HSE Bulletin – Key points to consider when reopening

Please find attached the latest HSE bulletin which details some points to consider when reopening as lockdown measures ease.

Health and Safety spot checks and inspections during COVID-19

We know that many outdoor providers cannot operate at the moment but for those AIM Members who are able to operate, we think it’s important to be aware that the Health & Safety Executive are carrying out health and safety spot checks and inspections on all types of businesses during COVID-19.  Please make sure you view the video and link to the HSE page to keep up to date and to ensure you are fully compliant.

By calling and visiting premises and speaking directly to employers, they can check the measures that you’ve put in place are in line with government guidance.

Important message about changes to AALA

Please find attached updated information on the changes to AALA from the 1st April 2020.

It details what is changing, the application process and site visits, more information will be available on the HSE website soon and questions should be sent to

Play it safe: health and safety fines in the activities industry

Leanne Conisbee of Clyde & Co discusses these changes

With the activities sector continuing to grow, as part of wider trend of increased societal health and wellness awareness, businesses should take note of the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) enforcement statistics[1]. These evidence the high level of fines companies now ‘routinely’ receive for health and safety breaches, together with confirmation of the upward trend in the level of health and safety fines, imposed by both the Magistrates and Crown Courts.

Small to medium sized businesses have been impacted most, with the level of fines routinely being a significantly greater percentage of turnover than the fines imposed on large and very large organisations, despite the same harm categories and levels of culpability.

Not every accident can be avoided, but to avoid prosecution and potentially hefty fines, companies do now need to have health and safety at the top of their agendas.

High value fines now commonplace

An analysis of HSE data shows a total of 45 cases in 2017/18 where a fine of over £500,000 was imposed.

There were 19 cases with fines exceeding £1m imposed by the UK’s criminal courts for the 12 month period to 31 October 2018 – with less than half of the cases involving very large organisations, dispelling the notion that only those companies with turnovers in the hundreds of millions or billions receive £1 million plus fines.

Whilst HSE prosecutions were down by 16% in 17/18 to a total of 517, the HSE still revealed an impressive conviction rate of 95%.

Although Local Authority (LA) prosecutions are not included in the 517 prosecutions referred to, the data does reveal a significant increase in the enforcement activity of LA’s, showing an annual increase of 7% to 2,580 in the total number of enforcement notices issued by LA’s in 17/18.

Emphatic and rapid change in sentencing landscape

Stark evidence of increased fines for all sizes of business as a result of the introduction in February 2016 of the Sentencing Guideline for Health and Safety Offences[2] is revealed in the average level of fine rising by over 400% from £29,000 in 2014/15 to £147,000 in 2017/18.

Reported cases affecting the activities industry are few and far between. But that does not by any means indicate any sort of immunity.

Center Parcs was recently fined £250,000 when a young girl fell nearly 10 feet from a tree and broke her wrist during an organised activity. Luton Crown Court heard that whilst the company had systems in place to ensure the safety of guests these were not sufficiently adhered to or implemented in respect of this incident.

A leading leisure centre was also fined £330,000 when a five-year-old boy almost drowned in a swimming pool. Despite being a non-swimmer and staff being informed that he could not swim, the boy was allowed to enter the pool without armbands and without proper supervision. The fine imposed was the largest in any investigation brought by Hounslow Council.

Prevention, prevention, prevention

Whilst the above statistics make for sobering reading, organisations can put themselves in the best possible position to avoid or defend prosecutions, or mitigate any fines imposed, by ensuring that:

  1. Any equipment complies with the relevant British Standards, is inspected regularly and is in good working order;
  2. Robust policies and procedures are in place and followed, and this is checked via adequate supervision and monitoring;
  3. Suitable and sufficient risk assessments are carried out, with control measures implemented;
  4. Training arrangements are reviewed to ensure that staff are properly trained in the policies and procedures; and
  5. Customers are appropriately warned of the risks associated with an activity and they acknowledge receipt of such warnings.



AIM Surveys Members – AALA Licensing

AALA Licensing Member Survey

The HSE has been reviewing the AALA licensing regulations to consider the future of these and the form and scope of the regulations going forward. They have now produced three options for the future.  These are:-

  • Option 1 – Retain the AALA regulations and current licensing scheme underpinned by the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, and increase fees
  • Option 2 – Retain the AALA regulations and current licensing scheme underpinned by the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, extend the activities in-scope and increase fees.
  • Option 3 – Removal of the AALA regulations and move to an industry-led; not-for-profit accreditation scheme underpinned by the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, to provide assurance to users of outdoor activities

All interested parties are requested to respond to the HSE survey and the deadline date for the response is the 9th March.

