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Role of the H&S Manager

Discuss all things health and safety.

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Enzo
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Role of the H&S Manager

Post by Enzo » Thu Mar 21, 2019 1:41 pm

Good afternoon all,

I'm looking for your advice and guidance please, as a H&S Practitioner I have undertaken many courses in H&S including the NEBOSH General Certificate and Diploma but one thing that the course does not teach you from my experience is once in post how you undertake your appointed role.

What I mean by this is that the courses teach you the statute duties must be complied with, H&S Policy, Risk Assessments, Safe Systems of Work, etc. but it doesn't give you clear guidance on the expectations of you as a H&S Practitioner especially when dealing with a Senior Management Team where H&S is a last priority and not a main priority.

An area where I'm having a current issue with that I have a Senior Management Team that values production over everything else and H&S only becomes a priority following an accident or incident, following client intervention, etc.

Currently I am under strict instruction not to stop works even if there is serious imminent danger without notifying and getting the consent of the Managing Director.

This is where I have real concerns, in the past I have been threatened with dismissal for stopping a work activity that was presenting a risk of serious imminent danger. I really don't know where to turn, I have the MD calling me to attend site to address issues but not to stop any of the workers or to upset them in anyway but yet he still expects me to address the issues with no support which is near impossible.

It seems lately that when I do intervene where the risk assessments and safe systems of work are not being followed then no action is taken because there is a fear the workers find alternative employment making my job even more difficult.

When we do have incidents I have the MD calling me saying what is going on with H&S and that he needs to see a big improvement but then won't allow me to enforce the rules.

The question I have is as a H&S Practitioner, am I legally bound to intervene and stop works that are dangerous or is it my duty to inform the management team that they are failing in their legal duties.

I have always taken the approach that if workers are not following their H&S arrangements then it is my duty to intervene, review the work activity and then go through the RAM's with them again and inform their line manager of their failings but I'm finding that this is not what the senior management of the company want, so I'm starting to think that I my only option is not to directly intervene in the unsafe work activity but to then formally by Email write to their line manager advising of their failings but I really need to know if this would be legal?

Thank you for taking the time to read this post and I look forward to you replies.



Thanks

Enzo

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Re: Role of the H&S Manager

Post by PaulDonaldson » Thu Mar 21, 2019 2:00 pm

Enzo
It sounds like your SMT have serious training needs when it comes to H&S. I would get them all to go on the Directing or Leading Safety courses which will tell them what their duties are when it comes to H&S and where the buck actually stops.
It will make your life a lot easier. Your other option is obviously to jump ship and find something else.
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Re: Role of the H&S Manager

Post by Enzo » Thu Mar 21, 2019 2:12 pm

Thank you for your reply Paul, unfortunately there is little chance that the SMT will go on any H&S courses. I've also come to the conclusion that really the only option is to look for an alternative role sadly.

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Re: Role of the H&S Manager

Post by Alexis » Thu Mar 21, 2019 2:30 pm

Good Afternoon Enzo.

This is a problem many H&S professionals like yourself encounter at times and indeed some of our members have also had such difficulties.

I have found some past posts with similar topics that you may wish to have a look at for the moment until others come in Enzo.

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=44552&p=331292&hili ... ng#p331292

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=44604&p=331824&hili ... ng#p331824

I wonder if perhaps you are being a little too dogmatic with the workforce albeit your intention is to make sure they all go home safely every day. Agree, there have to be procedures in place, which you obviously have, however, as has been said in our forums many times, without the workforces buy-in to H&S, it becomes much more of a struggle for professionals such as yourself to try and enforce the company H&S policies and procedures.

There is another past post which may offer a little assistance. Have a look at Grim 72 reply Enzo. viewtopic.php?f=1&t=47521&p=348848&hili ... ng#p348848
Enzo wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 1:41 pm

The question I have is as a H&S Practitioner, am I legally bound to intervene and stop works that are dangerous or is it my duty to inform the management team that they are failing in their legal duties.

I have always taken the approach that if workers are not following their H&S arrangements then it is my duty to intervene, review the work activity and then go through the RAM's with them again and inform their line manager of their failings but I'm finding that this is not what the senior management of the company want, so I'm starting to think that I my only option is not to directly intervene in the unsafe work activity but to then formally by Email write to their line manager advising of their failings but I really need to know if this would be legal?

Enzo
With regards to the above questions. If you, as the appointed H&S professional for the organisation see something that you have deemed to be dangerous to someone in the workforce and did not stop the task and report it to Management, then you will have broken your contract of employment in my opinion.

If you are feeling that the H&S culture is such that there are dangers which could cause death, through lack of Management backing for yourself, then I would suggest you make it very clear to Management that you are finding areas where you simply cannot pass by and not stop the jobs.

Let them know, you will, however, be happy to communicate with Management and shop floor staff to come to some sort of agreement on solutions, which will ensure production continues safely in the future. Remind them that it is Management who will face the law should there be any claims for injury or death.

