CPD Certified Online Training
















We are pleased to announce that our online training courses are now CPD certified on their 1st submission. All our online training courses have been created by our health & safety, fire safety and compliance experts and on Tuesday the CPD Certification Service informed us that our 20 online training courses on Smartlog 5 meet their standards. This is testament to their detail & quality.

The CPD certification service have independently checked that the material in our training courses meets their standards.

Safesmart now provide ‘CPD Certified’ online training to unlimited users at an affordable price per site location.

‘The CPD Service’s recognised and authoritative CPD Member and CPD Certified symbols offer institutional associations, educational providers and consumers alike reassurance that the material concerned achieves the qualitative standards required by all parties.’ 



MK Citizen – Children in Need

MK Citizen Children in Need


We raised £1,122 pounds for Children in Need on Friday the 16th of November.

On the day staff also made donations and took part in donation entry spot themed games such as a Connect 4 championship and a charity raffle for a Christmas hamper. This was amongst our work and our fire safety engineers on the road even sent in pictures of their decorations for the day. The prize for the Connect 4 champion was an extra day of holiday and so things got tense and competitive too. There was also a prize for the best dressed which went to Ramos for his awesome unicorn style outfit with his colorful waistcoat and hat. He is very happy to feature in the MK Citizen as a unicorn ☺

It was a fun day had by all raising money for an excellent cause. It’s great that MK Citizen featured us and we hope our activity may inspire more SMEs in Milton Keynes and around the UK to take part and be creative with fundraising ideas.

We hope to go bigger next year and support more charities that keep people safe in line with our mission to improve safety, efficiency and affordability.




The Problem with Risk Scores and a Risk Matrix

risk score risk matrix image


Increasingly year-on-year health and safety management is incorporating lots of statistics that are recorded, monitored and reported on a regular basis using health and safety software. This software improves management and ensures things are not forgotten, particularly if like Smartlog, risk assessments automatically assign tasks to individuals and remind them via email so that they take corrective action. On the other hand it can be considered that too much focus on statistics, in particular risk scores in a risk matrix can hide certain hazards by focusing on other hazards due to their numeric values. Moreover whilst statistics and reporting are great to measure progress and identify frequently occurring accidents, it is evident that the majority of time in health and safety management should be on prevention by design, planning and training.

Whilst risk assessments that feature risk scores can list a multitude of different levels of hazards for identification and review purposes, they create confusion over what is the most likely to happen and what is the highest severity of harm, as peoples’ perceptions of risk and severity differ. Risk assessment categorisation of risk focusing on likelihood and injury severity together under the term priority and then setting normal or high priority is a better system as issues are fixed quicker based on priority and not based on the subjective aspect of severity which is circumstantial in every case. For example tripping on the stairs because of a worn surface can be unlikely and can often only result in minor injury accidents however it can also result in death; this highlights the potential issue with risk scores in a risk matrix which might rate this with a low numerical value for both likelihood and severity.

In health & safety management risk scores and the risk matrix structure could be considered as a 20th century management tool originating from paper based risk assessments as a way of highlighting risk within the lines and columns on a paper risk assessment to decide which should be considered first. With 21st century cloud based health and safety software like Smartlog, risks are automatically moved to the top a priority action list and removed when they are resolved. Today’s quick priority identification and resolution via software means it is questionable what purpose risk scores achieve in today’s era of health and safety management with quick software that can facilitate quick corrective action if it’s designed that way.

The concept of risk and risk assessments has a long history. More than 2400 years ago the Athenians offered their capacity of assessing risk before making decisions and over the years it has become central to keeping people and operations safe. The introduction of The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 introduced documentation and management rules however there is no mention in these two pieces of legislation about the use of risk scores or a risk matrix in risk assessments.

In fact risk scores and risk matrices are not mentioned in any health and safety legislation. Risk score matrices are mentioned on the HSE website but it’s only written that a risk matrix can be used, not that they must be used. In the Risk Management FAQs part of the HSE website here: they have written:

‘Most businesses will not need to use risk matrices. However, they can be used to help you work out the level of risk associated with a particular issue. They do this by categorising the likelihood of harm and the potential severity of the harm. This is then plotted in a matrix (please see below for an example). The risk level determines which risks should be tackled first.
Using a matrix can be helpful for prioritising your actions to control a risk. It is suitable for many assessments but in particular to more complex situations. However, it does require expertise and experience to judge the likelihood of harm accurately. Getting this wrong could result in applying unnecessary control measures or failing to take important ones.’ (Accessed 19/11/2018)

The HSE explicitly mention here that getting risk scores wrong can result in failing to take important control measures. This is the issue and danger with using risk scores.

The HSE do not state that a score or colour rating of risk about the likelihood of risk occurring or severity is needed or that score and colour needs to be recorded or have a matrix. There is no mention of it on HSE’s website, in risk assessment examples from the HSE or in health and safety legislation. Moreover there is no mention of it in their risk assessment guide, HSE document indg163.

The image of the risk matrix shown in the HSE’s mention of risk matrices on their website shows the complexity and subjectivity issue of deciding on a combined numeric value and colour for a risk. This is an example of a 3×3 grid matrix; when a grid gets larger e.g. 10×10 there can be the possibility of even more confusion, differences in opinion and lack of consistency in scoring amongst people.

risk matrix risk score hse website screenshot

An article in IOSH magazine from an independent health and safety consultant also mentions that ‘in most cases it is not possible to quantify either the likelihood or the severity with such accuracy, we make relative judgements’ furthermore she writes that ‘To avoid confusion, ditch the numbers and replace “mostly harmful”, “unlikely” and so on with descriptions that match your organisation’s risk profile, and simply use the coloured areas to categorise the risk bands.’. Clearly it evident that it also questionable what purpose the colours even serve if high and normal priority settings are used with health & safety management software that facilitates speedy corrective action in a priority list format. In summary she also concludes her article by writing ‘Poorly understood severity and likelihood categories and arbitrary risk bands will lead us to draw the wrong conclusions.’

