Latest figures show that 144 workers were killed at work in Britain in 2015/16 and 72,702 other injuries were reported – according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
These statistics are a reminder that when it comes to keeping safe at work there can be no shortcuts.
As an employer, you have a legal duty to protect your staff and as an employee it’s important that you are taking all the steps necessary to protect yourself. So are you doing everything you can to protect your workforce and yourself?
A risk assessment is an absolute must and will help to address things that might cause harm in your workplace and the steps you have taken to manage them. Note whether something could be a high or low risk and ask your employees what they think the hazards could be as they may see something you might have not have considered. Look out for things such as uneven floors, lighting and trailing cables, plus wet, dirty or dusty floors and damaged or obstructive objects. Look back at your accident and ill-health records as these can help identify other less obvious hazards. Think not just about the risks to your staff but also to any members of the public visiting your premises, including older people and disabled people.
Where required, you will need to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) for your staff and check that they are using it. This could include gloves, high-visibility clothing, safety footwear, safety helmets, eye protection and safety harnesses. Supplying your staff with trolleys or equipment fitted with castors can also help to reduce accidents as manoeuvring items can be done with more control and less effort. You can buy a great range of castors online from Tente. Make sure that safety procedures are always followed and put signs up around the workplace reminding people of what they need to do. Ensure all equipment is regularly checked and replaced where necessary.
Working at height
Sometimes working at height can’t be avoided and in that case, again proper equipment must be provided. The HSE advises that as much work as possible must be done from the ground and when working at height to take precautions around fragile surfaces and provide protection from falling objects. Emergency evacuation and rescue procedures should be considered. The HSE also reminds to check ladders are not overloaded and to think about the equipment and materials that workers are carrying before working at height. Don’t over-reach on ladders or stepladders and don’t rest them against weak upper surfaces such as plastic gutters. The full list of dos and don’ts can be found here.
All employees must be given proper instruction and training on how to carry out all parts of their job that could entail risks. They must also be given information about risks in your workplace and how they are protected. Under the Health and Safety Information for Employees Regulations (HSIER) you must display the approved poster in a prominent position in the workplace which outlines British health and safety law, or give all staff the approved leaflet called ‘Health and safety law: What you need to know.’
Keep a record of any accidents and incidents as this will help you put in place measures to help to prevent them happening again. Know that there are certain accidents and injuries at work that must be reported and recorded under RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Disease and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations).