What is Health and Safety?
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What is Health and Safety?
Health and Safety is a term that generally covers the legal requirements that fall under the Health and Safety at Work Act etc 1974. The term Health and Safety is generally used to describe Occupational Health and Safety, and relates to the prevention of accidents and ill health to employees and those who may be affected by their work.
The standard dictionary definition for Health and Safety is:
‘regulations and procedures intended to prevent accident or injury in workplaces or public environments.’
The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 is a piece of statutory legislation that came into being following the Robens Report*. It is from this piece of legislation that the term came into more popular use. Prior to the Health and Safety at Work Act, which is 40 years old in 2014, occupational safety was covered under the Factories Act 1961 and the Office, Shops and Railways Premises Act 1963. These pieces of legislation have been largely replaced and repealed over time by the HASAW and subsequent legislation.
Employers and employees both have responsibilities under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and other pieces of Health and Safety legislation that that have been made under it.
If you would like further information on Health and Safety and your responsibilities under Health and Safety law, please contact us to discuss with one of our qualified and registered Health and Safety Consultants and we will be happy to help.
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How to manage display screen equipment workspaces
Under the Working Time Regulations, employers have safety obligations to ensure that workers receive the minimum rest breaks they are entitled to when using display screen equipment. In order to manage the safety risks, workers should include assessment of display screen equipment as part of their normal risk assessments.
Once the safety concerns have been spotted, employers must put some steps into place to ensure these risks are minimised. An example of a step you could take is to make sure that employees take regular screen breaks. Alongside this, ensuring all electrical equipment workers use is up to date and that furniture is ergonomically safe is a good way of minimising those health and safety risks.
Are employers obliged to offer prescription safety glasses?
Safety legislation states that employers must account for eye tests and possible prescription glasses payment, but there is no safety law obliging them to pay for prescription safety glasses. Although eye accidents are fairly common injuries within certain premises, safety training and protective equipment like safety goggles are thought to be enough to control issues related to health & safety within the workplace.
Safety policies are required, especially when using dangerous equipment or in certain conditions, depending on the profession and to protect visitor health. As long as steps of risk assessment are in place, prescription safety glasses are not deemed necessary.
How to keep the workplace free of waste
Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, waste is classified as any article that requires to be disposed of or any scrap material or unwanted surplus. Organisations have a duty to ensure their waste is disposed of in a safe way and in a way that follows the law. With Covid-19-related medical treatment becoming one of the most common accident reporting issues, keeping a workplace tidy is key to ensuring employee health and that of unvaccinated guests in particular.
The first way to keep the workplace free of waste is to identify the waste that the organisation produces. Once there is a clear idea of the type and amount of waste produced, it’s time to look at ways to reduce office waste. With sufficient waste reduction measures, waste can be kept to a minimum.
How to manage on-site contractors
The first step is to perform a due diligence check to ensure that the contractors are licensed to carry out the work and that they have the right certificates and occupational health and safety steps in place. Covid vaccination status, temperature checks and a negative Covid-19 test from one of the Covid-19 test kits may also be a good idea.
Secondly, their safe work procedures must be reviewed to ensure a risk assessment has been carried out in case of an accident report. Proof of vaccination and Covid-19 testing is something worth considering to consider safe working for everyone concerned, too. Workers must know where fire extinguishers are located and which type of extinguisher to use in the case of a fire: dry powder extinguishers, water extinguishers, chemical extinguishers and carbon dioxide extinguishers.
The workers must be monitored to ensure they’re carrying out their work safely.
What are the procedures for reporting an accident?
There are specific procedures for reporting an accident and certain elements that must be included within an accident book to ensure all accident records are correct. The affected person’s key information, job title, details of the accident and corrective actions must all be noted, as well as any medical treatment given.
Once the accident has been reported, investigate the cause of the accident and collect any eyewitness accounts so your risk assessment can be updated if necessary.