Similarly the author of the article also presented a presentation named ‘What is significant risk?’ at the 11 February 2014 IOSH London Metropolitan Branch Meeting. This presentation sought to highlight the issues and over complexity of quantitative risk assessment (QRA) risk matrices based on risk scores amongst IOSH members. Moreover the same author mentioned in another IOSH magazine article that ‘In most cases, we don’t have enough reliable data for QRA. Rather than sticking numbers on to categories and mistakenly calling assessments quantitative or semi-quantitative, we should be proud of producing high-quality qualitative risk assessments.’ Risk assessment that focuses on high and low priority allocation of corrective action and descriptive text from hazard assessment rather than numbers is qualitative rather than quantitative. Regarding risk assessment methodology it is Safesmart’s view that you should choose qualitative for a quality risk assessment so not to come across the issues of risk scores in the prioritatsation of corrective action tasks based on over complexity via numbers in a risk matrix structure.

As you can see in the HSE’s risk assessment template there is no mention of risk scores or a risk matrix:

HSE risk assessment template

The HSE’s sample template can be found under resources here:

INDG163 is the HSE’s legal guidance for completing risk assessments.

In document INDG163, The HSE state that in a risk assessment you need to:
– Identify the hazards
– Decide who might be harmed and how
– Evaluate the risks and decide on precautions
– Record your significant findings
– Review your risk assessment and update if necessary
Regarding HSE legal requirements for risk assessment it is important to remember that there is no required format for risk assessment so long as within the format you can achieve these aspects mentioned in INDG163.


INDG163 no mention of risk score risk matrix

Evaluate the risks and decide on precautions:

In this section on p2 of HSE document INDG163, it does not specify that a risk likelihood, severity score, colour rating or risk matrix needs to be recorded. It just mentions that you have to decide ‘how likely it is that harm will occur and what to do about it.’

On p2 of HSE document INDG163 in the ‘Evaluate the risks’ information section it states: ‘Having identified the hazards, you then have to decide how likely it is that harm will occur, ie the level of risk and what to do about it. Risk is a part of everyday life and you are not expected to eliminate all risks. What you must do is make sure you know about the main risks and the things you need to do to manage them responsibly.’

Record your significant findings

When recording a risk assessment, the HSE state on p3 of INDG163 that ‘any record produced should be simple and focused on controls’. They state you need to ‘record of your significant findings – the hazards, how people might be harmed by them and what you have in place to control the risks.’

The passage reads: ‘Record your significant findings, Make a record of your significant findings – the hazards, how people might be harmed by them and what you have in place to control the risks. Any record produced should be simple and focused on controls.’

Putting hazards in order

On p4 of HSE document INDG163 it’s stated that the hazards identified need to be put in order of importance to address the most serious risks first.

The HSE state on p4 of INDG163 that ‘If your risk assessment identifies a number of hazards, you need to put them in order of importance and address the most serious risks first.’

 By stating simply whether a hazard is normal or high priority it can be clearly and simply differentiated which hazards are high priority. 



In addition to the HSE’s comments about the danger of using risk scores and a risk matrix the ‘Health and Safety Laboratory’ (HSL) the research arm of the HSE have also conducted research on behalf of the HSE about ‘Good practice and pitfalls in risk assessment’ in the 2003 research report 151 (RR151).

RR151 mentions the following pitfalls that seemingly could be the case with quantitative numeric focused risk assessment with risk scores and risk matrices:

  • ‘Carrying out a detailed quantified risk assessment without first considering whether any relevant good practice was applicable, or when relevant good practice exists’
  • ‘Making decisions on the basis of individual risk estimates when societal risk is the appropriate measure’
  • ‘Inappropriate use of risk criteria’

RR151 risk score risk matrix post

Moreover on p32 under the title of individual risk measures RR151 mentions a problem with numerical risk scores in a matrix:

‘Each risk box in the matrix represents the combination of a particular level of likelihood and consequence, and can be assigned either a numerical or descriptive risk value (the risk estimate). If numerical consequence and likelihood category indicators are used, it is common to estimate the risk values as the product of the likelihood and consequence values, as a convenient way of ranking the risks. Care should be taken if such an approach is adopted as, for example, hazards of low severity and high likelihood will receive the same risk value as hazards with high severity and low likelihood. Although the risk values may be the same, the response to these different hazards in terms of priority for correction may be very different (St John Holt, 1999), and care therefore needs to be taken to ensure the method for estimating risk results in values or categories that can be interpreted appropriately.’


Furthermore where there is mention of quantitative numeric risk assessment on p14 in RR151 it is not mentioned as a legal requirement it is just written that ‘Where the hazards presented by the undertaking are numerous and complex, and may involve novel processes, for example in the case of large chemical process plants or nuclear installations, detailed and sophisticated risk assessments will be needed, and it is appropriate to carry out a detailed quantitative risk assessment in addition to the simple qualitative assessment. Quantitative risk assessment (QRA) involves obtaining a numerical estimate of the risk from a quantitative consideration of event probabilities and consequences (in the nuclear industry the term ‘probabilistic safety analysis’ is used in place of QRA).’

Regarding RR151 it is important to remember that ‘This report and the work it describes were funded by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Its contents, including any opinions and/or conclusions expressed, are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect HSE policy.’

