30 August 2018

Health, safety and compliance considerations for family-run pest control businesses

Legislation | PPC92 September 2018

Running a family business can sometimes mean that policies and procedures may be treated as being ‘flexible’. We invited Nathan Jones, Director and Head of Health and Safety at BPCA BusinessShield, to look at some of the challenges that a family business may face.

Health and safety consoderations for family-run business

The size of a business can have a significant impact on compliance, especially if there are less than five employees, as it usually means that a smaller workforce may mean lower compliance.

If you work for the family business here are some things you need to consider when it comes to non-compliance and health and safety at work.

Businesses rarely survive a non-compliance

Research shows that over 70% of non-compliant businesses are owned and operated by family members, and when an accident happens it can be catastrophic. 80% of businesses fail to survive a major event.

Non-compliant businesses get prosecuted

When a business is prosecuted for a breach of legislation ie Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, the fine can be unlimited.

If your business is convicted, it is also likely that you’ll be ordered to pay the court’s costs as well as your own legal fees. Taken as a whole, the totality of fines, legal fees and costs can be
crippling, but when you add them to the costs and consequences arising from the simultaneous conviction of your directors or partners, many businesses do not survive.

Everyone can be individually prosecuted

It is important to consider the fact that each individual director, partner and every senior manager is also liable for a breach of health and safety regulations and may be personally prosecuted as well as the business. Where a death has occurred, that can include a charge of manslaughter by gross negligence.

The company is liable for individual fines

When an individual is convicted, the resultant fine (again, unlimited) is in addition to any fine payable by the business and the individual may also receive a substantial prison sentence. The individual’s legal fees will also have to be paid and so will any additional court costs.

When one individual in a family is so exposed it is traumatic enough. When it is several members of the same family, it is even worse.

Family businesses are statistically most at risk

Family-run businesses are more prone to health and safety failing because of the organic nature of their development and organisational structure. Generally, individual areas of responsibility are less well defined, and the business operates on a system of traditions rather than on systematic policies and procedures. When it comes to health and safety, this leaves each individual exposed to the cracks.

BusinessShield Member Benefit

BPCA BusinessShield is a membership benefit available to all BPCA member companies and those on the probationary scheme. We can help ensure that family-run businesses are fully aware of their duties of care and the consequence of failing to discharge said duties.

We then offer sensible solutions to keep your business, your employees (and potentially your family) safe.
0345 076 6485

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Ben Crawford
Head of HR and Employment Law 
BPCA BusinessShield
September 2018  |  PPC92

Source: PPC92

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