Health and Safety in the Workplace

If you have ever watched an advert for “accident lawyers” on TV then you will know that around a hundred people get killed every year and thousands hurt in work place accidents. Every place of work should offer basic training in their Health and Safety procedures, which should include:

  • How to use equipment correctly and safely. This not only protects your employees from hurting themselves but also stops your equipment being damaged by misuse.
  • How to identity hazards. In order to stop a hazard becoming an accident your employees would need to be observant and be able to spot “accidents waiting to happen” and act on them to stop it happening.
  • What to do in the event of an accident or fire. Where to go, who to call etc.

Personally I work in a duel environment, normally my job consists of sitting at a computer answering emails, but some days I get to help out at the factory.
In the office the biggest areas of danger are:

  • Trips, falls, spills: A tidy office is a safe office, no boxes in the walkway, no cables trailing across the floor.
  • Health issues: Comfortable seating, adjustable screens, document holders, anything to make the work place comfortable. Vision problems from eye strain is common, take regular breaks and (you are legally obliged to)offer eye tests.
  • Fire safety: There is lots of electrical equipment, regular testing and maintenance is key here. There should be escape routes and fire extinguishers available.

In the factory the dangers are much greater:

  • Safety wear: nobody is allowed in the factory without suitable safety gear. In our factory this is high-vis gear and steel toe-capped boots
  • Maintenance: factory equipment should be maintained regularly to check for wear and tear.
  • Emergency stop: equipment should be fitted with an emergency stop button
  • Chemicals: we do work with chemicals in the factory, so we ensure they are properly labelled and stored and only used by the trained workers.
  • Trips, falls, spills: As with the office space the factory is checked for trip hazards
  • Health issues: the factory is more dusty and noisy than the office, so we need to be more vigilant checking for health issues.
  • Fire safety: as with the office.

Eps works in the health care industry supporting the elderly and those with dementia:

where health and safety is paramount:

  • Heavy lifting: Her job requires supporting elderly, using hoist or stand aid to transfer client who has a poor mobility and unable to stand or walk on their own. If staff are not trained correctly accidents could result in falls hurting the staff and the patient.
  • Infection control: the elderly are very vulnerable and infection control is important to ensure they are not put at risk. Personal protective wear should be used such as gloves, apron and mask to avoid cross contamination and hand washing are required.
  • Control of substances hazardous to health: medicines, cleaning chemicals etc need locking away. The elderly can get confused and not know what they are doing is unsafe around dangerous substances.
  • Fire safety: not only for the safety of the staff member but also of the patients who may not be able to look after themselves in a fire emergency.

Situations like this can be prevented if an employee is competent enough regarding health and safety guidelines. I think it’s important to always update policy’s and procedure and assess employees to ensure everyone is competent enough to be able to practice safety and avoid incident through risk assessment.
It is vitally important to have a Health and Safety officer in the work place and to provide Health and Safety training to all employees. You can get health and safety specialists who provide training courses for your employees, they can either run a classroom based course for you or provide e-learning training. Check out SHEilds NEBOSH Training UK; one of the world’s leading health and safety training providers, offering IOSH, City and Guilds and NEBOSH Courses.

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