Every employer knows that its employees are its biggest asset; without them the business couldn’t function. Keeping employees safe falls to every individual in a company but employers have a responsibility to ensure the people that work for them are happy and healthy, and that someone is there specifically to ensure that this happens.
So how do you know that your employees are safe while they’re at work?
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) uses the Health and Safety Act 1971 to uphold strict guidelines on what is needed to keep employees healthy and safe in the workplace.
Guidelines for employers range from lighting, cleanliness, hygiene, moving around the premises and comfortable conditions. Employers must make sure that:
● Buildings are up to scratch – they are lit well, of a good temperature, are clean and open to some fresh air, are not in dangerous disrepair and have good wash facilities.
● Anyone with a role that involves any of the following has specific guidelines around them; harmful substances, manual handling, noise, pressured equipment, working at height, working in confined spaces and radiation.
● There are full reporting systems in place for any workplace accidents or near misses.
Employers also have strict guidelines on:
- Fire Safety
- Electrical Safety
- Gas Safety
On the flip side, employees also have an obligation to themselves and their peers when it comes to their health and safety at work. Employees have a responsibility to:
- Take reasonable care of their own and others health and safety.
- Not to interfere with or change anything that has been put in place for theirs or anyone elses health and safety and to comply with any guidelines that are in place, including attending relevant training.
- Report any incidents that occur or any concerns in keeping with company procedures.
- Communicate any changes in health in keeping with the company procedures.
Risk assessments are an effective way of making sure that your workers are safe. They look at what could occur and examine it in detail to minimise the risk as much as possible.
Risk assessments deliver this by sticking to five steps:
- ● Identify the hazard
- ● Identify who is at risk and how they might be harmed
- ● Evaluate the risk and look at precautionary measures
- ● Record and put changes in place
- ● Carry out reviews and act accordingly as time goes on.
If I’m concerned?
Employers should ensure that there are adequate whistle blowing and reporting procedures in place and that they are prepared to approach the national governing body, the HSE, should any breaches occur. Employee health and safety should always be paramount. If there are any concerns they should be immediately reported by employees to management or to the HSE by managers.
This is a guest post provided by the team at Northern Insulation, UK based asbestos removal and thermal insulation experts.
We appreciate our authors and readers from the UK and several other countries. This informative article was sent to us by Tudor Davies. Similar safety rules apply in the U.S., under OSHA. pb