All Employers have a responsibility to make their work place as safe as possible and all employees have the right to work in a safe and healthy environment.
There are two main legal requirements that must be fulfilled:
An employer must look at what risks exist in the workplace and assess and record the risk through risk assessments. Following this, they must:
- Provide clear information and training to employees.
- Appoint employees to apply the Health and Safety measures needed.
- Set up emergency procedures so there is a clear plan of action to deal with the situation.
It’s important to note that some responsibility also lies with employees who must take reasonable care for their own Health and Safety at work and that of others who may be affected by what they do or fail to do.
Many companies and small businesses take Health & Safety seriously and put in place the correct training and measures to ensure their staff are safe in the workplace.
Unfortunately a number of companies see Health & Safety as a set of rules and barriers preventing them from “easily” getting the job done. This can have a knock-on effect in the workplace where Health & Safety is then seen as less of a priority which in turn can lead to a reduction in Health & Safety monitoring and awareness.
Even in companies where Health & Safety is taken seriously, the very success of a company in minimising risks, accidents and injuries can lead to complacence. This is why it is important that all employees have good training in making them aware of the every day dangers they face in the work place.
The HSE publish yearly stats. For 2011/12 the key annual figures are as follows:
- 1.1 million working people were suffering from a work-related illness.
- 173 workers killed at work.
- 111 000 other injuries to employees were reported under RIDDOR.
- 212 000 over-3-day absence injuries occurred (LFS).
- 27 million working days were lost due to work-related illness and workplace injury.
- Workplace injuries and ill health (excluding cancer) cost society an estimated £13.4 billion in 2010/11.
From the figures above it is easy to see that Health & Safety cannot be taken lightly. It’s therefore important no matter the size of the company or the number of employees that Health & Safety should be a priority consideration.
In simple terms Health & Safety is about controlling the risks in the workplace, ensuring that they are minimised and that all staff are aware of the inherent risks in their jobs, training them to deal with them as well as having effective emergency procedures in place in case of an accident.
Health & Safety should be based on:
- Employers identifying and assessing what risks there are, how likely they are to occur and what the likely impact will be.
- Removing or minimising risks as far as reasonably possible.
- Involving employees in the process through training and awareness of Health and Safety policy and procedure. Health and safety training will give your staff the knowledge they need to understand the risks in their jobs and allow them to deal with these risks effectively.
Take these steps and Health & Safety can be dealt with simply and effectively. Health and safety needn’t be complicated.