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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