Your Health & Safety Starts Here

Getting hurt at work or becoming ill through work is not a pleasant subject to think about. The reality is that over 200 people a year lose their lives at work in Britain. In addition, around 150 000 nonfatal injuries are reported each year, and an estimated 2 million suffer from ill health caused or made worse by work.

The mistake is to believe that these things happen in highly unusul or exceptional circumstances that never occur in your workplace. This is not the case. Some basic thinking and acting beforehand could usually have prevented these things from happening.

Implementing health and safety measures doesn’t have to be expensive, time consuming or complicated. In fact, safer and more efficient working practices can often save money but, more importantly, they can help to save lives.

Ten Questions And Answers For Everyone

What is health and safety all about? Preventing people from being harmed by work or becoming ill by taking the right precautions and providing a satisfactory working environment.

Why are there health and safety laws? Because health and safety at work is so important, there are rules which require all of us not to put ourselves or others in danger. The law is also there to protect the public from workplace dangers.

Do health and safety laws apply to me? Yes. To all businesses, however small; also to the selfemployed and to employees.

Who enforces health and safety law? Health and Safety Executive Inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) or your local authority. For example:HSE at factories, farms and building sites; local authorities in offices, shops, hotels and catering, and leisure activities.

What do inspectors actually do? They visit workplaces to check that people are sticking to the rules. They investigate some accidents and complaints but mainly they help you to understand what you need to do. They enforce only when something is seriously wrong.

Do I need to register my business? It’s likely you will if you employ anyone contact Infoline.

Do I need to have employers’ liability compulsory insurance? It’s the law if you employ anyone and you should display the certificate.

Do I need to display any posters? Yes, the health and safety law poster (ISBN 978 0 7176 2493 5) if you employ anyone.

Do I have to report injuries at work? Yes, and other incidents.

Managing Health And Safety

Have you got health and safety under control? Managing health and safety is little different from managing any other aspect of your business. You need to do a risk assessment to find out about the risks in your workplace, put sensible measures in place to control them, and make sure they stay controlled. A risk assessment is nothing more than a careful examination of what, in your work, could cause harm to people. Risk assessment should be a practical exercise, aimed at getting the right controls in place – keep it simple and put the results into practice. Your health and safety policy clearly sets out how you manage health and safety in your workplace by defining who does what; and when and how they do it.
  • Did you know all employers and selfemployed people have to assess risks at work?
  • Did you know employers with five or more employees should have a written health and safety policy?
  • Did you know employers with five or more employees have to record the significant findings of their risk assessment?
  • Did you know employers have a duty to involve their employees or their employees’ safety representatives on health and safety matters?
  • Did you know employers have to provide free health and safety training or protective equipment for employees where it is needed?
What law applies?
  • Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (risk assessment)
  • Health and Safety (Consultation with Employees) Regulations 1996
  • Safety Representatives and Safety Committees Regulations 1977

Slips, trips and falls

What are the chances of slipping or tripping at work? The most common cause of injuries at work is the slip or trip. Resulting falls can be serious. They happen in all kinds of businesses, but sectors such as food and catering report higher than average numbers. It’s a particularly important subject if members of the public use your premises. The estimated cost to employers of all these injuries is over £500 million a year, and insurance only covers a small part of this. Effective solutions are often simple, cheap and lead to other benefits.

  • Do you have floors which are, or can become, slippery, eg when wet?
  • Does spillage or contamination occur and is it dealt with quickly?
  • Do people use unlit areas such as paths or yards in the dark?
  • Might temporary work such as maintenance or alterations take place? It could introduce slipping and tripping hazards such as trailing cables.
  • Do you use floor cleaning materials anywhere? Are the right methods and materials being used?

What law applies?Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992.


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