We have got to the point where in business terms the type of financial loss that would be associated with the total loss of an event or the loss of a venue for an extended period could now result from a lapse in an otherwise sound health and safety management system.
Five event companies have been prosecuted in 2016 none of which involved CDM regulations but all of which resulted in record breaking fines ten times higher than they would have been this time last year. Company directors should note that it is possible to be fined over half a million pounds or more for a relatively low fault incident even if it did not involve an injury. At the upper end, in September 2016, a warehouse operator was fined £2.2 million after a worker was killed falling 2.5m from the unguarded edge of a loading bay in circumstances which are replicated at event builds every day. Where CDM does make a difference is that previously health and safety in event construction would be dealt with by the local authority who would take a pragmatic approach whereas now it falls to the HSE who are on record as stating that they regard event construction practices as poor and a problem that needs fixing. Added to this is a very specific and far reaching terrorist threat to the public places which are vital to our industry both in the UK and overseas. Event companies need to recognise the pressure this places on operations team who have to deal with these realities on a day to day basis. The next series of blogs will look at these in more detail.