An Expanding Business Needs Health and Safety Reviews and Updates
It is already well-known that a business needs to safeguard the health and safety of their employees by providing health and safety training and performing such tasks as risk assessments. Safety training will increase the knowledge of workers with regards to their awareness of risks and dangers which may adversely impact their well-being, and can reduce the likelihood of them bringing about a situation or initiating a sequence of events which causes an incident such as a fire or explosion.
A failure to provide training in health and safety matters, or to conduct reviews and risk assessments of the current state of the business, will leave it vulnerable to a situation which results in injury, ill-health or death to one or more persons which could have been avoided. Even if nobody were to die or even be adversely affected in any way, the incident could still cause harm to the environment in the form of pollutants and destruction of habitat for creatures living nearby. It may also be the precursor to a much larger incident which would in fact have a significant impact upon all forms of life that happened to be in the vicinity at the time.
Many Risk Assessments Only Look at the Current Hazards and Dangers
One of the drawbacks to many risk assessments and safety reviews is that, even if they are conducted on a regular basis, they will usually still only focus upon the current risks and hazards that have the possibility to impact health, safety and wellbeing. Although the pace will vary amongst different organisations and industries, a workplace is a changing environment where different processes, materials and numbers of people are just some of the factors which are frequently changing as the company alters output, adjusts to changing market conditions etc.
Many businesses may only perform a risk assessment at certain times such as once a year for example, no matter what major changes and alterations have taken place throughout the year. This is a mistake as significant changes can create and bring about new risks which were not otherwise an issue beforehand.
Expanding Businesses Need Frequent Risk Assessments
One particular occurrence and a prime case in point is an expanding businesses which makes substantial modifications and adjustments to the working environment throughout the year, but does not perform additional risk assessments that incorporate the additional dangers or potential situations which are brought about as a result of these changes. Just some of the innumerable risks and issues to take into consideration include:
- A large increase in employee numbers may mean existing emergency assembly areas are too small to accommodate this larger body of people. Some workers may therefore have to assemble too close to the building, putting them in danger should a fire or explosion take place and they are not at a safe distance.
- Training budgets will need to be raised to ensure that all of the additional employees receive appropriate health and safety training. The type of training will be a decision for the managers to make; whether workers need a NEBOSH General Certificate qualification, or specialise in a fire or construction safety course, or just undertake a short health and safety course which just lasts one day or even half a day and provides a basic overview of health and safety issues.
- Evacuation times may be slower, and additional exits and escapes may need to be installed in order to facilitate larger numbers of people who are required to evacuate the premises in the event of an incident. Corridors may also need to be widened in order to support a larger amount of foot traffic.
- Welfare facilities will need to be improved and additional facilities such as toilets and drinking water amenities installed. Health and safety is not just concerned with preventing accidents and injuries; it also incorporates the provision of welfare facilities to employees.
- An increased amount of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) will need to be bought and paid for if there are a greater number of people performing a task.
- A large workforce that is producing a greater output and consuming more input materials and substances will mean that greater quantities of these materials and substances need to be stored on site. Typically the greater the quantity, the higher the risk level in terms of the amount of damage which can be done to the environment and to the health, safety and well-being of people (both workers and members of the public). Risk assessments and provisions need to be conducted and measures put in place to store hazardous substance safely and securely, not only preventing an incident such as an explosion or leak, but also to contain any potentially dangerous situation should such an incident take place (e.g. creating blast-proof walls around the storage area to contain any explosion which may take place).