Procurement, The Supply Chain and Health and Safety
Procurement, the Supply Chain and Health and Safety – What and Where is the Responsibility?
Many of our customers are aware that when we work with them to amend / replace their employer engagement health and safety paperwork we stress the importance of ensuring that the supporting management system is in place around it, as well as recognising the role of partners and subcontractors who benefit from the changes and updates. Alternatively they may reduce the effectiveness of your system by holding on to an out of date process or using a system different to yours!
We are continuing to find inherent problems and in many cases downright ignorance on the part of those people who procure partners for their contracts, develop and manage sub-contract partners and manage supply chain arrangements. However we define the ‘sub-contract’ process, however small the network is we are finding more and more that front facing people, who visit employers are using paperwork that is totally unsuitable on many levels. Examples of unsuitability are:
• References to the LSC still being used
• References to legislation and regulation that has expired or changed
• Complete ignorance of HSE changes to its advice and guidance (July 2013)
• An over burdening approach through the paperwork, even if up to date, ignoring the previous point and ignoring the key question ‘what will the learner be doing’ and ‘what will the employer be doing’ to keep the learner safe?
Many people who attend our training programmes and seminars tell us how vulnerable they feel using paperwork that is inaccurate.Those who we have worked with to improve their paperwork will know how these questions are addressed and overcome. There is however as we have indicated evidence of deep-seated problems. Here’s just 2 from this week alone.
1. The training arm of a county council in Wales is using a form issued by a sub-contractor of JCP (Job Centre Plus), based in Birmingham. This form, used on welfare to work contracts, is asking employers to report accidents to the LSC, (including over 3 day absences!) and asks whether they are registered via forms F9 or OSR1.
2. Providers in Scotland have been found using the old LSC HSQ1 form last issued in 2006, again via the DWP!
The point is not to single out the DWP, its just coincidental that these are the most recent examples. But how does this relate to the ‘What’ and ‘Where’ in our subject heading?
What is the responsibility? – There is a clear responsibility under the Management of Health and safety at Work Regulations 1999, Reg.5, for business to have ‘regard to the nature of his activities and the size of his undertakings, for the effective planning, organisation, control, monitoring and review of the preventative and protective measures’.
Where is the responsibility? – Right at the top!! If there’s an accident, loss,claim etc it’s not the front facing staff that are to blame, no matter how responsible or vulnerable they feel. Sometimes the distance and level between the people in the field and the people at the top is huge. This, as well as ignorance is no defence!. Distance can be several companies not just several people! Organisations need to be competent with effective systems as well as those charged with the responsibility of meeting the health and safety responsibilities! Yes that includes providing the right paperwork, current, accurate, fit for purpose and effective.
If you are responsible for procurement, managing the supply chain developing links with sub-contractors but NOT responsible or capable in health and safety ask yourself how assured you and your business is of the right approach being taken throughout your undertakings.
Believe us when we say that it is far more common to find a poor system using out of date paperwork and procedures than it is to find a satisfactory and effective one! Things do go wrong, learners do get injured and some die, as we’ll be reporting in a few weeks time on the case of a learning provider and employer who are standing trial over an apprentice death!
Not enough CEOs, directors, principals and senior managers are taking responsibility and showing commitment. In many cases it doesn’t take much, the benefits can be massive throughout the supply chain but inactivity can be very costly. Make sure health and safety has a seat at the procurement table at the very outset and benefits will accrue throughout the process.
DTD Training LTD are health and safety consultants and trainers with a particular specialism in the education and work based learning sectors. We offer a comprehensive audit service to establish your compliance and commitment as a 1st step, and a renew and replace facility for all your systems and procedures, supported by training and ongoing newsletters, blogs and information. Contact us today for a discussion on your requirements.
Tudor Williams CMIOSH OSHCR
DTD Training Ltd.
** The trial of the provider and employer is only a few weeks away. The employer has already pleaded guilty to corporate manslaughter charges and the provider, now in liquidation, is charged under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 under S3, their duty to non-empolyees. We will be reporting extensively on the case and rolling out seminars across the UK for the benefit of heading the lessons from the case. **