According to Health and Safety Executive (HSE) statistics there were 147 fatal injuries to workers and 69,208 non-fatal injuries to employees reported by employers in 2018/2019. Each year, the HSE and Local Authorities target key industries and problem areas to help reduce these figures further and where appropriate will take the necessary enforcement action. We review the health and safety basics to be aware of.
Wirehouse help businesses to fulfil their duties under health and safety legislation and to guide them in order to reduce the likelihood of an accident or incident occurring.
Getting the Health and Safety Basics Right
All organisations large and small have duties under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (HSW Act). The HSW Act is the primary piece of legislation governing UK health and safety. Under the HSW Act there are duties for:
- An employer towards their employees.
- Employers and Self-Employed to non-employees.
- The person(s) in control of work premises to non-employees.
- The designer(s), Manufacturer(s) or Importer(s) and Supplier(s).
- Everyone with regard to not intentionally or recklessly interfering or misusing anything provided for health and safety.
- The Employer not to charge for anything provided or done within the remit of health and safety.
- Directors and Senior Managers.
Effective Health and Safety Policies
All companies must have a policy in place to manage health and safety often referred to as a Health and Safety Management System (HSMS), this should be formally documented if you have five or more employees. As part of the HSMS it’s a legal requirement to have an up to date signed Health and Safety Statement of Intent.
The HSMS should also have a section on responsibilities outlining who is responsible for which areas in the company and a list of duties for each position in order to manage health and safety. It should also include an individual set of policies, procedures, practices on how the company will comply with a topic area to ensure that they are meeting their duties under health and safety legislation. These arrangements could consist of for example risk assessments, training, manual handling and fire safety.
These are a legal requirement and if you have 5 or more employees you must have written risk assessments which employees should read and sign to show that they have understood.
When compiling risk assessments these should be completed for any work activity that presents a significant risk. When completing risk assessments, you do not need to include insignificant risks for example using a microwave at work, however you should bear any activity in mind which could pose a risk to other hazards such as fire and electricity. In this instance if you carry out regular portable appliance testing you are controlling the hazard and reducing the likelihood of harm occurring. Furthermore, if work activities have an impact on everyday activities or the insignificant risks then you may need to compile a risk assessment.
Health and Safety Training
Employees should be trained and instructed in safe working practices including operating machinery, moving goods around safely, as well as understanding general health and safety. For some activities the law requires specific training such as asbestos awareness for those who likely to encounter asbestos. Training should be carried out on a regular basis and refreshed periodically with training records kept up to date.
It’s also important that you inform all employees of the accident reporting process, what to do in the event of an emergency, where to assemble, the location of fire exits, welfare facilities and breaks.
Health and Safety Law Poster
Businesses should have a health and safety law poster displayed on the premises that employees can see or if employees are out on the road or work from home provide each employee with the health and safety law leaflet.
Employers should take the opportunity to consult with the employees on health and safety matters. Consultations are a good way to ensure that employees have all been informed of any new equipment, any information following an accident and if there are any changes that are required to be made. Any changes in responsibilities for managing health and safety and risk controls to reduce the likelihood of harm occurring should also be communicated. Following any consultation they should be recorded and minuted.
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