But ‘it is hoped that this report will provide useful guidance for Inspectors involved in the assessment of industry risk assessments on the appropriateness of the adopted approaches, and also to practitioners in industry involved in the process of carrying out workplace risk assessments of how to avoid common pitfalls.’


There is a lot of research online that criticises the use of a risk matrix and we encourage you to research and read this to understand the issues.

Examples of academic texts include Louis Anthony Tony Cox of the University of Colorado Department of Biostatistics and Informatics who wrote a journal article in 2008 for Risk Analysis the official publication of the Society for Risk Analysis in which risk matrix limitations are listed – the abstract of this journal article called ‘What’s Wrong with Risk Matrices?’ can be viewed here

As well as this, a well written piece called ‘The Risk of Using Risk Matrices’ was published in September 2013 for the Society of Petroleum Engineers, SPE Economics and Management Journal. It was written by Philip Thomas, SPE, and Reidar B. Bratvold, SPE, University of Stavanger; and J. Eric Bickel, SPE, University of Texas at Austin. They have written in this article about risk matrices (RMs) saying that ‘Despite these claimed advantages, we are not aware of any published scientific studies demonstrating that RMs improve risk-management decisions. However, several studies indicate the opposite: that RMs are conceptually and fundamentally flawed.’  Moreover this journal article is concluded with the following: ‘In this paper, we have illustrated and discussed inherent flaws in RMs and their potential impact on risk prioritization and mitigation. Inherent dangers such as risk-acceptance inconsistency, range compression, centering bias, and category-definition bias were introduced and discussed by Cox et al. (2005), Cox (2008), Hubbard (2009), and Smith et al. (2009). We have also addressed several previously undocumented RM flaws: ranking reversal, instability resulting from categorization differences, and the LF. These flaws cannot be corrected and are inherent to the design and use of RMs. The ranking produced by RMs was shown to be unduly influenced by their design, which is ultimately arbitrary. No guidance exists regarding these design parameters because there is very little to say. A tool that produces arbitrary recommendations in an area as important as risk management in O&G should not be considered an industry best practice.’


A summative key point to take from HSE INDG163 is that it’s written there that:

‘Any record produced should be simple and focused on controls’


Risk assessment risk scores are not simple and as the HSE says themselves ‘could result in applying unnecessary control measures or failing to take important ones.’ The other benefit of keeping risk assessments simple is that they can be understood and conducted by all to help improve health & safety management and awareness across a whole organisation. Engagement and awareness of staff in health and safety is proven to reduce the likelihood of accidents.

Does Smartlog have numeric risk score scales, colour coding or a risk matrix structure?

No, Smartlog has been designed to keep risk assessment simple and efficient in order help you improve safety quickly. In HSE document INDG163 on page 3 it’s actually stated that ‘any record produced should be simple and focused on controls’. Safesmart believe in safety through efficiency.

Smartlog’s qualitative risk assessment structure focuses on actions to improve safety and lower risk. Actions to correct hazards. Rather than having the option to give a numeric score or colour rating for a risk, Smartlog focuses on pass/fail questions with comments & images to ensure compliance and clearly show what action needs to be taken to improve safety via the selection of normal or high priority. Scoring a risk out of 5 for example may mean that lower numbered risks are ignored or forgotten about. As mentioned earlier in this blog post, The HSE write online that ‘Getting this wrong could result in applying unnecessary control measures or failing to take important ones’.

Checks & Tests

Low risk hazards that may or may not have significant severity are still important and Smartlog ensures that all risks are clearly visible putting high importance hazards at the top of the interactive to-do list called ‘due checks & tests’ automatically based on answers to risk assessment questions and the selection of high or normal priority. Based on risk assessment answers, reminders are also sent to remind individuals to take corrective action, there are also reminder escalation levels so seniors are notified if action hasn’t been taken by tasked individuals. When corrective action is taken the due check & test is moved to complete and the risk assessment is updated accordingly so focus can again be on remaining corrective action that needs to be taken.

Safesmart’s view is that there is extensive difficulty in determining a score number for the likelihood and severity of risks as it’s a subjective process. As well as creating the issue of lower risk score hazards being forgotten, deliberation over scores can create confusion and waste time when the priority of a risk assessment is improving safety. Evidently time should be spent on this, not deliberating about the scoring of everything with a number or colour. Due to the nature of this subjectivity, discrepancy and difference in reporting by different individuals, issues are inherent in number & colour scoring of risk assessments. This means that compliance monitoring is affected, thus creating the possibility of confusion and misinformed decision as a consequence of scoring.

We hope reading this bog post has highlighted the issue of numeric risk scores and risk matrices. If you are still using a risk matrix with risk scores for your risk assessment process we urge you to reconsider and discover Safesmart’s Smartlog software. Our software is designed for fast and efficient risk assessment needed in today’s 21st century management environment that seeks to involve all in improving safety without unnecessary over complication and bureaucracy. Smartlog’s risk assessments are always live, always assigning corrective action and always helping to save lives.

To find out more about Smartlog, click here

Hyperlinks, pictures and information valid as of: 19/11/2018


Children in Need

Safesmart Children in Need

This Friday the 16th of November we are holding a Children in Need event at our office in Milton Keynes whereby we will give 1p for every spot that is used as decoration or worn and brought to work up to our target of 100,000 spots. We are an SME and so 100,000 spots is the maximum on this occasion but as we grow we continue to engage with more charities to not only help keep people safe with our health & safety software and services but with charitable giving where possible.

We thought of the idea from Pudsey’s spots on his bandage. Hopefully by mentioning what we’re doing, our idea of 1p per spot could resonate with you and others to help with fundraising ideas and the promotion of Children in Need.

