If you run a business or organisation, there's no escaping health and safety legislation.

From the Health and Safety at Work Act to more specific regulations like COSHH, RIDDOR and PUWER, there’s a lot for employers to get to grips with – and a great deal of scope for non-compliance.

Even with the best intentions, it can sometimes be impossible to give health and safety the attention it deserves. Plus, even if you do have somebody in-house to deal with these matters, unless they live and breathe health and safety (and have the qualifications, skills and experience to be considered competent), your premises or practices may leave you exposed to risk. So what’s the solution?

Experienced support

If you don’t have the time or expertise to manage health and safety internally (and in truth, not many employers do), the safest way to ensure your business stays on the right track is with support from an experienced health and safety company.

When was the last time you conducted a risk assessment? Do you have a robust and effective Health & Safety Policy in place? What about safe systems of work, a near-miss reporting procedure, or a Health & Safety Handbook? Who’s your competent person for health and safety?

All of these things are key to effective health and safety management and compliance – and are just some of the things a good health and safety company can help with.

Ellis Whittam: Your health and safety solution

Ellis Whittam is one of the UK’s leading providers of fixed-fee Health & Safety support. Established in 2004, we have built a national reputation for providing a bespoke, high-quality service at a fair and fixed price.

Trusted by thousands of UK businesses across a diverse range of sectors, we help employers to create safe working environments, ensure compliance with all relevant legislation and safeguard against financial and reputational risk. As part of our tailored service, each of our clients benefit from access to a dedicated Health & Safety Consultant, who will get to know your organisation, the particular challenges you face and your specific objectives so that they can implement a safety management system that works for you.

As an innovative health and safety company, our support isn’t limited to exceptional advice. Our comprehensive service includes everything from on-site risk assessments and bespoke documentation to downloadable document templates and award-winning software. With professional assistance, plus all the tools you need to manage risk on a daily basis, you can save valuable time and money and fulfil your health and safety responsibilities, confidently.

The cost of going it alone

If you’ve been fortunate enough to never encounter a serious health and safety incident, you may be surprised to find out just how significant the cost of non-compliance can be. In fact, according to the latest HSE statistics, average fines for health and safety breaches have skyrocketed 381% since sentencing guidelines were introduced, from £27,000 per conviction in 2014/15 to a staggering £130,000 per conviction. Financial penalties aside, there’s also the human cost, loss of productivity and reputational damage to consider.

With so much at stake, leaning on a health and safety company can dramatically reduce risk to your workforce and help to protect your bottom line.

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Proven results: Owing to the quality of our advice, support and safety management systems, we reduce the risk of prosecution by c.50% and cut the cost of any fine imposed by more than 85%.

Selecting the right safety company

Once you’ve identified a need for outsourced support, the next step is to find a health and safety company that works for you. Great support can be hard to come by – not all health and safety companies have the right credentials, some may provide overly-cautious advice, and others may lack the technical ability to develop solutions to the real health and safety challenges you face. 

5 questions to ask when searching for a health and safety company include:

1. Are they experts?

In most cases, the primary reason employers will seek out professional support is because they don’t have the expertise required to manage health and safety internally. With this in mind, you want to ensure that the health and safety company responsible for your compliance has the best qualifications and real, hands-on experience of supporting organisations like yours.

At Ellis Whittam, 100% of our Health & Safety Consultants are professionally qualified to a minimum of NEBOSH level, with 95% qualified to Grad IOSH membership or higher. What’s more, all of our consultants have real, boots-on-the-ground experience of managing health and safety and over 350 years’ combined experience of keeping clients safe. 

We are also the first health and safety company to achieve assured advice status from an enforcing authority, known as a Primary Authority.

All of this gives you the reassurance that you’re in safe hands and receiving accurate health and safety advice from a trusted source.

2. Do they know my sector?

No two organisations are the same, and this should be recognised by any good safety company. A broad-brush approach to health and safety will not only fail to address the specific hazards you face, but won’t be geared towards your particular needs, leaving you feeling short-changed.

Unlike some health and safety companies, our support is tailored to each individual client. To ensure a truly personalised service, we assign named consultants with specialist expertise in your industry and an in-depth understanding of the unique challenges you face. Available 24/7, we offer a constant source of support, and will also keep you updated with any health and safety developments that may impact your sector and how you operate.

Our experienced local consultants have sector-specific knowledge across charities, education, manufacturing, retail, professional services and many more.

3. What's included?

When weighing up support from various health and safety companies, it’s important to see through generic promises and find out what they can really do for you. At Ellis Whittam, our comprehensive service is designed to address all aspects of health and safety compliance and promote high standards across your organisation, as well as give you the tools you need to manage risk on a daily basis.

