Is your workplace a safe to be? Yes, you may have safety measures installed in your machinery and technology, with the use of safety valves and float switches, and yes, there are probably health and safety policies available to you, but how safe are you? If you are an employer, you have duty of care to protect your workforce, and if you are an employee, you need to take safety measures in your day to day practices when working in your chosen industry. You would think this would be common sense, but a survey carried out in early 2017 by A-SAFE indicated that 58% of workers in a poll of 1000 people, had no idea of some of the basic health and safety rules particular to their industry. It’s little wonder then when you read statistics and discover over 70,000 injuries were reported in the UK over the last year. The numbers are shocking.
So, what can be done about it? Whether you are an employer or an employee, it is necessary to take steps in your workplace to avoid being yet another statistic.
For the employer
There are a number of steps you need to take to ensure there is a good practice of health and safety carried out in your workplace. This includes:
– Following legislation. The Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974 is still the primary piece of legislation covering all aspects of health and safety in the workplace. As the employer, you need to do all that is reasonably practical when providing a duty of care to your employees, as adherence to the legislation will alleviate the risk of blame attributed to you if an accident happens.
– Carrying out risk assessments. Depending on the industry you are involved in, there will be a number of risks that need to be managed. Find out what they are, alert others to them, and put protective measures in place to prevent harm. This should be carried out regularly, especially when new machinery or work practices are put in place.
– Providing training. This doesn’t have to be costly or time-consuming, as there are general health and safety videos available that will outline the basics. However, training also needs to be given when staff are expected to work with new technologies or given a different role in the workplace.
For the employee
As mentioned, don’t rely on the reliability of machinery or the guidance of your employer, as you need to take equal responsibility. This includes:
– Reading through any health and safety policy made available to you. While it may be a chore to sit through the document, knowing the risks prevalent in your workplace will guarantee you a better chance of safety.
– Being careful on the work floor. Many accidents occur due to carelessness and negligence. This includes tomfoolery with mates or with pieces of equipment, being distracted by something or somebody when working, and rushing through a piece of work without due care and diligence. Therefore, be responsible and pay attention to the job at hand, at all times.
– Reporting risks to your employer. If you see something that could be a potential hazard, don’t ignore it, assuming it’s not part of your remit to deal with it. Remove the problem if possible and safe to do so, or report it to your employer before an accident happens.
In the workplace, safety needs to be a priority. Accidents will always happen, no matter how many precautions are put in place. However, they can be vastly reduced if guidelines are followed and procedures are put in place. Otherwise, the cost is huge, not only to business, when profits are down because employees are sick or injured, but to human life as well. Don’t want to be an accident statistic? Be responsible and accountable, for yourself and others in the place where you work.