| News

How resilient is your business to an HSE enforcement action?

A claims defensibility survey (CDS) will stress test your risk management practices and illuminate strengths and weakness, the latter for improvement.

Top 5 reasons to consider a claims defensibility survey

  1. Enforcement action from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) is one of the biggest risks to managing directors, CEOs and business owners today. The aim of the HSE is to ensure the health and safety of employees in the workplace, and failure to comply with enforcement actions and the regulations could have serious consequences – both for organisations and individuals.
  2. HSE Statistics show that in 2020/21, there were 142 fatalities at work and fines were issued by the HSE totaling £26.9 million. In the same year, 1.7 million workers reported work related ill health, and 441,000 sustained non-fatal injuries at work*.
  3. Fees for intervention – an invoice raised by the enforcement authorities for investigating any incident of their choosing (you don’t have to be in breach of regulations to succumb to an intervention) – are on the rise.
  4. A cyber-attack can bring reputational damage, monetarily affect a P&L, and cause reputational damage. However, enforcement action by the HSE can go a step further. For incidents resulting in personal injury, the HSE / CPS have powers which can result in the imprisonment for a Managing Director, CEO or business owner. Furthermore, employees and/or Health and Safety Officers can also find themselves implicated, in a personal capacity, in enforcement action.
  5. Liability claims pursued as a result of accidents at work are becoming increasingly difficult and costly for employers and their insurers to defend. The pursuit of claims for compensation can result in the payment of significant sums, legal fees and a tarnished reputation – in the eyes of your employees, the public and insurers.  Inflated claims reserves might also influence future premiums to be higher than they should be.

A tool that smart organisations are implementing to improve claims management and reduce exposure to claims is a claims defensibility survey.

The HSE touches every business, regardless of size or sector, and with new sentencing guidelines beginning to bite, the size and frequency of fines are increasing. Taking proactive steps to find out what risk management gaps might exist in your business, might prevent HSE intervention. The last thing anyone needs is the experience of defending yourself or your colleagues against a HSE enforcement action. The next conversation you have with your insurance adviser really should be about a Claims Defensibility Survey.
Richard Taylor, Managing Director of Kudos, part of Partners&

How a claims defensibility survey can help you.

A claims defensibility survey involves a comprehensive assessment of your business from the inside out. It will:

  • Identify the common claims brought against organisations in your sector
  • Provide an overall picture of the risks that you face
  • Enable you to proactively manage them in the future
  • Assist in establishing a process aimed at eliminating or mitigating risks before they give rise to an incident which may cause a claim
  • Work in combination with other risk management strategies in place

From an insurance perspective, a claims defensibility survey

  • Offers insurers the confidence that an organisation is aware of the risks and is actively doing something about them
  • Demonstrates the company’s positive attitude towards risk management
  • Provides the insurer with a clear understanding of the risks faced.

Case study

A galvanizing plant with 125 members of staff and turnover of £9.5 million.

Having been prosecuted by the HSE following the death of an employee at work, the policyholder received a fine of £260,000.  The Managing Director, correctly, decided to purchase a claims defensibility survey, as part of the company’s risk management strategy, to assist in assessing the effectiveness of the risk management measures they had put in place, and identifying what additional measures they might action to prevent and/or mitigate claims spend/the occurrence of incidents in the future.

The results of the survey were illuminating to the insurer. It demonstrated the care being taken in the business, which they assessed to be an improving risk. As a result they were offered a premium reduction of 30%. The claims defensibility survey was instrumental in assisting the insurer appreciate the steps being taken to safeguard the business and its employees, along with the recommendations for further improvements.

Claims benefits

The client is now reassured that they have a comprehensive understanding of what further mitigating measures they can take to enhance their risk management programme, protecting their employees, clients and the business and avoiding, as far as possible, further unwanted attention from the HSE.

Please contact your client adviser for more information or to arrange a claims defensibility survey for your business.