Children in need is an excellent charity that helps hundreds of thousands of children across the UK every year. Their website mentions on 13/11/18 that they are currently supporting 2,400 projects all across the UK.

BBC Children in Need announced that its fundraising total for the 2017 Appeal was £60,750,000. The 2017 total was the collective efforts of every single person across the UK who did something to raise money, from sponsored runs to sponsored silences and bake sales.

BBC Children in Need’s vision is that every child in the UK has a childhood which is:
– Safe
– Happy and Secure
– Allows them the chance to reach their potential

Safesmart’s brand purpose and vision is to improve safety, efficiency and affordability. We also help to keep children safe in thousands of schools across the country as the Preferred Supplier for the Association of School and College Leaders. We help to keep children and adults safe in all industry sectors we supply whilst also supporting charities by providing our Smartlog software to them. Large well-known UK Charities use Smartlog to ensure safety and compliance across their operations.

Did you know? Pudsey Bear made his television debut in 1985 when Terry Wogan introduced the new, brown cuddly mascot to the audience. He was designed by Joanna Ball, a BBC graphics designer, who named him after the West Yorkshire town where she was born.

This year’s live BBC Children in Need appeal show will take place on Friday evening and promises to be an exciting spectacle of music, dance and entertainment. Hosted by Graham Norton, Tess Daly, Ade Adepitan, Mel Giedroyc, Rob Beckett, Marvin and Rochelle Humes, it will be a fantastic night, raising money for disadvantaged children and young adults here in the UK who need our support, and also celebrating and thanking the fundraisers who do so much.

We hope you will also take part in fundraising and donate to this great cause.

Fundraising ideas can be found here:

Is Legionella Training a Legal Requirement? Is Legionella Training Needed?

Legionella training is a legal requirement for those who have a level of responsibility for the prevention & control of legionella. The HSE write section 50 of their L8 guidance about Legionella that ‘Inadequate management, lack of training and poor communication are all contributory factors in outbreaks of legionnaires’ disease. It is therefore important that the people involved in assessing risk and applying precautions are competent, trained and aware of their responsibilities.’

Furthermore on p14 HSE L8 mentions COSHH, regulations 8 and 12; Management Regulations, regulations 5, 7, 10 and 13; HSW Act, sections 2, 3 and 4 which ‘require employers to take reasonable steps to ensure that any control measures are properly used and applied. They require employees to make full and proper use of those control measures. Employers are also required to have arrangements in place for the management of health and safety, to have access to competent health and safety advice and to provide employees with suitable and sufficient information, instruction, and training.’

Legionella Training

Regarding legionella services & plumbing contractors, training is a requirement because of The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 Regulation 12 which state that ‘Every employer who undertakes work which is liable to expose an employee to a substance hazardous to health shall provide that employee with suitable and sufficient information, instruction and training.’

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 Regulation 5 states precisely that ‘Every employer shall make and give effect to such arrangements as are appropriate, having regard to the nature of his activities and the size of his undertaking, for the effective planning, organisation, control, monitoring and review of the preventive and protective measures.’ Training staff who are going to have a level of responsibility for the prevention & control of legionella is evidently an appropriate arrangement for an employer to take regarding effective control and protective measures.

The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974: Part 1, Section 2, 1 states that ’It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees.’ & 2 c. the duty of every employer to provide such information, instruction, training and supervision as is necessary to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety at work of employees. Moreover section 4 of HSW 1974 mentions it shall be the duty of each person who has, to any extent, control of premises to ensure that persons other than employees are safe and without risks to health. Those who are duty holders regarding legionella prevention & control therefore need to ensure that those staff with legionella management responsibility are adequately trained to help ensure the safety of employees and visitors to premises regarding the organisation and requirement for legionella risk assessment and if appropriate water testing by specialist contractors.

On their website the HSE highlight appropriate legionella training of appropriate staff by mentioning the self-reflective question one should ask – Are the roles and responsibilities of all staff involved in the control regime clearly defined in writing and have they all received appropriate training? (


Is legionella training a legal requirementThe frequency of training should be appropriate regarding peoples’ retention of information about legionella. New starters who will have a level of responsibility regarding legionella prevention & control should have training upon starting their role and Safesmart recommend that training for relevant staff isundertaken annually to refresh knowledge.

Legionnaires’ disease is a potentially fatal type of pneumonia, contracted by inhaling airborne water droplets containing viable Legionella bacteria. Such droplets can be created, for example, by: hot and cold water outlets; atomisers; wet air conditioning plant; and whirlpool or hydrotherapy baths.

Legionella awareness training helps to reduce the risk of people contracting legionnaires’ disease by improving awareness amongst management and duty holders. Legionella training is also important to ensure those liable are aware of legal requirements for example within HSE L8, HSG274 & HSG282 as well The Notification of Cooling Towers and Evaporative Condensers Regulations 1992 which require employers to notify the local authority, in writing, if they operate a cooling tower or evaporative condenser and include details about where they are located. The Regulations also require notification when such devices are no longer in use. Notification forms are available from your local environmental health department.

Safesmart provide online legionella awareness training via Smartlog and legionella risk assessment and associated services through our specialist subcontractor.

Contact us for details.







Health and Safety for Apprentices – HSE & Apprentices

Health & Safety for Apprentices















In November last year we organised the first-ever Health and Safety for Apprenticeships Conference.

Safesmart decided to run this free conference to help UK employers understand their obligations and improve the safety of apprentices in the workplace.

We named it the ‘Health & Safety for Apprenticeships Conference’ with free registration through Eventbrite.

As far we’re aware it was first conference of its kind to focus on the specific topic of Health & Safety for Apprenticeships.