In practical terms, you will be assigned a named Health & Safety Consultant, who will meet you on site to get to know your organisation, how you operate and what matters to you. They will also conduct a thorough assessment to determine your current risk status. 

From this, they will:

  • Review your policies, procedures and working practices to establish where you fall short of your legal obligations;
  • Prepare a bespoke Health & Safety Policy and Health & Safety Handbook tailored to your organisation;
  • Provide you with a Prioritised Safety Action Plan that lists everything that needs to be done in order to get you where you need to be; and
  • Revisit your premises to keep you up to date.

As a 24/7 safety company, if your consultant is not available (supporting another organisation when you call), our office-based consultants will be able to answer any questions you might have.

Ongoing support from your consultant is backed up by:

A bespoke Health & Safety Policy and Health & Safety Handbook to provide a firm foundation for compliance and promote safe practices across your organisation.
Award-winning Health & Safety Software that is auditable, reportable and allows you to monitor your risk status in real time.
Serious accident and emergency support, including liaising with the enforcing authority, to help mitigate damage, guide you and support you.
An extensive library of health and safety materials, including expert-created guidance documents and risk assessment templates.
Interactive e-Learning training, free for the first 12 months, to upskill your team in essential health and safety topics.

4. How much does it cost?

When outsourcing your health and safety needs, you want to know how much it’s going to cost you. The right safety company should save your organisation money. Not only can outsourcing offer a cost-effective alternative to an in-house member of staff, but by reducing the risk of accidents and ill health, high-quality external support can prevent the expense associated with downtime, production delays, temporary labour, investigation time, loss of contracts, fines and legal costs.

At Ellis Whittam, we believe in an honest and transparent approach. That’s why, unlike some health and safety companies, our fees are fair and fixed. This means that you know upfront how much health and safety support will cost you and can rest assured that you won’t pay a penny more, no matter how often you need to call on us for help.

What’s more, if you’re concerned about the rising cost of non-compliance, we offer independent Legal Expenses Insurance to cover the cost of health and safety prosecutions and any Fee for Intervention charges, giving you peace of mind that your organisation is protected should the worst happen.

5. What’s their track record?

Above all, you want to know that the safety company responsible for your compliance is able to achieve real results. This means protecting you from risk.

With support from an Ellis Whittam consultant, you are:

  • Six times less likely to suffer a fatality
  • 60% less likely to be served with an enforcement notice
  • 50% less likely to be prosecuted for health and safety offences

In fact, we’re so confident in our support, we’ll even act as your legally-required competent person.

Looking for a health and safety company to take your organisation to the next level?

Whatever your situation and whatever systems you currently have in place, our hands-on Health & Safety service will help to improve standards across your organisation, reduce risk, and ensure your workplace is safe, productive and compliant.

To talk through your specific needs and enquire about competent person support for your organisation, call 0345 226 8393 or request your free consultation using the button below.

Health & Safety Guides

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What exactly is a competent person?

Most employers aren’t health and safety experts. That’s why, by law, all organisations must have access to help from a ‘competent person’ to enable it to meet its health and safety obligations and regulatory requirements. To be considered ‘competent’, an individual must have sufficient training, experience and knowledge of health and safety in order to assist you properly. The HSE advises that employers who aren’t confident in their ability to manage health and safety internally should seek support from an external health and safety professional.

At Ellis Whittam, we are so confident in the expertise of our consultants and the quality of our advice that we will take on this essential role for you.

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How much attention does health and safety require?

Good health and safety management is all about striking the right balance. Indeed, the HSE has warned that self-imposed rules and restrictions cause confusion, fear and administrative burden, and in some cases are “disproportionate or lead to ineffective risk control and ownership”. This so-called “blue tape”, coupled with misguided advice, often gives health and safety a bad rap and undermines real risk.

The HSE advocates for a “sensible, proportionate” approach to health and safety, focusing on how real risks are managed. This means doing all that is “reasonably practicable” to keep people safe by removing or reducing workplace risks.

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I don’t have a Health & Safety Handbook. Do I need one?

There is no specific legal requirement to have a Health & Safety Handbook in place. Employers must, however, consult with all of their employees on health and safety matters, as well as provide staff with whatever information, instruction and training they require to carry out their role safely. It is also a legal requirement to ensure employees are aware of and understand your Health & Safety Policy.

A Health & Safety Handbook is the first step to fulfilling these obligations. It helps to ensure that all those who work for you understand your organisation’s approach to health and safety matters, important rules and procedures, and the role that they play in ensuring health and safety standards are upheld. All of this means greater awareness, better engagement in health and safety matters, and fewer injury and ill-health incidents.