How and when to report potential health and safety risks once they have been identified
Written by Phoenix Health & Safety
20th May 2019
"When should I report a health and safety concern?" is an easy question, because there's only one possible answer. As soon as possible - before something terrible happens. "How" is more complicated, because it depends on who you are and where you work.
If you're in a management position or have been given responsibility for a specific aspect of health and safety, your duty is to get the problem fixed as soon as you become aware of it. Speak to whoever can give permission for the rectifying work to be done.
That means having the appropriate training, qualifications and knowledge to identify problems. At Phoenix we offer a wide range of courses, including different Health and Safety Awareness courses for Directors/Senior Managers and for Managers/Supervisors. The simplest advice is...talk to us and we'll make sure you choose the right course for your needs.
If you're an employee there's always a temptation to say little or nothing, especially if there's a culture within the organisation that discourages making waves. We recognise that it's often easier to say nothing. Nevertheless there's are two compelling reasons to report any hazard:
- As an employee, you have a responsibility to work safely and protect workmates, even though the main responsibility for health and safety lies with senior management.
- As employees, you and your colleagues are much more likely to be the ones who suffer illness, injury or loss of earnings as a result of health and safety lapses.
So who should you report a problem to?
Your line manager or the person responsible for health and safety within the organisation is the first port of call. Ask for guidance on how to file a report if there's a procedure in place. But what if they are not interested, or are less interested than they should be? This shouldn't happen of course, but we all know it does.
Next on your list is the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Visit hse.gov.uk and you'll quickly know if they are the right people to report to. If they are not, the site will tell you who else you should contact - the local authority Environmental Health department for example, or an industry specific body such as the Office for Nuclear Regulation.
On a more informal level, the people you really need to tell about health and safety concerns are the ones most likely to be directly affected - your colleagues.
If you have any questions about any aspect of health and safety, a visit to the Phoenix website or a chat with one of the Phoenix team will provide authoritative advice. We provide a range of expert services, as well as all the relevant courses.