Home / Features / No job too small

No job too small

Peter Doyle, Head of Health and Safety Services at Citation on how to prepare for the key areas of focus for the HSE regarding workplace safety in 2024

Proactive and reactive maintenance is all in a day’s work for facilities managers, whether that’s a quick task or a large refit project. No matter the scale of the job, however, there is always a responsibility to ensure it is carried out safely.

With this in mind, facilities managers may already be aware that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is taking a much closer look at various aspects of workplace safety in 2024. In particular, the long-term effects of poor practice on personal and environmental health.

There are several guides available on current HSE focuses, but here are the details that we expect to be a key focus for facilities managers next year.


Potential causes of work-related ill health are set to come under the HSE’s microscope in 2024 as it continues with its ‘Protecting People and Places’ 10-year strategy. Work-related ill health affects more than a million people each year and is often harder to prevent than one-off tragic accidents. This is why the HSE is taking a detailed approach and examining the day-to-day aspects of many workplaces with a finer-tooth comb.

While this is a risk that may only arise with large-scale refits, managing risks from asbestos is an area that all facilities managers should be familiar with, and perhaps the most notorious risk factor for long-term work-related ill health. In 2024, we’re likely to see HSE expecting everyone involved in a construction or refit project to be aware of the risk from Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM), and to understand how it relates to their work. This includes third-party contractors for whom asking to see the asbestos register prior to starting work should be second nature.

Exposure to legionella bacteria is another likely area of focus, with the issue having hit headlines in September of this year after the bacteria was found on the Bibby Stockholm accommodation barge. Again, legionella is by no means a new issue, but refit projects pose specific risks if plumbing systems are old or out of use, and those supervising this work should be aware of the risks posed by stagnant water in these systems.

HSE enforcement officers will be looking for proactive, widely understood policies to manage these risks, no matter the size of the job. So, it’s crucial that facilities managers set high standards and stick to them.


This is another area likely to be of focus, and another case where the ‘no job too small’ approach will be important. Proper risk assessments need to be carried out to ensure that work from height is carried out safely, or avoided altogether if it’s not necessary. There are significant resources out there to make this a smoother process, including Citation’s risk assessment template.

Even if the job at hand includes as little as changing a lightbulb, the right safeguards need to be put in place. This means staff need to be suitably trained to use the work-at-height equipment, and ladders need to conform to commercial standards, be inspected, and be in good condition.


The HSE is also taking a more active approach to long-term, less talked-about conditions such as stress. A challenging labour market in which it’s harder to find the right people only increases the stress on long-term employees. This is leading HSE to consider it in similar terms as it does many other risks, and the requirement that businesses conduct a Stress Risk Assessment and put appropriate controls in place to mitigate it is another important consideration for 2024.

There are simple steps that facilities managers can take to help manage stress, they should use the HSE’s six Management Standards to guide their stress risk assessment:

  • Demands – this includes issues such as workload, work patterns and the work environment
  • Control – how much say the person has in the way they do their work
  • Support – this includes the encouragement, sponsorship, and resources provided by the organisation, line management and colleagues
  • Role – whether people understand their role within the organisation ensures that they do not have conflicting roles
  • Change – how organisational change (large or small) is managed and communicated in the organisation
  • More powerful than any resource, however, will be talking directly to employees to understand their concerns, and how they believe their working environment could be improved.


As the HSE takes a closer look at work-related ill health in the coming year, it’s a good time to review all formal processes and procedures. The risks are all ones that will be familiar to experienced facilities managers, but the focus in 2024 will be on ensuring that the right risk assessments and practices are in place, no matter the size or scale of the job.

About Sarah OBeirne

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *