Health and Safety in the workplace is a very common practise; as its top priority that all workers are prevented from injury and accident. An employee getting injured can have devastating consequences, not just for the individual involved, but for the company as well through the impact on damage payouts, compensation, and the reputation of the company’s work practises. If such an incident occurs, the first thing that will be investigated is the health and safety checks and concluding whether the correct procedures were put in place to prevent the accident and if the employee was sufficiently trained on the correct regulations.
When staff are trained in the correct work procedures, how to utilize the available tools safely, and are knowledgeable of the potential dangers and injuries that can occur; then this can be very effective in keeping everybody safe in the work environment.
Requirements to practise good health and safety
Employees should not consume alcohol or drugs when coming onto the premises for work, especially when operating dangerous machinery. It is advised to carry out random checks on employees and place up warning signs to make the message clear. Employees should only carry out tasks in full awareness and control.
Suitable safety equipment should be a requirement for all employees, with the correct training shown before they work, and inspections should be routinely carried out. Safety handbooks are also effective so employees always have the safety information if they ever need to refer back to it. E.g. Hi-Vis vests if working in an area of moving vehicles, and forklift trucks to clearly mark everyone visible to the drivers. Hard hats should be worn on a construction site/area of scaffolding to help withstand any hazards or tools that may drop preventing serious head injury.
Employees should have an expectation of what they should wear to work depending on the workplace. Work that requires physical labor, and heavy lifting, then employees should be encouraged to wear steel toe cap boots.
Health and Safety videos should be shown on induction when new employees join the company. These can demonstrate the effectiveness of the safety techniques, what the person should check before working and having full awareness of any potential hazards. Videos will highlight this information clearly, and to make sure employees understood they should be made to fill out a questionnaire at the end.
Other checks that should be checked daily are slip and fall hazards (any spillages should be marked with a warning sign). These types of hazards are easily the most avoidable, but yet so dangerous. Some of the most common reasons for slips or falls are uneven floor surfaces, wet walkways, wrong footwear, and debris not being cleaned.
Electrical checks is an important measure, as all equipment should be well maintained, and routinely assessed by someone qualified. Injury from equipment is also one of the most frequent common injuries which can occur. Keeping a diary and record of checks is also a good idea, so it can be monitored and any likely hazards can be prevented.
An effective measure of finding the hazards in the workplace is to conduct a risk assessment, which has 5 stages:
1: Note the hazards
2: Evaluate who may be harmed and how
3: Once the risks are evaluated, decide on the precautions
4: All findings should be recorded
5: Review the assessment regularly and decide to update if necessary
First Aid equipment should be on ALL business sites, along with some employees being First Aid trained. Having a first aider available to attend an accident will prevent further injury to the patient, and they will be trained to sustain them for the time it takes for emergency services to arrive. The first few crucial minutes can be imperative to the injured party, so having a first aider who is trained to deal with them situations will be a very effective preventative measure.
Should an accident occur on-site, then it is a MUST that all details are noted in the accident book which must be available at all times; whether the injury is minor or not, ALL accidents should be on the record. This can help in learning from mistakes and implementing a more effective measure in the future.
Health and Safety should be taken seriously by all companies, as the cost of a worker getting injured can be very serious. The companies insurance premiums can dramatically increase, the reputation of the employer and their practises will decline (which in the end may potentially kill the business), loss of work hours from the employee in the time to recover, and even liable for courts to demand compensation to be paid. In the long term, bad health and safety practise can harm and may even destroy your business. As most health and safety is down to common sense, it should be a priority for full awareness and spending time on safety inspections.