Office Health and Safety

Every business within England must ensure the safety and well being of their employees and customers. If any harm is caused to employees or customers, due to poor health and safety (H and S), you could find yourself in big trouble. It is therefore vital that you have procedures in place, to ensure the environment is safe. This is usually completed through risk assessments within the workplace. Employers have a responsibility to abide by the health and safety at work act, which is in place to protect employers, employees and the general public.

One solution for all of your H and S solutions, is to ensure you have a H and S representative within your business. It may be worth going on a health and safety course, or asking one of your employees to go, this way you ensure one of you are qualified, to deal with the H and S within your business. This ensuring everyone who enters your business environment is protected. A positive approach to your health and safety, is to make sure you have set out procedures for everything you do within your business, then monitor these on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Yo can determine who takes control of the H and S within your business, even if you do it yourself. You should analyze who would best suit the job, you might be to busy and therefore require the help of another employee.

You should have procedures in place for every task you carry out. It is essential that you are always monitoring these procedures. If the procedure has changed, you should ensure you alter the procedure. Whenever anything is modified for example, new equipment has been brought into the business, you should carry out a risk assessment, to highlight any health and safety issues. If you need any equipment to help you with the H and S, it can be hired or purchased depending on your budget.

H and S can affect your reputation. Your H and S approach, plays a big role in building up a reputation for your business. Companies providing good health and safety practice, have become very successful from this. Playing a role and putting procedures in place to ensure a safe working environment, show to both customers and employees that you care.

It is important you keep up to date with health and safety equipment, procedures and new regulations that are put into place. Health and safety courses help to highlight the new regulations being brought into place. These courses will identify the effects of these new regulations on the workplace and will highlight the key issues, facing millions of businesses within England.

H and S is there for a reason. Serious injury’s can occur, when health and safety is ignored. Some can also gain problems later on in life due to poor working conditions, such as low lighting levels. Remember a good reputation can be gained from good health and safety, which means an increase in business. It also gives customers and employees a sense of well being, as it shows that you care about the conditions they are susceptible to.

Health and Safety Risk Assessment

The requirement to carry out risk assessments has been a fundamental part of United Kingdom health and safety legislation for a good number of years now, but is the requirement to carry out risk assessments truly embedded in the health and safety culture?

Having carried out numerous health and safety incident investigations I would suggest that there is still some way to go before a risk assessment is regarded as just one of the tools an employee needs to use, in a similar manner to which an electrician may consider a screwdriver one of his tools. The most common denominator between all the major incidents I have investigated involves risk assessment. There was no assessment, it was not suitable or sufficient, it was not available to those doing the work, was not understood by those carrying out the task or it was not followed.

In a world where as people we are continually assessing risk (for example before crossing a road, or driving our cars), why in the field of work, do we so often fail to assess risk? I would suggest that despite the huge amounts of money some companies spend on health and safety training, there are still a number of employees who feel that they need to get the job done, are doing the right thing by getting “stuck in”, in short, helping the company out. But in doing so they expose themselves and others to the risk of injury and their employers to breaches of health and safety regulations and possible enforcement action.

So how do we improve this situation? One option is that managers at all levels are visible, they get onto the shopfloor and talk to employees when they are carrying out their duties. By discussing the tasks employees are undertaking, managers are able to establish how risk assessments are playing a part in how the job is carried out and the control measures that have been adopted. This further allows managers to understand any shortcomings and highlight where improvements can be made.

Training can play a vital part, helping to ensure that all employees are able to, at the least, understand the risk assessments pertaining to the tasks they carry out. Better still, train all employees to be able to carry out risk assessments. Although a management duty, employees are often best placed to carry out assessments and should wherever possible be involved in the process. The real improvements will be made when employees feel empowered to challenge their colleagues, perhaps one of the most straightforward, but most difficult things to do at work.

Continually reinforcing the message that risk assessment is vital to improve health and safety, will in time lead to an employee taking a few minutes to assess the situation before starting a task, as being the norm. This in turn should lead to a reduction in harm, improved health and safety standards and increased profitability.