Health and Safety, more commonly known as health and occupational safety, is an interdisciplinary field dealing with the health and welfare of individuals in the workplace. In this article we will look at what this subject actually means and whether you need it in your workplace.
Health and Safety is one of the most important things to consider when you are thinking about developing a workplace safety program. Whether it is your own company’s health and safety policy or a national standard which is designed by an independent organisation, this subject is essential and you need to get it right.
Health and Safety are not just about workplace safety; it covers every aspect of working life. You need to ensure that you have a health and safety policy in place for your staff and for your clients or customers. You need to ensure that everyone at all times is properly protected by ensuring that all of your employees wear a uniform which is approved by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and that all your staff and workers are familiar with the rules and regulations on the use of safety equipment.
Health and Security include a wide variety of areas such as personal protection, general health and safety issues, health hazards and pollution, safety regulations, emergency procedures and information, fire safety etc. All of these issues need to be dealt with effectively. These are all interrelated and it is very important for all organisations to have a uniform set of policies and procedures which they can refer to when required.
If you are looking to improve your Health and Safety policy then you should look to make sure that your organisation is compliant and follows the recommended national standards. You should also ensure that your health and security officers carry out regular refresher courses, especially after you have taken in the new laws and new regulations.
As well as being relevant to your business, you will need to consider this for the general public, who may visit your workplace at some point of time. It is vitally important that they feel safe and that their safety is of the utmost importance. You should also ensure that your employees are able to identify themselves and give them proper identification, as well as having access control to emergency exits, locked gates and other key points.
Health and Security need to be considered from all aspects of your organisation and not just in your own workplace. You should ensure that there are regular inspections of the site and if you want to maintain compliance with legislation and the HSE Code of Practice, and the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1996.
Your Health and Safety policy will also need to take into consideration any safety equipment that is provided for your employees. For example, you need to consider the installation of appropriate personal protective equipment for your employees, your staff should have at least a high level of protection against falls, burns, impact injuries, slips and falls and other forms of accidents.
You also need to consider your staff training as this will help to improve their awareness of health and safety issues, and how to avoid potential hazards. You may want to provide a written and oral health and safety plan which should include the following:
Health and Security are a vast area of expertise, and it is important that you understand and apply the laws and regulations on the health and safety of your staff. It is also very important that you consider the general public as you work in a public place. The public will visit your premises, so you need to ensure that the area where they will visit or work is safe and secure.
It is important that you take action immediately if you believe that your staff are not using the correct safety equipment and/structure. For example if you suspect that your employees or your own employees are using dangerous tools/equipment, or if they are not using safety equipment that could potentially injure them, or you have a situation whereby your employees are using unsuitable work practices such as working without the appropriate gloves, eye protection and footwear then it is important that you take action immediately.
The Health and Security Act state that it is an offence to fail to ensure that your premises have appropriate safety measures in place for the safety of your staff. Failure to do this is an offence and can result in imprisonment and hefty fines. So always remember, if your staff are injured or killed due to an unsafe environment you are liable for all legal costs, lost wages, compensation and medical fees.