With lots of information in the news about the apprenticeship levy and the increasing number of young people choosing apprenticeships to start their career we feel it is vital to inform employers of the required Health & Safety legislation, their obligations and also ways to reduce risks in the work place for young people as well as older staff carrying out further training in new environments.

The purpose of the conference was to inform and makes things clear for employers as well as suggest tips to reduce risk for both young and older apprentices.

The free conference presentation can be downloaded: here


Some useful stats and links about health and safety & apprentices:











  • 21st World Congress on Safety and Health at Work (3 to 6 September 2017 in Singapore)

Second Minister for Manpower Josephine Teo –‘Data from the International Labour Organisation shows that workers aged 15 to 24 are 40 per cent more likely to get injured at work compared with their older counterparts, said Mrs Teo.’


  • Protecting apprentices in the workplace – ‘In January 2013, a 16 year old engineering apprentice, Cameron Minshull, tragically lost his life after becoming entangled in a lathe.  Prosecutors in Cameron’s case alleged that his employer used apprentices as “cheap labour”, had a history of failing to train them properly and had a “grossly unsafe” system of work.’


  • Wouldn’t say that ‘Young workers are ignoring health & safety’ but perhaps this survey shows more needs to be done – ‘The survey of 2,000 employees, working for businesses that have over five employees, found that 27 percent of workers aged between 18 and 34 have put themselves at risk by not following their companies’ safety procedures.’




Fire Risk Assessment Frequency – How Often?

Fire Safety Management and Fire Risk Assessment must be Improved.
This blog post is to raise awareness and highlight employers obligations.

Sickening tragedies like Grenfell can be prevented by improving fire safety management. Fire Risk Assessment, Fire Safety Engineering, Evacuation Planning, Training and Fire Equipment Maintenance all needs to improve. Fire risk assessment procedures along with health and safety software systems can help this, ensuring traceability, an audit trail and the facilitation of risk assessment & corrective action through automated reminders.
To provide a statistical example: The Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service mention stats from a DfE publication stating that in 2015 there were more than 600 fires in British Schools and each large fire causes £1.5M of damage on average, according to insurers.*

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 covers general fire safety in England and Wales. In Scotland, requirements on general fire safety are covered in Part 3 of the Fire (Scotland) Act 2005, supported by the Fire Safety (Scotland) Regulations 2006. Article 3 of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 clearly states that employers have fire safety responsibility.
Failure to comply with fire safety legislation is a criminal offense.

For fire safety compliance you must:
-Carry out a fire risk assessment.
-Ensure sufficient training as fire safety training is a legal requirement for all staff.
-Have fire safety arrangements and an evacuation plan.
-Ensure provision of information to employees.
-Have appropriate fire safety equipment installed and maintained.

The HSE clearly state on their website that: ‘As an employer (and/or building owner or occupier) you are required to carry out and maintain a fire safety risk assessment. This is under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, which applies in England and Wales, and under Part 3 of the Fire (Scotland) Act. The fire safety assessment can be carried out either as a separate exercise or as part of a single risk assessment covering other health and safety risks.
You need to make sure that, based on the findings of the assessment, you take adequate and appropriate fire safety measures to minimise the risk of injury or loss of life in the event of a fire.’ ( – Frequently asked question – ‘what do I have to do in terms of fire safety’)

Legislation doesn’t state a precise frequency for conducting a fire risk assessment however Article 9, (3) of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 states that it needs to be kept up to date and done again if there has been significant change in the environment:
‘Any such assessment must be reviewed by the responsible person regularly so as to keep it up to date and particularly if—
(a)there is reason to suspect that it is no longer valid; or
(b)there has been a significant change in the matters to which it relates including when the premises, special, technical and organisational measures, or organisation of the work undergo significant changes, extensions, or conversions, and where changes to an assessment are required as a result of any such review, the responsible person must make them.’

The HSE state on their website that:
‘You should review your risk assessment:
• if it is no longer valid
• if there has been a significant change
Your workplace will change over time. You are likely to bring in new equipment, substances and procedures. There may be advances in technology. You may have an accident or a case of ill health. You should review your assessment if any of these events happen.
Remember to amend your assessment as a result of your review.
There is no set frequency for carrying out a review. ‘
( – Frequently asked question – ‘When should I review my risk assessment’ )

Frequent Fire Risk Assessment is best to improve safety. It is also important to be able to demonstrate your compliance should you receive a visit from the HSE or a Fire Officer.
Safesmart recommend that the responsible person completes a fire risk assessment at least once per year or when there has been a significant change in the environment as mentioned in Article 9, (3) of The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.


If you would like advice about fire risk assessment frequency. Perhaps regarding how often to do a fire risk assessment in changing environments. Contact us to speak to our fire safety consultants. Our consultancy can help you make sense of Fire Safety and Health & Safety and regulations to ensure your business is meeting its obligations. Click our solutions menu to see all the fire safety and health & safety services we provide as well as our fire safety engineering: extinguishers, alarms etc. Discover easier fire safety management with Smartlog too.



The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005: 



DSE Training

DSE Training Article Picture


DSE stands for Display Screen Equipment.

This article provides insight into DSE Training and answers frequently asked questions regarding UK legislation.

The HSE state that DSE Training is a legal requirement for all staff who look at desktop computer screens, laptops, mobile phones, tablets and any other appropriate display screen equipment ‘for continuous or near-continuous spells of an hour’ [1]  These people are called DSE users.

 It is the legal duty of all employers to provide Display Screen Equipment Training.

Failure to provide adequate DSE training is a breach of DSE regulations meaning employers may face prosecution and fines. Providing DSE training also helps protect you from liability claims from employees; for example perhaps regarding back pain from working position.

