17 Aug 2018
Employers often wish to distance themselves from the responsibility for health and safety. Accidents and incidents in the workplace can not only be devastating to the well-being and morale of the workforce, they can result in costly claims and even costlier reputational damage. Workplace safety is mainly the responsibility of the employer. It's their duty to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of their staff. While some worksites come with greater risks than others, even the safest workplaces need all staff to help manage risks. However, there's some truth to the notion that everyone is responsible for health and safety in their workplace. All of your staff must be aware of and follow health and safety procedures. Employing a health and safety manager can help your business to write comprehensive policies, but hiring someone for this role would not absolve you of your duties. All breaches of health and safety law, including both accidents and other incidents, come back to you.
What Legislation is in Place to Enforce Health and Safety?
One of the main health and safety laws affecting the workplace is the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992. It covers many issues that affect workplaces, such as:
- Sanitary conveniences/washing facilities.
For full details on what the regulations cover, please view the full HSE document.
What Can I Do to Guarantee Workplace Safety?
Awareness of risks and your policies and procedures is critical to making sure you have a safe workplace. In addition, conduct risk assessments often and take action to reduce risks as you discover them. Simple acts like unblocking a fire exit, or updating respiratory protective equipment, can have a life-saving effect. Make sure you have safety signs in your workplace. Give all staff training in health and safety. Such training should include:
- What a workplace hazard might be, and the risks one might pose.
- Emergency procedures.
- How to deal with a hazard, if necessary.
Now, some job roles will come with specific risks. So for example, a construction worker might need the training to work at heights. Above all else, have a constant dialogue with your staff about the importance of health and safety. Make sure staff know they can come to you if they have an issue. Always investigate any concerns, and where necessary, make adjustments to the workplace or staff job duties. So for example, if a room has a higher fire risk, make sure it has enough of the correct fire extinguishers.
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