AIM wishes to gauge its Members’ views in advance of this deadline date and has emailed all members requesting they complete a survey so we can assess these views.

Please check your inboxes for this email and click the link within to commence the survey.  Please will you complete the survey by the 21st February so we can review the results in advance of the deadline.

As directly involved in  the industry we strongly encourage you to respond to the HSE direct as well using the link here.

The HSE have advised that after the discussion document is closed, the responses to the questions will be analysed.  They will engage further with stakeholders to further develop the preferred option.


AALA Review – webinar link

Update from HSE website on AALA Licensing Review

On 3 May 2017 the HSE Board met to discuss the findings of the initial AALA consultation. Whilst the survey results showed widespread support for AALA, respondents set out a number of aspirations for improving the system.Prior to the HSE Board meeting, a group of industry stakeholders approached HSE with a suggestion that the current statutory scheme could be replaced with a government- backed, UK-wide, industry-owned and -operated scheme which would maintain current standards and levels of reassurance for service users. HSE recognises that there is potential for an effectively functioning, industry-run scheme to meet the aspirations of stakeholders expressed in responses to the survey, and has therefore stated its commitment to work with these stakeholders and others to develop this option further.

If the industry proposal meets criteria set out by HSE, it will be included in the consultation. HSE has stated that it could support a scheme providing it:

  • Is underpinned by the requirements of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
  • Meets the aspirations of stakeholders and has broad support
  • Maintains current standards
  • Provides sufficient levels of reassurance to parents and teachers
  • Reduces the burden of red tape on business
  • Provides better value for money for the public purse
  • Allows mutual recognition across other comparable existing national governing body schemes
  • Is recognised and branded as the industry standard

The HSE Board have agreed to delay the commencement of phase two of the consultation to allow the industry proposal to be developed and for a formal proposal to be submitted. We hope to begin stage 2 of the consultation process late 2017/early 2018.

Regardless of the outcome, HSE and Local Authorities will continue to have a role in regulation of adventure activities under the terms of occupational health and safety legislation. Current licensing arrangements remain in place. In the meantime we will continue to engage with and update stakeholders, such as service users and Government, including Devolved Administrations.

A webinar was held on 19 June 2017 to provide the results of the survey conducted in phase 1 of the consultation. This document provides details of how to listen to a recording of the presentation.

To view the document, click on the link below. It will either open in your browser, or in its own application depending on the document type and your computer configuration. If the document opens in your browser window and you would prefer to download a copy to disk, right-click on the link and select ‘Save Target As…’.



Business travel?

Travelling on Business

Is there ever a time when employees travel on business for you, maybe it’s just picking up groups or providing transport to and from sites or chosen activity venues. If they are using their own vehicle to do this are you aware of your responsibilities?  We are often asked questions from our members about this so we hope the following piece will be helpful to clear up any concerns you may have had.

If your employees are travelling more than to and from a single place of work then they will most certainly need to insure their vehicle for business purposes as well as social, domestic and pleasure purposes. Most insurers will charge a small fee to include this but it is usually only a nominal fee and as an employer this might be something that you would consider reimbursing as you would for any business miles travelled.

As of April 2015, around 45p a mile is fairly standard, and it’s worth noting that they should also be able to claim for any toll roads or other expenses they incur whilst travelling on business.

In addition to the insurance arrangements, you should also be checking the following:-

  • Does the individual have a valid driving license?
  • Any vehicle being used must have a valid MOT certificate and be taxed
  • The vehicle should be properly maintained regularly and safe to use. Vehicle safety checks to include ensuring that :-
    • Tyres have enough tread and are at the correct pressure
    • Oil, coolant and windscreen wash levels are correct.
    • Brakes are working.
    • Lights and indicators are clean and working.
    • Windscreen and windows are not damaged.
    • No signs of vehicle damage.
    • Washers and wipers are working.
    • Mirrors are correctly positioned.
  • You should also ensure that the vehicle isn’t used to carry unsuitable or heavy loads

For more information on the risks and employer responsibilities the HSE have issued a fact sheet which can be found here