Health & Safety can be a complex, yet extremely important issue to get your head around. But with the cost to UK businesses of injury and ill health caused by workplace incidents a staggering £14.3 billion per year, it’s a matter that can’t be ignored. So instead of saying “we’ll take a look at that tomorrow” for the rest of the year, let’s break it down with a few simple New Year’s resolutions that might help clarify some of the key issues you need to address.
You don’t need to start your health & safety management program from scratch, but take a fresh look at the overall picture of H&S in your workplace. How many accidents or cases of illness were there last year? Is this more or less than the previous years? Do your line managers take the issue of H&S seriously? Are your staff aware of both your and their obligations? Gathering some basic information will help you assess how effective your current program is and what steps you need to take to improve it.
Contrary to what many people think, risk assessments are not required for every single activity that takes place during the course of day to day activities. But it is important to review what you are doing on an ongoing basis, particularly if the nature of your operations has evolved. Review your risk assessments and ask if there have been any significant changes in activities, are there areas that need improvement or have any accidents or near misses brought to light any weaknesses?
A written health and safety policy is only required if you have five or more employees. It is a way of communicating both your commitment to health & safety and legal obligations to your staff and should clearly define who is responsible, what is required and how health & safety is managed within the business. But when was the last time you read your H&S policy? It might be time to take a look at it and make sure it’s a) still applicable to your business; and b) reflects any changes in your operations, work premises or workforce.
Each year, employers have to deal with a number of new pieces of legislation and changes to existing legislation. The HSE provides advance notice of all the upcoming amendments which need to be adopted by businesses and, over time, incorporated into your Health & Safety policy. Although it can be a little daunting to face a long list of often confusing legal jargon, there is no excuse for not keeping abreast of new developments. However, a specialist health & safety consultant can take the burden away from you and ensure that any relevant legislation changes are incorporated into your health & safety management.
One of the easiest ways to help avoid workplace accidents is by providing training that is relevant for the activities being undertaken – it will also ensure you are fulfilling your legal obligation to protect your staff from harm. Review your training records to date (and update them if you’ve let the admin lapse a little) and identify who requires specialist training to undertake their role safely and who could do with a refresher training course. Examples include: working at heights, manual handling, fire warden, asbestos awareness and first aid. A simple Health & Safety Basic Awareness course can benefit all level of employees. All our training courses are tailored to your individual needs and can be carried out at your own premises, or at our offices in Colchester.
Getting your employees to buy into your health & safety brand will help them take the issue more seriously and make them think more carefully about their day to day workplace activities. Make sure that health & safety forms part of the induction process and keep existing employees updated with any changes and improvements you make to your businesses’ overall health & safety. Knowing that their safety and wellbeing is at the forefront of your mind makes for a happy and reassured workforce.
Of course, it’s not always that easy to uphold all your New Year’s resolutions, but this list forms a solid grounding for managing your health & safety throughout the coming year. Park City are specialists in Health & Safety Management, Monitoring and Training and can help draw up and execute an action plan that will help you stick to your resolutions. Contact us today to find out more and to book a free consultation.