There are various benefits of DSE Training such as reducing the likelihood of postural and visual problems, as well as fatigue and stress. When a work environment is more comfortable, productivity and employee satisfaction is also likely to increase.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the UK authority for health and safety state legal requirements about Display Screen Equipment in document L26 the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 as amended by the Health and Safety (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2002.[2]


What is DSE Training?

 DSE training stands for display screen equipment training. It is a form of training to inform DSE users how best to use the equipment and how best to position themselves in relation to the equipment. Its purpose is to lower the risk of posutural and visual problems as well as fatigue and stress. [3]


Is DSE training a legal requirement?

Yes the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) document L26, Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 as amended by the Health and Safety (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2002 states on page 8 that display screen equipment training is required for all staff using display screen equipment

‘for continuous or near-continuous spells of an hour’. [1]


Who does the HSE regard as DSE users?

On p8 of HSE document L26.

The HSE state that people in these situations need DSE Training:

‘It will generally be appropriate to

classify the person concerned as a user or operator if they:

(a) normally use DSE for continuous or near-continuous spells of an hour or

more at a time; and

(b) use DSE in this way more or less daily; and

(c) have to transfer information quickly to or from the DSE;

and also need to apply high levels of attention and concentration; or are highly

dependent on DSE or have little choice about using it; or need special training

or skills to use the DSE.’ [1]


What is classed as DSE Equipment?

In document L26 the HSE have stated that:

‘ “display screen equipment” means any alphanumeric or graphic display screen ’ [4]

The most common type of display screen equipment in the work environment are desktop computers. It must also be remembered that laptops, mobile phones, tablets and Point of Sale computer tills or tablet size screen displays are also classed as display screen equipment.


What is not classed as DSE Equipment?

The HSE mention in general that tablet style interfaces for public usage and not workstations for individuals are exempt as well as small screen old style cash registers. However it must be remembered that work station areas Point of Sale (POS) systems and tills areas with tablet of desk top computer screens do come under DSE Regulations and therefore DSE training applies in accordance with prolonged usage;  ‘for continuous or near-continuous spells of an hour’. [1]

On page 11 of HSE document L26 it states that:

 Nothing in these Regulations shall apply to or in relation to –

(a) drivers’ cabs or control cabs for vehicles or machinery;

(b) display screen equipment on board a means of transport;

(c) display screen equipment mainly intended for public operation;

(d) portable systems not in prolonged use;

(e) calculators, cash registers or any equipment having a small data or

measurement display required for direct use of the equipment; or

(f) window typewriters.

21 Where any of the exclusions in regulation 1(4) apply, none of the duties

imposed by the DSE Regulations will apply to or in connection with the use of the

equipment that is excluded. However, the proviso at paragraph 8 applies here too.

Employers should still ensure that, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health

and safety of those using the equipment are not put at risk. The general duties on

employers and others under the HSW Act, and other general health and safety

legislation (see paragraphs 6-8), are still applicable and particular attention should

be paid to ergonomics in this context. Ergonomics7 is the science of making sure

that work tasks, equipment, information and the working environment are suitable

for every worker, so that work can be done safely and productively. Ergonomic

factors relevant to DSE work are discussed further in Appendix 1.


Is DSE Training just for desktop computers and work space setup or is it for laptops too?

DSE training does incorporate workstation set up and it is for both desktop computers and laptop computers as well as mobiles and tablets when applicable regarding usage time length.

Regarding laptops in particular in appendix 3 of HSE document L26, p50 it’s written: ‘Portable DSE, such as laptop and notebook computers, is subject to the DSE Regulations if it is in prolonged use.’ [6]

Prolonged use is what’s stated on p8 of the same document ‘for continuous or near-continuous spells of an hour’ [1]


I use a Phone or Tablet, do I need to do DSE training?

 On page 13 of HSE document L26 it’s stated that DSE training is needed for mobile phones and tablet (personal organiser) usage when applicable. ‘mobile phones and personal organisers that can be used to compose and edit text, view images or connect to the Internet. Any prolonged use of such devices for work purposes will be subject to the DSE Regulations and the circumstances of such cases will need to be individually assessed.’

The HSE write clearly that ‘It cannot be assumed that such devices, having much of the functionality of full-sized DSE, are excluded because their screens are ‘small’. However, mobile phones that are in prolonged use only for spoken conversation are excluded under regulation 1(4)(e) because their display screens are incidental to this kind of use.’ [7]

Regarding ‘prolonged use’ and ‘individually assessed’. Prolonged use is what’s stated on p8 of the same document, ‘for continuous or near-continuous spells of an hour’. [1]


When does DSE training need to be given?

All current staff who are DSE users need to do DSE training and before new employees start work they need to complete DSE training. This is stated in regulation 6 of HSE document L26. ‘Every employer shall ensure that each user at work in his undertaking is provided with adequate health and safety training whenever the organisation of any workstation in that undertaking upon which he may be required to work is substantially modified.’ [8]


In paragraph 90 of document L26 it’s written:

‘Newly recruited users, and existing employees whose duties are

changing in a way that will make them become users, should be given training

before they start doing the work that will make them a user.’ [9]


Before doing DSE training a risk assessment of the DSE area needs to be done. Answers to FAQs regarding risk assessment can be found here


How often should risk assessments of DSE workstations be done?

The HSE state online on their webpage titled ‘FAQs – Display Screen Equipment’ that:

‘An assessment should be done when a new workstation is set up, when a new user starts work, or when a substantial change is made to an existing workstation (or the way it is used). Assessments should be repeated if there is any reason to suspect they may no longer be valid – for example, if users start complaining of pain or discomfort.’ [10]


How often should DSE training be done?

