THREE organisations have joined forces to help small firms cope with staffing and health and safety issues in the workplace.
Brighouse-based Kirkdale Industrial Training Services has linked up with the Howarth Partnership, of Cleckheaton, and Composite Legal Expenses, based in Cardiff, to launch a new service helping firms manage their human resources and health and safety issues.
Howarth Partnership is an established HR and employment law consultancy working with firms of all sizes while KITS has a strong reputation in health and safety training. Composite Legal Expenses provides insurance cover for firms in the event of tribunal claims.
Andy Howarth, senior legal director for the Howarth Partnership, said: “Under the new tripartite agreement, we can help companies manage HR and health and safety issues where they don’t have a full-time person to deal with them – typically smaller firms with up to 100 employees. We understand the issues and the problems that these companies can face if there is an injury in the workplace or a disciplinary issue or redundancies to be made.”
David Dumaresq-Lucas, business development manager for KITS, said: “We act as a safety net to guide clients in the best way to minimise the lilkelihood of a claim. HR and health and safety are potential minefields for firms.
“Employers in small businesses cannot reasonably be expected to understand everything in terms of the legislation. There are eight new laws a day coming out of Whitehall and many of them are commercial laws affecting businesses.”
Said Mr Howarth: “Companies often struggle with procedure and fall foul of it when a case comes to tribunal. The majority of our work is based around guiding human resource managers through this labyrinth of procedural correctness.”
Mr Dumaresq-Lucas added: “In terms of health and safety, companies come to us because they have had an accident or a near-miss. Prevention is better than cure where health and safety is concerned. It could save someone’s life.”
The partners said the service was timely – given the problems companies faced with rising costs for fuel, raw materials the premises. Said Mr Dumaresq-Lucas: “Firms can make cuts where they can, but they have to factor in the element of risk at the same time.”