In just a year (2014/15), 142 people were killed whilst at work, Over 600,000 injuries were reported, and £14.3 billion was the estimated cost of injuries/ ill health from current working conditions.
Clearly, some work needs doing. Often, it isn’t a case of failing to discuss health and safety in the workplace, it may be that workers are unaware of how to implement policies and laws into their work, or that health and safety isn’t touched upon frequently enough. If you feel like you/ your staffs are in need of a crash course on Health and Safety, we’ve compiled a list of basic tips and advice for you to build upon and apply to your own workplace.
Make the health and safety policy clear.It’s law for every single workplace to have a health and safety policy. Every new employee must be made aware of this policy, and be encouraged to ask questions regarding it. It’s a good idea to regularly go over the policy with your employees- just because they read it on the first day of the job doesn’t mean they’ll remember it throughout. You could hold regular meetings to go over it, whilst encouraging employees to add anything new to the policy that they may have thought up whilst on the job.
Signs are important when it comes to health and safety. They may not be the most pleasing things to look at, but it’s better to have a building site covered in slightly garish signs than having workers or the public being injured.
Constantly educate yourself.There’s always something to be learnt when it comes to health and safety. Technology is constantly evolving, and the need for new laws or regulations does so with it. Aim to check out any updates on health and safety laws at least fortnightly- it never hurts to check the news, either!
Also encourage workers to come up with new ways to increase health and safety in the workplace. You could set up a reward scheme in place for any particularly good suggestions.
It’s already important that any accidents or near misses are reported, but it’s even more needed that you and your team learn from them. After an accident occurs, call together your team and discuss what can be done to avoid repeating the incident in the future.
The correct equipment is essential.Using the correct equipment is important in any job- you wouldn’t put a car together using a glue stick, for example. It’s even more important, then, that you used the correct safety equipment. You’d think that it was obvious, but it’s alarming how many workers will happily overlook wearing safety gloves simply to save a few seconds of time. If you find that a member of your workforce is doing this, call together a meeting about health and safety, stressing the importance of using safety equipment, and the consequences that may occur if safety equipment isn’t used.
Regardless of how much safety equipment you wear, if it’s not working correctly or out of date, you’ll still have an increased risk of danger. Having the latest in personal protective equipment (PPE) is essential. It’s no good handing out eye goggles that are close to cracking or snapping, or using gloves from 10 years ago when there are much better-developed gloves out there, made of better materials.
Remember- you’re never going to be 100% safe whilst at work.
You can stock up on the latest innovations in safety equipment, wrap your workers head to toe in cotton wool, and have the safest job in the world, and there’s still a tiny chance that someone will injure themselves somehow. It’s important to have the correct attitude when it comes to health and safety, and to do as much as possible to reduce the risk of harm, even if it never entirely goes away.
This article was provided by Blackwater Law, a law firm based in Essex and specialising in personal injury.