The HSE state that DSE training should be done whenever there is a change in the workstation environment, change of DSE device, period of absence from work suffered from related health conditions. To ensure the safety of your employees Safesmart also advise that DSE users complete training at least once a year and also when it is identified that a DSE user is using their equipment in a way that may damage their health.

In paragraph 93 on p30 of HSE document L26 is states that: ‘Training will need to be adapted to the requirements of the particular DSE tasks, be adapted to users’ skills and capabilities and be refreshed or updated as the hardware, software, workstation, environment or job are modified. (A

workstation should be regarded as having been ‘substantially modified’ for the

purposes of regulation 6(2) if there has been a significant change to it, as set out

in paragraph 45.) Where people have been absent from work for long periods,

consider if special training or retraining is needed as part of their rehabilitation,

particularly if they have suffered from visual, musculoskeletal or stress-related ill

health. Organisations should develop systems for identifying the occasions when

any of these needs for training arise.’ [11]


Can our office manager just do the DSE training?

Yes they can however it must be ensured that the content is sufficient to comply with DSE regulations. Online training courses help ensure the completeness and consistency of training to help ensure compliance. Competent training must be provided.


Does the HSE allow online courses for DSE training, no need for on-site training too?

In document indg345[12], the HSE state that they allow online health and safety training and they do not state that you also need on-site training for any type of health and safety training, online training is sufficient. It is only First Aid Training which needs to be practical and on-site. [13]


The training just has to be appropriate and adequate.

In HSE document indg345 the HSE state that:

‘The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 requires you to provide whatever

information, instruction, training and supervision as is necessary to ensure, so far as

is reasonably practicable, the health and safety at work of your employees.’ [12]


‘Everyone who works for you needs to know how to work safely and without risks to health. You must provide clear instructions and information, and adequate training, for your employees.’ [14]

HSE document indg345 states that:

On p4: ‘Don’t forget that though there are many external trainers who can help you, much effective training can be done ‘in-house’.

On p4 it also mentions that the following methods can be used for health and safety training:

‘Choose your training methods and resources

Choose your methods, for example:

▬ giving information or instruction;

▬ coaching or on-the-job training;

▬ training in the ‘classroom’;

▬ open and distance learning;

▬ in groups or individually; and

▬ computer-based or interactive learning’ [12]


Does some form of DSE training need to be done before online DSE training can be done?

No it is perfectly acceptable to do online DSE training in the first instance. Part of DSE training is using the DSE equipment for the first time to adjust it and ensure it is comfortable for the individual to use long term.


What is the consequence of not doing DSE training?

Failure to provide DSE training for DSE users is a breach of the HSE Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 as amended by the Health and Safety (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2002. This means that if employers, who are ultimately responsible for the health and safety of their employees, don’t ensure the provision of DSE training they may face prosecution and fines. A £20,000 fine used to be the case for most health and safety offences however employers now face unlimited fines for serious breaches of health and safety legislation employers and can also face imprisonment. Providing DSE training also helps protect you from liability claims from employees; for example perhaps regarding back pain from working position.

See the following link for information about HSE sentencing penalties regarding prosecution and fines:


Online DSE Training

Safesmart’s Health and Safety Management Software called Smartlog features online training courses. DSE Training is one of the 16 online training courses provided on Smartlog, which is for unlimited users at an affordable fixed price per year. Click here to find out more:

If you have any further questions about health and safety or DSE training in particular, please contact us.



[1] – P8, paragraph 15,  (accessed 09/06/2017)

[2] –  (accessed 09/06/2017)

[3] – P19, paragraph 48,  (accessed 09/06/2017)

[4] – p6,  (accessed 09/06/2017)

[5] – p11 (accessed 09/06/2017)

[6] -p50,appendix 3, (accessed 09/06/2017)

[7] – p13, paragraph 25, (accessed 09/06/2017)

[8] – p29, regulation 6, (accessed 09/06/2017)

[9] – p30, paragraph 90, (accessed 09/06/2017)

[10] – HSE -FAQs – Display Screen Equipment, (accessed 09/06/2017)

[11] – p30, paragraph 93, (accessed 09/06/2017)

[12] – Health and safety training – indg345,

[13] – HSE- First aid training providers, (accessed 09/06/2017)

[14] – HSE – Provide training and information (accessed 09/06/2017)



School Health and Safety Training


School Health and Safety Training Cover

School Health and Safety Training

School Health and Safety Training p2











Original written for and published in: THE VOICE – Issue 14/ Spring 17  The National Association of School Business Management Magazine


Health and safety training is a legal requirement for all organisations. To ensure a safe working and learning environment in schools and comply with legal obligations, ongoing health and safety training is essential. There are many school health and safety training options available, including classroom, on-site, off-site and online. Paul J Williams and Tom Southern from Safesmart, a NASBM Approved Partner for health and safety software and services, consider why and how online school health and safety training systems can improve efficiency.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reminds us that legislation(1) requires employers to provide suitable information, instruction, training and supervision to ensure employees are equipped with sufficient skills, knowledge and experience to prevent them from coming to harm in the workplace. ‘The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 requires you to provide whatever information, instruction, training and supervision necessary to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety at work of your employees.’(2)

This is extended by the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, which identify situations where health and safety (H&S) training is particularly important, for example when people start work, on exposure to new or increased risks and where existing skills may have become rusty or need updating.

In school, the following examples of H&S training are needed as a legal requirement: Fire Awareness, Display Screen Equipment, Manual Handling, First Aid, and Safeguarding Children. Others are required depending on staff roles. Effective training contributes to making staff competent in H&S and helps schools avoid the distress and sadness caused by accidents and ill health, as well as the financial implications.

