Workplace Health & Safety is the most important area of any business. Keeping people safe at work is paramount. But we appreciate it can be a tough area to tackle, which is why we’ve created this workplace Health & Safety guide so you can take the necessary steps to keep your employees safe and healthy at work.
Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
What is the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974? It is a key piece of legislation that requires employers to carry out a set of duties relating to Health & Safety at Work. It states that they have a duty to ‘ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees’.
The Health and Safety at Work Act covers all of the general duties required of an employer to their employees and any other people on the premises. It’s a framework for managing workplace Health & Safety that ensures necessary training is given to employees, there are adequate provisions for staff, and they have a safe working environment.
How to comply with the Act
To remain compliant with the Health & Safety at Work Act (HASAWA), it’s important to conduct a Health & Safety Risk Assessment. These help to reduce accidents at work by highlighting safety hazards so you can take action.
Hazards in the workplace
During 2021/22, 36.8 million working days were lost due to work-related illness and workplace injury according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). A loss of working days can hinder a business' effiency significantly, which is why it’s important to tackle these hazards.
Hazards occur in every workplace, and they can appear in many forms. Here are some of the most common hazards in the workplace.
- Ergonomic injuries - musculoskeletal disorders, e.g. repetitive strain injuries
- Stress, depression and anxiety
- Slips, trips and falls
- Poor mental wellbeing
- Eye strain
- Fire safety
Regularly conducting risk assessments helps you spot and reduce Health & Safety hazards. It's also important to conduct Health & Safety training at least once a year.
Consequences of poor Health & Safety in the workplace
Having a relaxed approach to Health & Safety can cause all types of issues with your businesses workplace culture. As well as the impact on the safety of your employees, your reputation could take a big hit.
You are ultimately responsible for Health & Safety at work, and your attitude towards it could also influence the importance your staff place on Health & Safety.
Here are some examples of what poor Health & Safety can mean in your workplace:
- Higher risk of injuries
- Legal repercussions (with financial penalties and prosecutions possible)
- Damaged reputation
Why is Health & Safety training important?
There’s more than just one answer to the question ‘why is Health & Safety training important?’. It provides so many benefits to your business and ensures managers are sufficiently educated and confident to take charge of Health & Safety for their staff. Furthermore employees understand how they can contribute to reducing risks at work and take responsibility to contributing to a safer working environment for all.
The importance of Health & Safety training is immense; here’s why:
- Helps managers/leaders to manage Health & Safety efficiently
- Prioritises workplace safety
- Improves client and customer relations
- Positively impacts employees’ attitude to Health & Safety
Choosing your competent Health & Safety person
We understand that choosing a competent person for Health & Safety can be tricky. To grasp the qualities that your responsible person needs, let’s take a look at what the HSE says. They place importance on “someone who has sufficient training and experience or knowledge”, which can come in many forms. Take a look at our top tips for choosing your competent Health & Safety person:
- Have they had sufficient training?
- Are they an IOSH member?
- Would they complete further training?
- Have they fulfilled a similar role before?
- Have they previously created risk assessments, implemented and monitored safe work procedures, or conducted accident reports?
- Are they proactive?
- Can they think about scenarios from multiple perspectives?
- Are they confident in communicating with everyone within your business?
When choosing your competent Health & Safety person, perhaps use the above tips to make a judgement on who you think would be best fit for the role!
Health & Safety myths
Let’s bust some myths! We’ve heard some bizarre Health & Safety myths over the years and we thought we’d share them with you.
Pin the tail on the donkey is a Health & Safety risk
Despite what people think, this is incorrect. In fact, the HSE said “Not trusting children with drawing pins seems a little overprotective to us”. So there’s no need to stop the fun, carry on playing!
Candy floss on a stick is banned in case people trip and impale themselves
This is another no! The HSE says, “there are no Health & Safety laws banning candyfloss on a stick”. This myth came about after people noticed that more and more candy floss was now being sold in bags or tubs, but this could be due to it being easier to mass produce and store; it certainly isn’t because of a Health & Safety risk.
Clip-on ties are replacing standard ties in schools so students aren’t choked
You can see why people might think this, but again this is false.
The HSE says, “Simple precautions such as removing the tie during laboratory work or around machinery make sense. But if the concern is really about children fighting, while clip-on ties may help, the real issue is discipline”.
For that reason, the HSE has not banned traditional school ties.
Health & Safety Training with iHasco
Hopefully this workplace Health & Safety guide has given you some tips to take back. Do you have some questions on Health & Safety? Maybe our free FAQ & resources section on our website could help. There are plenty of supporting documents and videos that could be useful, as well as our most common FAQs.
Our Health & Safety Training courses cover everything you and your employees need to know about Health & Safety. All of our courses are CPD Accredited, with many approved from the likes of IOSH, IIRSM, and RoSPA.
You can claim a free, no-obligation trial for any of our e-learning courses today! Alternatively, you can request a bespoke quote and a member of our team will be in touch to discuss your training requirements