Guest Author: Ross Davies
Accidents at work cost a business time and money, and cast a dubious shadow over a business’s moral, and not to mention legal obligations in the eyes of employees, officials and members of the public. Workers have the right to work in a controlled environment that minimizes hazards and dangers, and employers have a duty to keep employees trained, educated and informed on an official basis.
Remember that it is not just your interest and livelihood at stake, but the interests and livelihood of everyone in contact with and related to your business. It is easy to prevent accidents at work – all you need is some good old-fashioned common sense and the right health and safety training – and this guide covers your obligations and the most important steps to take.
A thorough risk assessment is crucial to understanding the dangers in your workplace and implementing an effective safety solution. Depending on the number of employees in your business, your assessment and implementation may or may not need to be officially recorded and/or displayed in the workplace.
It works like so: identify each hazard, clarify who these hazards apply to and who is most at risk, evaluate and record the risks, and decide an implementation. If your business is like any normal business things will change frequently, and this alongside changes in the law, is why you need to continually review your assessments and implementations.
Improper manual handling is a common cause of workplace injury. In all cases you should minimize the need for workers to manually handle dangerous items, and control the risks when manual handling is unavoidable. You should ensure health and safety training covers manual handling, and like for everything else, follow the risk assessment process, for example, identifying the specific hazards and the likelihood of harm occurring for lifting different items.
Get the Workers Involved
Ignorance may be bliss for some things in life, but not for workplace safety. Aside from training and qualifying your workers for the things that regulations demand, you should always test your workers’ understanding of health and safety, both generally and for their specific job roles. This not only keeps them on their toes, it can help you spot risks that you might otherwise miss.
First Aid might not prevent accidents at work, but it comes in vital for managing injuries, and all businesses need first aid equipment and a ‘first-aider’ at the very least. This will be someone who administers first aid and holds responsibility for contacting the emergency services. Depending on the health and safety risks involved with your enterprise you may need to officially train a first-aider in basic and emergency first aid, though in all cases you will need to provide company first aid information and arrangements to workers. Look out for approved first-aid training courses from reputable providers.
Do You Need Outside Help?
This guide might have put you on edge, but don’t worry, for most companies the risk assessment and control process is simple, and for small companies you can do everything yourself. If in the uncommon case of your risks being complicated, you may need to hire a health & safety consultant. Whatever your situation, remember to keep your head screwed on and don’t bury your head in the sand once you have performed your assessments.
Ross Davies recently reviewed the health and safety policy at work with the help of Lebreton Training. The increased awareness as much as anything has decreased the risks of accidents and injuries at work.