To avoid non-compliance, a record of H&S training should be kept up to date, with details of who in your school has completed which training course, which staff are trained sufficiently and whether their certificates or licences are still current? Some schools have a number of paper files holding personnel details and copies of certificates, often only having adhoc monitoring of who needs a training refresher. This may be suitable for very small schools but when you expand and have more staff, paper-based systems become ineffective and inefficient. and tracking expiry and renewal requirements becomes more and more time consuming.

The most efficient way of logging who has undertaken the required school health and safety training, is with a software system that can record the progress of an individual’s staff training with reminder functionality for taking ‘other’ training courses, thus avoiding non-compliance. Online training software improves efficiency further. Delivery is quick and precise, training can be completed more efficiently at a convenient time and pace, without the need for scheduling dedicated training days, which can save time and money, and completion of online courses can be registered easily. Moreover, document management functionality can ensure your H&S policy is seen by all.

Online training can also be interactive and engaging, helping to improve knowledge retention. According to CommLab India’s website, a gamified approach to safety training caused a 45 per cent reduction in safety incidents and claim counts at Pep Boys, a car garage chain. The website also states that learners had an 11 per cent higher factual-knowledge level, a 14 per cent higher skill-based knowledge level, and a 9 per cent higher retention rate as per a meta-analysis of instructional effectiveness of computer-based simulation games.(3)

A key efficiency from online training is cost saving, with some onsite H&S training costing several hundred pounds per day. Having information stored online in the cloud offers information security and means that data is not lost if an incident such as a fire occurs. This ensures an audit trail is still visible and that compliance can be shown. People are used to online platforms and online learning ensures training consistency amongst all staff.

Ultimately, the efficiency and effectiveness of online training systems allow more time to be spent educating and inspiring pupils.


The following may help you to decide which H&S training software is right for you:

Safesmart is a NASBM Approved Partner for health and safety software and services (



(1) and (2) HSE INDG345 (Health and Safety Executive), p1,



Effective training contributes to making school staff competent in H&S and helps schools avoid the distress and sadness caused by accidents and ill health, as well as the financial implications.

Online training can also be interactive and engaging, helping to improve knowledge retention.

Top tips:

A: Schools need to keep an up-to-date record of who has completed H&S training and when.

B: Using online training software saves your school time and money and can help knowledge retention.



Choosing Health and Safety Software

Choosing Health and Safety Software


Health and Safety Software helps organisations manage compliance with functionality such as risk assessments, maintenance checks, incident reporting and training. Good H&S software should make legal compliance efficient and ensure that there is an audit trail. It should also be good value for money.

When choosing health and safety software there are various different providers and decision making can be difficult. This Blog Post outlines key things to think about when choosing Health and Safety Software.

Health and Safety Software can be tailored to the needs of your organisation from schools and universities to healthcare and hospitality. The level of tailoring and customisation depends on the provider. Equally for services such as consultancy, assessment, safety equipment supply and servicing the provider’s background and experience should be carefully considered to ensure it matches your sector requirements.


Key points to consider when choosing Health and Safety Software:

Remember the Acronym: F A S T   U S P    or   A P T    F U S S


Functionality, Accessibility, Scalability, Technology              Users, Support, Price



– Legal compliance
– Audit trail
– Online or offline
– Mobile and device optimisation
– Risk assessments, custom and templates
– Build your own functionality
– Photo evidence
– Document management, policies etc.
– Site maintenance checks and tests, custom and templates
– Reminder notification, escalation functionality (email/text/phone)
– H&S Training Courses, topics covered, bespoke development.
– Accident and Incident Reporting (RIDDOR)
– Software and Training Course Accreditation
– Industry and specific requirements
– Organisational structure
– Association recommendation


– Ease of use
– Loading speed
– Language
– Help prompts/guides
– Login functionality
– Security


– Multiple sites
– Number of users
– International sites
– Cloud storage space
– Management structure


– Software speed
– Software reliability
– Software Integration
– Apps, mobile, tablet functionality
– Server security
– Software encryption
– ISO Accreditation
– Virus protection
– Back up server
– Device (e.g. tablet) provision
– Continual upgrades


– Branding customisation
– Cost for number of users
– Adding users
– User Language
– Check and Test Accountability
– User admin rights

Support :

– Software usage training
– Help and Instructional Information
– Customer Account Manager
– Good customer service
– Happy customers
– Customer retention rates
– Telephone, email, onsite support
– Organisational restructuring
– Adding sites and user management
– Building & digitising risk assessments plus Maintenance Checks
– Building bespoke H&S Training Courses


– Per module cost or All in One Package
– Cost per site
– Annual/Monthly Subscription
– Contract period
– Discounts available
– Servicing and software packages
– Software upgrading included


The above summary highlights the key things that should be considered when choosing health and safety software.

Additionally software demonstration and free trial periods should be taken before making a decision to see which software is right for you.

Ultimately, price is a key factor and if suppliers also offer services such as on-site assessment, audits, training, consultancy, fire equipment supply etc. Packages can be negotiated and significant cost saving can be achieved.

We hope that you choose the solution that it right for you.

Safesmart’s Smartlog Software caters for many different organisations requirements and the fact that we are the only Preferred Supplier for the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) and a NASBM approved partner highlights the suitability of our software for varying environments that feature in the education sector.

As well as the education sector we supply NHS establishments and work with various care homes and hospitality venues. As well as online software, Safesmart also offers fire equipment: inspection, maintenance and installation for things like: extinguishers, alarms, fire doors etc.
Contact us for more information:
01908 320 152