British employers ‘ignorant’ of health and safety
Many British workplaces have not conducted a single fire drill in the last year, research published yesterday revealed.
Some 16 per cent of workers said that their employer had not held a test, raising concerns over whether a significant number of companies are ignoring health and safety legislation.
The research – conducted by the law firm Hugh James – found that nearly half of British workers had received no advice or training on how to react at their place of work in the event of a fire. Some 46 per cent said they had been given no health and safety guidance at all by their employers. Of those who had received some instruction, 42 per cent could not remember where the fire doors were at their places of work, while nearly 30 per cent had no idea where fire extinguishers were stored.
The survey of 2,000 full and part-time employees in the UK revealed a range of gaps in workplace fire safety procedures. While the vast majority of respondents said they took workplace health and safety seriously, the research found that more than 20 per cent of the 970 managers polled admitted to not following agreed health and safety protocols after employees were injured.
Mark Harvey, a partner at Hugh James, said: “Not only does there appear to be some confusion around existing legislation amongst managers and employees but there is also a lack of understanding when it comes to the consequences of misconduct in the long run.”
Harvey pointed to research findings showing that 36 per cent of employees admitted to not feeling competent in health and safety policies in the event of an emergency. “It’s important that everyone in the workplace understands that they have a vital part to play when it comes to being responsible for one another to avoid mishaps in the future,” said Harvey.