Outsourced H&S Management

Client: Private Education

Empty desks in a classroom

This client has several colleges around the UK offering secondary level education as well as preparation for UK University application for foreign students and language courses in the summer.

We began, as we often do, having been called-in following a recommendation by the company’s lawyers. The organisation had suffered a serious incident at one of its colleges where a contractor had fallen through a hole in a floor over the weekend in the middle of some renovation works, resulting in a broken back. The HSE had investigated and found inadequate H&S management systems, so a prosecution was instigated along with a requirement to take immediate action under threat of closure of the college.

We met with the directors, establishing the background of H&S management in the company, scope of operations and current provision.

There had been a number of supervisors over the years who had been delegated with responsibility for dealing with H&S, none professionally trained. A local freelance H&S man had done some risk assessments, but these were generic and showed little understanding or investigation of the specialised nature of the business. It had done more harm than good to the company’s legal compliance and operational efficiency. In fact, the HSE used these risk assessments as clear evidence of the company’s negligence when drawing up the prosecution evidence.

We were asked to carry out a full review, and then make recommendations on the requirements of a satisfactory H&S Management System for the college. At this stage the company saw this as a painful exercise that was going to be expensive for them in terms of fees and resources, but a necessary one in view of the impending prosecution. However, they were surprised to find that the recommendations we put forward, provided them with a more efficient way of running their business and could see that many added benefits might come from doing things this way. They were also pleased that our suggestions meant empowering the staff they already had, rather than employing specific new H&S staff.

The company asked us to provide them with a proposal for implementing these systems at the college, training management and staff, forming a H&S group etc as well as developing realistic risk assessments and risk control measures that were integrated with their general operational procedures. These were so effective and so well received by staff that the company asked us to implement the same systems throughout the UK company at its five college campuses. The systems have now been extended to their overseas operations.