UK Health and Safety Executive has reached the halfway mark of a last minute Y2K inspection program of 1,750 high risk organisations.
The site visits are due to be finished by the end of October, having started this March. A spokesman for the HSE said it was focusing its inspection efforts on sites around the country that are most likely to be at risk from malfunctioning machinery and equipment, such as factories and utilities.
To date, much of the HSE’s Y2K effort has been devoted to five key industries where systems malfunctions could pose the greatest threat to human safety.
The organisation had been working closely with the nuclear, chemical, offshore, railway and mining sectors since 1997 to ensure that safety, if not business continuity, would be ensured, the spokesman said.
These industries had been faster than others to address the Y2K problem and the HSE does not expect major problems to emerge, he said.
The nuclear sector in particular had been better equipped than most to deal with the problem, because plants already have stringent systems monitoring and safety plans in place, and are designed to allow partial shutdown in the event of problems.
Lawyers and the Y2K pressure group Taskforce 2000 have raised concerns recently that many UK companies are unaware of their responsibilities with regard to environmental, health and safety regulations (see Newswire 28 June).
But according to the HSE, many companies will not have to contend with serious safety risks.
“The feedback we’re getting from the field is that there’s not really anything big or worrying emerging in terms of risks to safety - but there may be risks to business continuity,” the spokesman said.
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