Early risk assessments are vital, says lawyer

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A recent high-profile health and safety case has highlighted the need for businesses to carry out early risk assessment to avoid serious workplace accidents and financial harm, says a legal expert.

A Morecambe firm which makes airport fuel tanks was fined £66,000 and ordered to pay £25,000 costs after an accident at the company firm left a man almost completely paralysed.

The man was cleaning the inside of the tank with a highly flammable solvent when he unplugged a lamp which sparked and caused an explosion.

A HSE investigation found that the company had failed to carry out any risk assessment on the cleaning of the tanks.

Solicitor David Edwards of Harrison Drury said employers must ensure as far as is reasonably practicable that employees are not exposed to risks to their health and safety.

“Avoiding being liable under this section requires an early risk assessment.

“Employers must carry out a systematic examination of work activities and practices, record the significant findings, take steps to reduce the risks and inform those employees who may be affected,” he added.