H&S in SMEs Inquiry

Improving Health and Safety in Small Firms – Initiative

Many small firms need help to meet their duties under health and safety law. RoSPA's National Occupational Safety and Health Committee (NOSHC) undertook a long term inquiry (SME Inquiry) into Health and Safety assistance available to SMEs.

Inquiry into initiatives designed to promote better H&S in small firms

RoSPA's National Occupational Safety and Health Committee (NOSHC) undertook an Inquiry into all the main activities in the UK to promoting and supporting better H&S standards in SME's.

The aim was to fully chart everything that was happening in this field at present and the extent to which it really does reach and help SMEs.
NOSHC wanted to focus on questions such as:

  • the quality of advice being given to small firms
  • how to avoid unnecessary bureaucracy and duplication of effort
  • how to share good practice; and
  • how to encourage greater collaboration between key players.

Besides building up a unique picture of current activity in this area, the project wanted to seek to spot missed opportunities and make imaginative recommendations for action.

The inquiry consisted of three phases:

Phase One : mapped the main sources of help available.

Phase Two : examined the case for simplifying H&S prequalification schemes operated by clients and other third parties.

Phase Three : examined a range of sector-specific initiatives that have tried to help small employers improve their OSH management

Phase One : mapped the main sources of help available.

23rd May 2007 - Formal 'hearing' meeting
RoSPA's National Safety and Health Committee (NOSHC) held a formal 'hearing' meeting on 23rd May 2007 at the NEC Hilton Metropole. The meeting was chaired by Paul Reeve CFIOSH and members of the NOSHC who engaged directly on these issues in an open question and answer format with key respondants - Transcript of Proceedings (PDF 487kb)

SME Update- Oct 07
RoSPA's occupational safety adviser, Roger Bibbings, provided a progress report on the National Occupational Safety and Health Committee's major inquiry into the various forms of H&S assistance which are currently available for small and medium size enterprises in the UK. Progress Report (PDF 172kb) featured in the October 2007 issue of RoSPA's Occupational Health & Safety Journal.

Phase Two : examined the case for simplifying H&S pre-qualification schemes operated by clients and other third parties.

30th January 2008 - "Simplifying H&S pre-qualification schemes"
Report on an informal meeting for key players held at HSE's Offices at Rose Court, London on Wednesday 30th January 2008 - Meeting Report (PDF 176kb)

Joint statement : Basic health and safety requirements and SMEs

After consulting stakeholders, NOSHC developed a joint statement to show key signatories' support for a set of 'core criteria' which should be addressed in H&S pre-qualification assessments. Unless there are good reasons for seeking further information, clients and third parties are urged to accept the results of any competent assessment based on these.

Signatories to the statement undertake actively to support the development, implementation and widespread recognition of health and safety core criteria for SMEs.

Joint statement- Basic health and safety requirements and SMEs (PDF 83kb)

SME Core Criteria:

Essential health and safety criteria for SMEs:

  1. Health and safety policy and organisation
  2. Arrangements for ensuring health and safety measures
  3. Risk assessment (and safe systems of work)
  4. Access to competent advice
  5. Training and information
  6. Individual qualifications and experience
  7. Workforce involvement
  8. Contracting procedures (i.e. using contractors)
  9. Co-operating and co-ordinating with others
  10. Accident/near hit reporting and investigation
  11. First aid (and other emergency measures where applicable, notably fire)
  12. Monitoring, checking and reviewing performance.

Note: Construction core criteria include 'Welfare provision' but to allow for wider application to SMEs, this is replaced by Criterion 11 'First aid and emergency' provision (thereby maintaining 12 core criteria).

Phase Three: examined a range of sector-specific initiatives that have tried to help small employers improve their OSH management

Funding:

RoSPA extends thanks to the following organisations which have kindly provided funding support:

British Nuclear Fuels PLC
National Semiconductor (UK) Ltd
The Learning and Skills Council
Marigold Industrial Ltd


Contact Us

General Enquiries
+44 (0)121 248 2000
+44 (0)121 248 2001
help@rospa.com
Contact form