Health and Safety – mastering the basics
Protecting your employees in the workplace doesn’t have to be difficult so long as you follow a few basic principles. When starting out, there are four steps to building your first health and safety policy – completing each one will help raise standards across your business, keeping your workers safe, and helping you avoid prosecution.
1. Understand the basic legal requirements
Every workplace activity is regulated by the Health and Safety Act (1974) which lays out your duties as an employer. This is a heavyweight piece of legislation that has become the template for workplace laws across the world – including those handed down from the EU Commission.
Fortunately, the law is based on common sense, and most of your duties are distilled into a single phrase; “to ensure so far as is reasonably practicable the health, safety and welfare at work of all their employees.”
Which means that you have to identify risks to workers and the general public, and take reasonable steps to minimise them.
2. Get professional advice
Your familiarity with the people, equipment and environment within your organisation helps to keeps operations running smoothly. But it also means that you are often too ‘close’ to potential problems to be able to recognise their seriousness – if at all.
Partnering with a health and safety expert like Veritas Consulting will help to ensure that none of these blindspots is missed. More importantly, you will benefit from industry best practice guidance to help you minimise risks and fulfil your duties of protection.
An expert consultancy will also be able to help you draw up a series of risk assessments that outline potential dangers and how they are to be mitigated.
3. Educate your employees
Effective risk assessments and personal protective equipment (PPE) will help you fulfil the majority of your duties as an employer. However your workers will also need to know how to carry out their duties safely.
This means training them to use tools and equipment safely, reducing the risk of immediate injury, or developing long term conditions like silicosis or vibration white finger for instance. A well-educated workforce is far safer, and the accompanying reduction in injuries will help to keep productivity levels elevated.
4. Review your provisions
Situations change constantly as your projects evolve – and your risk assessments will need to revisited regularly to ensure they continue to provide the protections your employees need.
It doesn’t actually matter who carries out these reviews – you, your employees, or your consultant – just that they have a good understanding of health and safety provisions in your workplace. And that these reviews are conducted as often as necessary.
Call us for advice
As you can see, setting up health and safety provisions can be set up relatively easily. But because this is a legal matter, you should seek advice at the earliest opportunity if you have any doubts at all.
The Veritas Consulting team is always on hand to help – just drop us a line.