Effective Software were delighted and honoured to host The Health and Safety In A Changing Legal Landscape Conference in the Hilton, Birmingham. These events are created to provide an opportunity to sit down with peers of health & safety and talk through any new advancements or changes in the industry.
When it comes to investing in effective health and safety management, it is worth remembering that any failings can be costly. In recent times, the legal landscape has changed with significant impact across the industry leading to increased penalties and enforcement. It is now even more important for organisations to ensure the correct systems and controls are in place to provide a safer working environment. This is why we hosted an event featuring several expert speakers discussing the impact and future effects of the changing legal landscape and exploring the ever-changing role senior management plays in health and safety leadership.
The morning session composed of several expert speakers discussing the impact and future effects of the changing legal landscape and exploring the ever-changing role senior management plays in health and safety leadership.
Bridget Leathley, freelance H&S consultant discussed what the real impact has been in the changing legal landscape of health and safety. Rob Elvin, Managing Partner at Squire Patton Boggs and expert in health, safety and environmental law spoke about what we can expect in the future.
Our panel discussion on transforming health & safety from a cost centre to value centre took place next and included our own - Darragh Geoghegan, CEO and Billy O'Brien, Director of Customer Success. Also in attendance were Simon Kirwin, Head of UK HSE at Dufry, Dave Stevens, former QHSE Director of CBRE and our guest speaker's, Bridget and Simon. The panel had an insightful discussion on the importance of a positive safety culture, moving past the finger wagging to an engaged and empowered workforce.
The afternoon consisted of customer workshops where our customers were given the opportunity to talk to our Customer Success team one-to-one and network with other system users to exchange common practice and share some ideas.
Our Top 5 Takeaways From The Conference
The overall feedback from the conference was extremely positive. The participation from audience members and panel members alike created valuable insights and shared ideas on the impact and future of the sentencing guidelines. Here are the top 5 takeaways from the conference:
1. Invaluable Expert Advice
There was clear admiration for our speakers and the expert insight that they brought with them. So much fines and prosecutions seem a reasonable distance from many health and safety professionals but to hear from those who are involved and even defend prosecutions, it was a wake up call for many attendees who were grateful to hear from the top of the line.
"It's always good to get a different perspective, especially from those who are involved in prosecutions and defending prosecutions. It is invaluable because I have been a safety professional for 17 years and I've never been involved in a prosecution so knowing those types of people are out there to help you is fantastic and getting their insight is great." Mike Armitage, Siemens.
2. A Much Better Understanding Of Sentencing Guidelines
Many of the attendees we talked to were delighted to get a clear insight into the sentencing guidelines. From Bridget's talk which went through the impact of the sentencing guidelines, attendees took away some great insights. They included a closer look at the new costs involved with non-compliance, a better look at the appeals process and how appealing it really is and how have the changes impacted on how companies assess and deal with hazards in the workplace.
"For me, the biggest thing I took away from today was on the sentencing guidelines and how that goes about getting calculated and it was quite interesting when Bridget was talking about things from a culpability point of view and how the focus of the courts has mainly been on culpability." Simon Kirwin, DUFRY.
3. The Importance of Investing In Health & Safety
What many attendees took away from the panel discussion was the importance of investing in health & safety and how striving for operational excellence in the workplace is becoming harder and harder to attain without an effective health and safety management system in place. The reality is that some functions of organisations struggle to get heard like others do and miss out on being included in IT budgets. The problem with these areas of organisations, such as innovation or health & safety, is that they are not structured and organised in the same way that other functions are.
"The other big thing I took from today was literally just one soundbite from Rob Elvin which I thought was very relevant. He said, "If you're going to spend money, don't spend it on fines and lawyers, spend it on your systems and invest in health and safety". I thought, that for me encapsulates what we as professionals should be doing in the first place." Simon Kirwin, DUFRY.
4. The Importance of Senior Management Engagement
Something else that a lot of attendees took away from the conference was the importance of senior management and leadership in health and safety. Through credibility, vision, accountability, clear communication and collaboration, safety leaders should be working towards creating a strong health and safety culture where leaders influence the behavior of their teams.
"Dave Stevens on the panel, got me thinking about senior management engagement and maybe how I should go about doing things differently or expand on things I am already doing so I'm thinking maybe I can arrange to take my managers out on the shop floor or meet up with them and take them on an audit." Simon Kirwin, DUFRY.
5. The Responsibility of Employees Towards Health & Safety
On the back of leadership, some attendees pointed out that employees themselves should know how important health & safety is and should and are to be expected to engage in safety and not neglect it. Employees should know how liable they are and that if they are truly and knowingly neglecting health & safety, they will be held accountable for their behavior
"Something I can bring to senior management is the importance of giving your staff the responsibility to engage positively with health and safety. As we all know they are just as liable and should know their responsibility towards safety. If they are not, then they need to be held accountable" Shane Joyner, Caistor Seafoods Ltd.