Health and Safety compliance in the workplace has never been more important and with a growing need for businesses to comply with the latest legislation, more organisations than ever are requiring our services.
Every year the latest accident statistics are released by the Health & Safety Executive, and these are then used to establish and identify which industries are performing less satisfactorily than others.
As a result, each year new legislations also come into force that businesses are expected to adapt and adhere to. This creates more of a burden on business who must then somehow find the internal resources needed to navigate, research and manage the necessary changes.
At JR Consultants, our experts are on hand to provide professional, reliable and affordable health and safety consultancy services, delivering a simple and effective path to compliance for your business.
About Health and Safety at Work
Thorough processes for health and safety at work are not only good practice, it is something companies are required to do by law. There are specific laws and acts covering all industries – and to understand what is required of your business, you need to find the standards and laws that are relevant to your industry.
What Are the Legal Requirements for Health and Safety?
Regardless of industry, all businesses should be aware of the ‘Health and Safety at Work Act’ of 1974. This covers all businesses and outlines legal requirements for all companies.
The Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) is also often referred to as:
- HSW Act
These regulations impose basic legal duties upon employers to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their employees as far as is reasonably practicable, and this information is documented in the form of policies which are then reviewed regularly when necessary.
The act details things such as the appointment of a health and safety officer, their role and responsibilities, management obligations, employees training, protocols, systems, procedures and the identification and reporting of possible health and safety risks.
Your Obligation as a Business
The standards laid down by the HSE are not amendable. They represent a set of legal responsibilities that are designed to protect you as an employer, the people that work for you and anyone else that may visit your premises – for example: suppliers, external contractors and the general public. Listed below are just a few of the obligations you will need to be able to fulfil:
- Developing a H&S Policy
- Providing suitable first aid facilities
- Creating emergency plans
- Providing your employees with the right equipment, materials and training to protect them at work
- Ensuring potentially hazardous materials are stored out of harm’s way
These will all need to be covered by internal health and safety documentation and risk assessments which play a critical role in the identification and prevention of potential hazards, accidents or issues.
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Health & Safety Risk Assessment
The Health and Safety Executive recommends five steps to successful risk assessment.
By completing these five steps, organisations can help to ensure that their business and employees are sufficiently protected. The HSE defines clear stages for the successful implementation of a Risk Assessment strategy, which are as follows:
- Identifying Potential Hazards
The first step in a risk assessment is to identify any hazards in the workplace. It is easy to overlook certain small hazards when they are visible every day which is why having a clear checklist can really make a difference and avoid complacency.
A few tips to use during a risk assessment that can help to identify problems are:
- Walk around the workplace whilst carefully taking note of anything that looks out of place or could pose a danger.
- Ask members of staff if they have noticed any hazards in their daily work areas.
- Check the instructions for any equipment or chemicals that are in the workplace, as they will state any potential hazards.
- Review the sick and accident records to see which departments are most affected.
- Consider long term risks within the business.
- Determine Who Might Be at Risk
For every hazard that you uncover, you will need to identify who is most likely to be at risk. By doing this, organisations can figure out the best way to manage the risk and therefore inform and train the relevant people and manage and implement any necessary changes. Be sure to list the particular groups of people, and the risks that apply to them.
- Decide on Precautions
Once you have identified the potential risks, you must then decide how you are going to manage them. The best way to do this is compare what you are already doing with good practice standards which can be found on the HSE website.
This will allow you to ascertain any gaps or shortfalls in current safety procedures and make effective and informed decisions on what to do going forward.
- Record your Findings and Implement Them
When you have decided on the precautions to take, you will need to thoroughly document them. Once this is done you must then implement all of them systematically in order to increase the safety of your workplace.
- Review and Update
A key part of risk assessments is the fact that they are re-evaluated regularly. You should periodically review your health and safety assessment and update it where necessary in order to continue to meet the latest health and safety regulations and keep your employees safe.
Keep Things Simple
The HSE emphasises in its online documentation that risk assessments need to be kept simple. Their view is that you already know your business better than anyone else – which means you should find it relatively easy to put in place control measures that will protect your employees.
The Need for Health and Safety
Health and Safety management is required by UK law and every business, no matter how small, needs to meet the required health and safety standards. To stay on top of these standards in the long term, businesses should implement formal management processes that ensures they stay up to date and compliant.
Is Health and Safety Management Necessary?
It is extremely easy for individuals and organisations to dismiss the potential risks to their employees believing that the odds are slim, accidents never happen or simply that what they have in place is enough. The shocking reality is that across all types of industries, thousands of workers suffer minor to serious injuries every single day in the UK.
Some of the latest health and safety statistics have shown that in the UK there is;
- Over 6,000 people are injured at work each day
- On average at least one person is killed or dies each day as a result of a workplace injury or illness.
- Every year hundreds of thousands of people take time off work because of a work-related injury or ailment.
- Around 30 million workdays a year are lost as a result of something which can easily be managed.
The Importance of Performance
Your HSE policy will force you to look at your business’s performance from three key vantage points:
- Its people
- Its systems
- Its procedures
This will help you achieve important objectives by pinpointing the root cause of underperformance and easily identifying any changes that need to be made in order to retain compliance. This in turn provides
a safer environment for your workers and a more efficient operation that will save your company money and reduce the risk of legal liability.
What Can Happen to Businesses Who Don’t Properly Manage Health and Safety?
For organisations who try to cut corners, do the bare minimum or decide that health and safety is not a priority, they may soon find themselves facing a number of serious problems, not only running the risk of legal action from employees, but also prosecution from the state as well.
If an employee is injured whilst working as a result of poor health and safety, the organisation is liable which often means having to pay compensation to the employee. If they have not taken out the necessary insurance for this then they can be left with heavy financial costs, not to mention the damage to their reputation that will follow.
Inspectors check health and safety regulations on a sporadic basis, so organisations are not always notified in advance or given forewarning. If an inspector visits a company and identifies any shortfalls you will have to pay for the time it takes for the inspector to identify the breach and help put things right. This includes investigating and taking enforcement action and is called fee for intervention. You could also be given a prohibition notice. This notice will stop any work that the inspector deems unsafe and the work remains under this notice until the company can prove that they have taken the necessary steps to rectify the issues. If this is not done, then the result can be prosecution.
Implementing a good management plan for health and safety is an investment of time and resources, but it is not especially difficult, and it will probably prevent a lot of avoidable hassle in the long run.
Health and Safety Consultancy Services
The regulations governing Health and Safety at work can be a minefield to those who are not adept at dealing with them on a daily basis.
At JR Consultants, we help businesses to conform to all relevant legislation, working across various sectors and industries that include;
- Building and construction
- Factories and workshops
- Office and corporate
- Facilities management
Your Health and Safety Advisor
JR Consultants can help you to navigate the detailed, time consuming and critical world of health and safety, working alongside you to help with everything from the design, documentation and completion of risk assessments to the advisement and implementation of sensible control measures where necessary.
Our Consultants ensure that your business meets the requirements of all relevant legislation, and should we find any areas of deficiency, we will advise on these as needed. We will produce a Health & Safety policy as required by the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 for you which covers all the necessary areas, depending on your industry and business practices.
We also provide an ongoing external consultant service, advising you on any new and upcoming legislation, ensuring that you review and incorporate any additional requirements into your risk assessments and Health & Safety policy.
For more information on our Health and Safety services, please contact us today.
Health and Safety Consultants UK
For more information about our Health and Safety services, please contact us today.
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