Everything you do and see as the H&S practitioner, by all means log it and put in writing (email) to keep yourself right. They cannot sack you for this and if they did, from what you tell us in here, you would have a case by the sounds of things.

It is a terrible situation to be in and I for one do sympathise, however, how good it would be for you as the Professional person who cares, to be able to turn this culture around and have a happy and accident-free workforce with consistent production output for Management.

Apologies if I have gone on a bit only reiterating what you know yourself Enzo.

Hope it works out for you. Maybe think about moving to an organisation that would appreciate you? ;)
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Re: Role of the H&S Manager

Post by Andyblue » Thu Mar 21, 2019 5:54 pm

How about a different form of notifying the SMT. Take a short video and send to the MD, give it 2-3 mins and then call and speak about the video. Get their approval/ rejection within moments of the unsafe act.
I’d do it in a non- confrontational way, gentle ack if they want it to proceed, get the response. Once we have a clear decision, offer up why you want it to stop again and add the query if they stand by that decision even if an HSE Insp was standing outside!
If nothing else, sadly, it’s a protective measure. But it should be like that for long. Either they will adopt change or you may find better employer.
Not an easy position


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Re: Role of the H&S Manager

Post by Enzo » Thu Mar 21, 2019 8:40 pm

Hi Alexis,

Thank you for your reply, it was really useful. I've read through the previous topics that have been raised and it's assisted me in my plan of action to take with the MD. One of the posts was about S7 of HSWA assistance of competent advice, I think this is where my MD needs to understand his legal responsibilities.

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Re: Role of the H&S Manager

Post by danwel » Fri Mar 22, 2019 12:46 am

Enzo wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 2:12 pm
Thank you for your reply Paul, unfortunately there is little chance that the SMT will go on any H&S courses. I've also come to the conclusion that really the only option is to look for an alternative role sadly.
It comes down to your morals and whether or not you are prepared to accept that you are basically being told that production is more important that safety itself.

It tells me a lot about the leadership team and the company in that they are at best reactive and will not change until something serious happens.

You can stay and become a yes man or you could look to find employment elsewhere at a company that may or may not be better.

Personally i would request a meeting with the MD and let him know your thoughts and impress upon him that spending time and effort now to stop the job and improve will actually save money in the long run and also reputation if a serious occurrence happens. Failing that it would appear that they are just paying health and safety lip service.
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Re: Role of the H&S Manager

Post by Andyblue » Tue Mar 26, 2019 4:07 am

I’d be reluctant and quote legislation as a last resort. If you meet the MD, chat through a r3cent unsafe act. Lead into how we managed to c9mplete it without injury. Then let them lead as to what could go wrong, the consequences etc. We can then use the reverse terror comment - the company has to be lucky on every occasion they do an unsafe act. They only need to be unlucky once to get closed down ( exaggerated hopefully for dramatic effect) but you know what I mean.

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Re: Role of the H&S Manager

Post by Jack Kane » Sun Apr 14, 2019 8:36 pm

Hey Enzo :wave:

How are things now? Any better at all?

Your situation doesn't sound that great unfortunately, even worse, it's not that uncommon even in this day and age :(

In my time, I've come across H&S pros who love the challenge of dragging a company from the dark ages way of thinking to a proactive approach. There's others who value their own health, safety and sanity and move on to their next chapter with another company. Either way, the majority of us are passionate about what we do and get genuinely upset when what we know could prevent injury or illness but we also know that management won't listen.

I'd like to make sure you know you are not alone with this. We support you and will be here if you need advice or just an ear to listen.

Our gang is bigger than your boss's by the way! We have H&S people, enforcement agencies, law makers, the public, generally it's just people who know right from wrong...just sayin' :lol:

Whilst you're in that situation, keep at it. I'm a firm believer that you will be making a difference and you won't even know you are. .salut
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Re: Role of the H&S Manager

Post by DON » Mon Apr 15, 2019 12:28 pm

HI
The unfortunate thing is a lot of companies are the same,i.e Production comes first.BUT if you see an unsafe act which should be stopped.I would send out an e.mail with all the read/received attach to it and if they say it cant be stopped you have got proof in black and white to cover your own back.Because I can well imagine if something does go seriously wrong and the HSE get involved the Senior Management will deny all knowledge,and blame you,

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Re: Role of the H&S Manager

Post by benstacey » Tue Apr 16, 2019 11:55 am

Hey,

I had an issue similar to this is a previous job, it was a local cinema and part of my role was dealing with health and safety, the building itself was in poor condition and posed significant hazards to both staff and patrons, it was only after doing a short 5/10 minute presentation for the managers showing them what legal requirements are required from them, including some scare stories of companies that have had accidents when the manager had been in the wrong.

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Re: Role of the H&S Manager

Post by Tim Nice But Dim » Wed Apr 17, 2019 12:13 am

I found indg417 a useful document. Obviously supported by HSE but also Institute of Directors who recognise that good health and safety is integral to good business. If possible a briefing on how poor H&S is impacting on productivity. Might not be bothered by the moral duty to employees but i expect will be bothered about loss of income

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