Top Five Health and Safety Essentials in the Workplace
Everyone knows about Health and Safety and most people even know what the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is, if only through articles in the press. But not everyone really takes on board how important health and safety issues are and the absolutely catastrophic consequences if the guidelines are ignored. Unfortunately, many people’s perception of H&S is through the injury lawyers’ ads on TV – ‘they gave me the wrong ladder’ or ‘there was a wet patch on the floor’ – without making the obvious connection that if everyone in the workplaces shown had been more aware of the safety of their colleagues, the accident would not have happened in the first place.
1 – Training
In many ways, this category could also be #2-5 as well, because without training, everything else becomes a little redundant. Keeping training up to date and, most importantly, including everyone in the training routine is vital to keep the workplace safe. It is tempting in a tight budgetary situation to think it isn’t important to train someone who only, for example, works at a height once in a blue moon, but of course, it is precisely these people who are a risk to themselves and others, through inexperience. A day’s training can save a life.
2 – Risk Assessments
Everyone groans when risk assessments are mentioned and this is mainly because they are usually done so badly. The HSE recommends that risk assessments are done for every job but some employers take this to extremes and ask for a risk assessment for every action – there are stories (possibly apocryphal) of staff asked to assess how to climb stairs. Risk assessments are covered in all good training programmes – Boss Training puts great emphasis on its importance in every course.
3 – Equipment suitability
‘They gave me the wrong ladder’ is not just an ad man’s imaginative scenario – it happens all the time. Equipment should be suitable for the task and used correctly. Not only that, but it should be scrupulously maintained – an appropriate piece of kit which is falling to bits is worse than the ‘wrong ladder’ any day. Training and risk assessment should make sure that a piece of equipment never lets you down.
4 – Time Management
A rushed job is a dangerous job. All employers have a duty of care to their employees and asking someone to do a job in less time than is strictly possible is asking for trouble. A good risk assessment will include an expected time scale for completion of the task and although naturally some people will be quicker than others, it is fair to take an average as a guide. If any employee feels pressured to work too fast, it is their responsibility to point this out to their manager or team leader.
5 – Training (again!)
And finally, yes, of course training, training and more training! Keeping training up to date is essential, of course, but more important still is to make sure that everyone has the training essential for any job they may be required to do, even if that isn’t often. This will mean that they can be that vital other pair of eyes around the business premises, preventing accidents before they have a chance to happen. We take great pride in offering some of the very best health and safety courses available, including IPAF training and PASMA training courses.