In today’s “health and safety” culture, businesses are expected to accommodate for any potential risks in the workplace, therefore organisations cannot take a backseat in regards to health and safety. A proactive reaction is required! Consequently, as an organisation has a duty of care to their employees and customers it is crucial business owners and managers undertake the required steps to keep their organisation safe. In this article, Legal Expert reveal the five tips to follow in order to keep your organisation and your employees safe!
It is important you do your health and safety research before jumping in head first with strategies aimed to make your workplace safe. Organisations are lawfully required to be compliant with the following policy regulations, The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 and The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999. Therefore, if you read into your legal requirements first you have the background knowledge required to start implementing the correct steps required to become compliant, preventing any time wasted introducing incorrect strategies.
- Know The Potential Hazards
It can be daunting to establish where to begin when you start to look at implementing or refreshing your workplace’s health and safety policies. In order to not be overwhelmed by the process ahead it is best to start with a systematic inspection of your whole organisation where all potential hazards are spotted and noted down. Once you are aware of these you can start completing risk assessments and introducing measures to reduce the dangers or risks in the workplace, ultimately keeping your employees, customers and any stakeholders who may visit your premises safe.
2. Complete Regular Fire Drills
Even though the risk of a fire is unlikely in a workplace, especially in an office environment, as a business you are still required to complete regular fire drills where the evacuation procedure is practiced. A fire alarm will go off and everyone evacuates and meets at the fire assembly point. This ensures everyone knows what to do and what not to do in event of a fire, such as not using a lift in a fire and will become aware which is their quickest route to the fire assembly point. This will also prevent any panic over how to react should an emergency occur. Furthermore, weekly checks of fire alarms will guarantee your fire precautions are up to date and will keep your organisation safe.
3. Provide Adequate Employee Training
In order to have a safe organisation your employees need to know what health and safety practices and procedures they need to follow, therefore you need to invest in providing adequate employee training. Every new employee should receive a thorough induction with health and safety training included, this should include an opportunity to ask any questions they have over procedures. Furthermore, existing employees should not be neglected, you can help ensure health and safety practices are followed and your organisation’s high standards are maintained by providing refresher health and safety training courses. Therefore, having a safe environment at work will require some financial outlay but this is is a cost well spent and is legally required.
4. Assign Health & Safety Responsibility
Assigning health and safety responsibility to a trained individual will ensure someone is consistently monitoring standards in the workplace, such as checking equipment is working effectively, ensuring safety signage is correct and coordinating regular fire drills, to name just a few of their responsibilities. Also, having a select person in charge of health and safety means anyone in the workplace who is uncertain regarding an aspect of safety knows that they can go to this individual for support.
5. Promote A Safety First Culture
To have a safe organisation you need to instill a safety first culture, where your workforce understand the importance of reporting any potential risks and instinctively follow health and safety procedures. Once one employee starts to take a lazy approach and cut corners on health and safety this can have a ripple effect across the organisation which is why it is crucial you embed a safety first culture into your organisation. Open communication is the backbone of a safety first culture, employees must be adequately informed by their employer of the potential risks in the workplace environment and instructed clearly with what measures they should take to keep themselves safe. Moreover, employees must feel comfortable to report any concerns they have regarding safety with their line manager and line managers should act on any safety concerns reported to them.
6. Have An Established Accident Procedure
Of course accidents can happen in your organisation despite what health and safety procedures you have in place – you may be an incredibly safety conscious organisation but this does not eradicate the possibility of a workplace accident. Hence, why you must have an established accident procedure in place, this will guarantee the required action is taken as quickly as possible. If someone is seriously injured the emergency services should be called, additionally for any minor injuries an employee should still receive a medical check to ensure there are no underlying issues or treatment required. Following the accident an accident report should be completed immediately and all evidence collected, as well as witness accounts. If any employee has an injury that stops them from being able to work for a period of time they may be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay and even disability benefits if the injury is long term.
If an employee believes the fault of their workplace injury can be attributed to the organisation they may seek legal advice to begin a accident at work compensation claim. A failure in an employer’s duty of care could include for example, inadequate working conditions, improper safety equipment or insufficient machine maintenance. Employers must remain neutral in this circumstance and may have to provide guidance to the injured worker with regards to employees rights following a work accident.
With the rise in blame culture in the Western world it is important all organisations take their health and safety procedures incredibly seriously, as having a bad reputation can become costly in compensation payouts and negatively impact on your employer branding. The best employees will only want to work for organisations where they know they will be looked after, thus a safe workplace environment will certainly reap the benefits for your organisation!