Workplace Health and Safety

Posted by admin on September 5, 2013 at 8:50 am. Filed under: Medical Emergency

When it comes to Workplace Health and Safety regulations, it can often feel like there are many difficult challenges to overcome. However, one of the most important ways of meeting the current official standards is surprisingly easy to achieve. The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981 applies to every type of workplace, including the self-employed and small businesses with fewer than five employees. Its guidelines state that all first aid kits should meet BS 8599-1 standards. Fortunately, rather than having to pore through the official BS 8599-1 legislation, you can simply buy first aid equipment which is already designed to meet the required standards.

Whilst you will be able to find first aid posters in almost every workplace, you may not find so many actual employees if one MP gets her way! The UK has experienced a number of heat waves over the past few weeks and temperatures have regularly reached 30°C plus. However, MP Linda Riordan has tabled a motion in the House of Commons saying that employees should be sent home if the temperature reaches more than 30°C.

As things stand, Workplace Regulations have minimum temperature standards for those who do jobs which involve severe physical effort. There is no maximum temperature limit though, which has led to the Halifax MP requiring a debate about the clarification of the law. Ms Riordan believes that ministers should “resolve uncertainty for employers about their duty to combat excessive heat in the workplace by introducing a maximum working workplace temperature of 30°C (86°F) and of 27°C (81°F) for those doing strenuous work”.

Ms Riordan also added that overheated factories and offices can cause “discomfort, stress, irritability and headaches …extra strain on the heart and lungs, dizziness and fainting and heat cramps due to loss of water and salt”, and the resulting reduction in alertness and attention spans can contribute to workplace accidents and fatalities, said Ms Riordan. The early day motion has attracted 17 signatures from fellow MPs so far.

It is unlikely that such a scenario will ever be allowed to happen, but there are ways in which workplaces can help improve the happiness and productivity levels of their workforce when operating in sweltering conditions. It is essential to stay well hydrated in hot weather, so employers should make sure that their staff has plenty of opportunities to consume hot drinks or water. Common sense is a big help. If the office is really hot, keep the windows open or use a fan if there aren’t any air conditioning facilities.

Be ready with first aid supplies if somebody does succumb to the heat. Every workplace should have a trained first aider who will be able to respond appropriately if a person falls ill. Most people are able to muddle along and complain about the weather without any problems. However, it is always reassuring for employees to know that they will be looked after properly if things go wrong. Ensuring that you have the correct medical supplies on base makes perfect sense.


Health and Safety in the Workplace – the Basics

Posted by admin on August 20, 2013 at 10:03 am. Filed under: Medical Emergency

In any kind of working environment there’s one thing that needs to be at the top of the agenda – health and safety. It isn’t just a moral choice but a legal one, and as you’re essentially responsible for the health of everyone in your workplace it’s important you understand the basics so you’re staying within the law at all times. Here’s a basic overview to help ensure full compliance.

The law

According to the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, an employer is required to protect the health and safety of employees as far as is reasonably practicable. Various policies and measures can be implemented to reduce risk as much as possible, and it’s only by enforcing these policies that you can prove compliance and avoid claims of negligence should the worst happen.

Meeting your responsibilities

There are several things you can do to meet your responsibilities, but the most vital will be conducting regular risk assessments. In a nutshell, these assessments allow you to identify and analyse the potential risks of a workplace, recognise the individuals most at risk and implement appropriate safety measures accordingly, and if you’ve got five or more employees you’ll need to record the results to prove compliance.

You’ll need to use the findings of a risk assessment to devise a health and safety policy to suit. This might include the need for specific training, the appointment of a competent person (or persons) who can help implement procedures, the setting up of emergency protocols or simply the requirement for a first aid kit, and in many cases it’s down to the employer’s discretion to decide how to appropriately manage risk. But, the specifics of any health and safety policy and the responsibilities of an employer will depend on the individual workplace and the industry in which they operate, with the construction sector (for example) having much more complex requirements than an office for the simple reason that it’s a high-risk environment.

But, despite industry variations and employer discretion, they still need to abide by relevant Approved Codes of Practice. They’ll often have other pieces of legislation that need to be complied with too, such as Manual Handling Regulations or Display Screen Equipment Regulations, a lot of which will state what needs to be achieved rather than how to do it. Again, it’s often down to the employer to decide how they can meet their responsibilities, and that’s why it’s important to become fully conversant in the specifics of your industry so you can avoid risk and stay compliant.

Get the equipment you need

No matter what industry you operate in, chances are the risk assessment will identify the need for training as well as specific types of equipment, with basic first aid kits needing to be a core part of any workplace. Employees will need to undergo suitable health and safety training whilst competent personnel might need more in-depth first aid equipment training, and there might be a requirement for more comprehensive medical supplies depending on your industry. Here at Bound Tree Medical we’ll be able to provide all the equipment you could need, so make sure to identify the risks of your workplace and get in touch to see how we could help minimise them.


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