities, and the dangers involved, yet he simply didn't bother about safety. He ignored his legal responsibility to have an asbestos risk assessment done, and just went ahead without it.
What fascinates me is "why?" Why ignore safety rules in this way - especially when you apparently understand the sensible reasons behind them?
Is it greed, being unwilling to pay for a licensed contractor to remove the asbestos, or is it simply an obstinate refusal to accept that health and safety management - despite its distorted portrayal by an often biased Press - actually has a valid role to play in business?
And taking the latter point a bit further - why do people think that, because they don't like a piece of legislation, they are justified in simply ignoring it?
Most people dislike paying tax, but it's a legal requirement and so most people get on with it. Indeed, if somebody is caught evading tax then they are (rightly) criticised by their peers for their greed and for being anti-social.
So why does that not work with health & safety? Why is it considered acceptable to ignore safety legislation just because you don't like it, even if your deliberate failure is putting innocent lives in jeopardy?
Ignoring health & safety isn't clever or a shrewd business tactic - it's a criminal offence which can get innocent people killed (and thus can be punished by an unlimited fine and 2 years behind bars).
Andy Farrall CMIOSH MIIRSM AMIIAI MInstLM
Chartered Safety & Health Practitioner
Member of the Occupational Safety & Health Consultants Register (OSHCR)
Accredited NEBOSH tutor
Tel (office): 01934 865 144 Tel (mobile): 07771 538 985 Skype: andy.farrall1
Email: email@example.com Linked-In: http://uk.linkedin.com/pub/andy-farrall/22/307/224 Twitter: http://twitter.com/AndyFarrall
Remember that a training course is cheaper than a fine - and a lot more fun!
|View Profile Send Message Leave Testimonial Find Posts TWEET ME @AndyFarrall|