The Basics of Health and Safety in the Workplace

Health and safety should be of the utmost importance to all employers. They are responsible for making sure that none of their employees are injured whilst on the job. If something were to happen, then they would be the ones held accountable. As such, business owners need to know the basics of health and safety in the workplace. Keep reading to find out what they are.

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Hazards of the Industry

First things first, employers need to know what the risks of their industry are. Every job is unique and so will have different hazards attached. For example, people who work in construction are at a higher risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders, whereas those who work in offices are more likely to suffer from back problems and repetitive strain injury. Therefore, every employer should research the most common injuries associated with their field in work. Using this knowledge, they can then put suitable measures in place to prevent these afflictions.

Conduct a Risk Assessment

After identifying the hazards of their industry, employers will then need to conduct a risk assessment of the workplace. A risk assessment involves identifying every potential hazard within the work environment – ranging from low risk to high risk. For instance, in the office, there is a risk of somebody getting an electric shock from a faulty appliance. Once these dangers have been identified, you should then write down in your risk assessment how these dangers can be prevented or minimalised. Using the example of the faulty appliance again, employers would write in their risk assessment that all electrical equipment should be PAT tested on a regular basis.

Health and Safety Training

Though health and safety training can be laborious, its importance cannot be understated. At the very least, all employers should talk their employees through their workplace’s risk assessment. In high-risk lines of work – like construction or civil engineering – all employees should attend a health and safety awareness course. If the workers know what dangers they need to be mindful of, they are far less likely to injure themselves. Construction workers completing tasks in confined spaces, for instance, wouldn’t know that small electrical sparks can set off explosions if they didn’t have this knowledge prior. After training employees on health and safety, business owners should also put these lessons into practice. This includes doing things like running fire safety drills in addition to beingPAT tested on a regular basis.

Personal Protective Equipment

Finally, personal protective equipment is also crucial to health and safety. PPE helps to massively reduce the likelihood of injury occurring. For example, safety goggles will prevent wood splinters from entering a carpenter’s eye. Employers should always provide their employees with PPE, otherwise they will be penalised for gross negligence. It is never the worker’s responsibility to buy these items for themselves. Even business owners who run an office-based organisation should provide back-supporting chairs to their workers to prevent them from developing spinal injuries.

These are the basics of health and safety in the workplace. When it comes to the wellbeing of employees, business owners should never be complacent.

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