Health and safety is a key concern for businesses, both on a moral and legal basis. Many workplaces are rife with hazards, from the simple trip, slip or fall to industry-specific dangers relating to chemicals and other materials. Managing health and safety risks needs to be a comprehensive endeavour; here are some important ways to approach doing so.
You as a business can institute as many health and safety protocols as you like, but they will not measurably improve your business’ health and safety without adequate training to back them up. Your staff are the lifeblood of your company, and the people most likely to encounter risk as they work.
Ensuring they have access to the right resources, and are all trained to the same standard, can minimise the likelihood of staff injury, or staff-caused workplace incidents. Comprehensive training on proper health and safety procedures should be given to all staff as standard, while department and team leads should receive more direct guidance on handling and reporting risk within their departments.
Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE, is a fundamentally important facet of your business’ health and safety approach. PPE is a wide-ranging field of wearable equipment that ensures worker safety when engaging with workplace hazards. It is also a legal requirement for businesses to provide to employees, in order to promote a safe working environment.
The kind of PPE your business should provide its staff depends on the specifics of our operations. A construction site will encounter less in the way of chemical hazards than a manufacturing plant might, while a power station will offer more electrical hazards than a carpenter’s workshop. Items like safety goggles are crucial for protecting the eyes from flying debris and objects, while gloves can protect the hands from exposure to sharp objects or toxic materials.
Maintenance of machines and equipment forms another pillar-stone of effective risk management in the workplace. In a manufacture setting, automated processes and machinery represent a significant risk to the worker, especially in the event of malfunction.
Hydraulics failure can lead to crush risk, or high-pressure, high-temperature fluid leaks risking burns and other injuries. Electrical failure can lead to shocks, burns and falls, while tool failure on a construction site can present myriad dangers, from metal shards to falling objects.
Keeping a maintenance log for each item of equipment on your business’ premises can help your engineering staff track repairs and servicing, and ensure equipment is examined and repaired before it breaks and risks an employee’s health.
Lastly, the conditions under which your employees work can also have a serious impact on their safety. Employees that have not been able to rest present a risk to themselves and their colleagues, whether through making mistakes or causing an accident through exhaustion. A business is legally required to provide rest breaks to staff carrying out monotonous tasks, beyond the mandated 20-minute break for shifts longer than 6 hours.