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David Hetherington  

Consultant, Regulatory

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When the HSE come knocking

 

Article date:  20/11/2014

As if Tony Archer's family don't have enough to deal with following Tony's horrific accident at Bridge Farm, now the Health & Safety Inspector is involved, there will be numerous  questions that his family and farm workers will be expected to answer.  In particular the HSE will want to know all about:

1. Bridge Farm's Health & Safety policy and assessments of risk, in general.

2. The suitability and sufficiency of assessments of the hazards, risks, and precautions, in particular, relating to: the bull, the cows, and the presence of children in the farm yard.

3. The training of the farm workers in dealing with such hazards, risks and precautions.

The Health & Safety Inspector has the advantage of the benefit of hindsight, and has statutory powers to investigate and to serve improvement notices, which can cause considerable difficulties to the running of the farm.

It is often the last thing that a family thinks about when an accident of this gravity has occurred, but once the HSE are involved the family should always instruct solicitors to help them with the HSE investigation and in particular they should  ensure that:

  • their solicitors instruct an independent expert, to carry out a private investigation of the accident, which would have the benefit of legal professional privilege.
  • all of the relevant policies, risk assessments, training documents and any audit reports are available to be given to the Health & Safety Inspector.
  • all of the relevant witnesses are told that they could nominate a person to be present whilst being questioned by the Health & Safety Inspector under his statutory powers.
  • they review what needs to be done to ensure all reasonably practicable measures have been taken to ensure the safety of all persons on the farm in future.

If you want to know more about any aspect arising from this article please contact David Hetherington on 01384 327238 or email david.hetherington@higgsandsons.co.uk.

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