Health and safety – some basic considerations.
Health and safety is very important in the workplace whether in an industry with high risk processes or a small administrative office – it affects everyone. Businesses and their managers need to be aware of the sometimes complex laws and regulations relating to health and safety and employees need to be sure that their work environment is as safe as it can be.
Here are a few basic points to consider:-
What is the best way for a business to get started with health and safety – both in terms of understanding and taking action?
Engage a specialist who can understand the requirements of the risk assessment process, the health and safety legislation relative to the business and product or service concerned and who has an understanding of the requirements of standards associated with health & safety management systems such as OHSAS 18001. This person can then conduct the risk assessments that are necessary for the business and from this process, implement the controls and training that are appropriate for the business to meet such legislative requirements.
What are the most important things a business owner or manager needs to know about health and safety?
- Statutory requirements and other regulations applicable to the business and its processes
- Extent of risk inherent within the business, its processes and staff relative to the statutory requirements
- Understanding what controls are needed by the business to mitigate risks in terms of training, supervision and instructions to all employees
- External resources that are available to help the business achieve its health & safety objectives
- An understanding by the business of the penalties and implications of failure to realise health & safety objectives and responsibilities
What resources are available to businesses looking to identify and explore official guidance on health and safety?
- The Health & Safety Executive
- The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health
- Accredited Certification Bodies of Health & Safety Management Systems
Why is health and safety important for businesses?
- Maintaining health and welfare of employees
- Safeguarding business owners from personal legal action
- Safeguarding the business from penalties/fines/closure
- Maintaining maximum productivity by virtue of minimising production down-time
- Reducing Insurance premiums
What are the potential consequences of not following guidance and procedures?
- Personal legal action against business owners with fines or even jail
- Tragic loss of personnel and its onward effects on their families
- Loss of Business and/or reputation
- Business closure
What kinds of businesses or particular industries should pay the most consideration to health and safety?
It is applicable to all business, but those with high risk or complex products or processes are most vulnerableHealth & Safety