Safety and health at work

Why is it essential?

More than two hundred people are killed at the workplace every year while several hundred thousand other people suffer severe injury. Approximately 23.4 million trading days were lost in 2009/10 because of work-related sickness. The largest reason for fatalities are falls from height and being hit by motor vehicles in the workplace. Meanwhile slips and trips are a usual cause of injury.

Handling health and safety properly

Businesses must be prepared to manage safety and health and in doing so they need to be fully concious of the potential risks which are evident in the workplace, be capable to handle those risks and make certain that the risks stay manageable.

It would be unreasonable to expect a company to eliminate all risks, it cannot be done, although what it can achieve is at first detect the risks and then control them adequately. It does this through risk assessment which every business have to undertake.

In assessing the risks a business needs to look at each and every individual situation and analyse how severe the harm could possibly be, who might be hurt and how likely that is. The risks can be anything with the potential to cause harm. In considering the risk, it’s not solely the workers who have to be in mind; casual workers, part-time staff and trainees all need to be borne in mind.

The law

It’s law that companies with five or more staff have to make a record of their risk assessment which includes the primary risks recognized, who is most at risk and what more must be done and why. Although this is a legal requirement, businesses do need a practical understanding of the primary risks inherent in their work.

Within the legislation that businesses must abide by is the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 which says that companies need to ensure the health and safety of others and applies to all work actions and areas. The act states the duties the employer needs to fulfill in relation to health and safety, but also those duties which are held by staff members, contractors and people in general.

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 also applies to each and every workplace and stresses that all of the dangers have to be evaluated and modifications made if need be. It also states that steps should be taken to improve safety processes at all opportunities and that teaching must be given in such a manner as to lower the risks of dangerous scenarios happening.

Furthermore, all companies must follow the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR) with the company required to report any work-related incidents, illnesses and near-miss incidents, while the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 which place a obligation on companies to make sure that the work environment is safe and suitable for the duties that are completed there.

Additionally it is necessary for companies to show a poster giving simple health and safety information which also lets other individuals, often visitors to the premises, know who the individual accountable for health and safety is. Usually the larger the organization the more information and guidance it will need with health and safety.

Additional action to be taken

Along with all of the action to be taken, such as risk assessments, conforming to the appropriate acts and regulations, the higher quality businesses will even discuss safety issues with their workers, permitting them to raise any issues or worry. By taking a more inclusive approach to the entire issue of health and safety, companies can help make sure that staff take the matter seriously and that risks and accident at work claims are reduced as a result.