Health and Safety Dangers Not Just Caused by Employees
When considering the potential dangers which may face employees, i.e. when performing a risk assessment, many managers will focus on the processes and activities of the company and how they may cause injury or illness to a person. After all, these are the actions which they will be performing day-in, day-out as they go about their workplace duties, and so it is important that they are safe whilst undertaking them. This is achieved through health and safety training to ensure that they have a suitable level of knowledge to operate the machinery and/or carry out their task safely without endangering themselves or others, along with introducing safety procedures and guards which are well-maintained.
The Need to Consider Unlikely But Possible Health and Safety Dangers
Whilst it is imperative to pay a lot of attention to these tasks as they are probably the most likely to cause an injury or illness to a person as these are the ones which they will be performing every day, it is also crucial that health and safety managers do not focus solely on "the normal" and contemplate potential dangers from unlikely but potential events such as a fire or massive power failure for example. Although every single possible eventuality cannot conceivably be considered and prepared for, managers should try and plan for as many as possible, making sure that not only do they have all reasonably practical measures in place to maintain the health and wellbeing of their employees and anyone else who may be affected by the incident and the influence it can have on an element of the company's operations or situation (e.g. damage to dangerous equipment, interactions of hazardous substances which are normally well segregated), but also that suitable emergency and contingency plans have been made in anticipation of an incident. This will help in limiting the damage done to the health and safety of people, of property, and of the surrounding environment.
It is Not Just Employees Who Can Affect Health and Safety
As alluded to in the paragraphs above, health and safety focus should not be trained solely on the normal operations of the company. Nor should it only be considered with regards to what those working on the premises all the time are involved with. Good health and safety planning should also take into account the activities of other people aside from employees who may have an effect and influence regarding the safety (or lack of) everyone around. The most notable examples of these types of people are site visitors and other members of the public who should not be there, i.e. trespassers.
Everybody who enters the site can negatively influence the safety of others through their actions or presence. Some examples include:
i) Visitors who are walking around the place of work, such as a construction site, without wearing the required high-visibility jackets. This can make them difficult for site vehicle drivers to see until they are close up to them, by which time it may be necessary to take avoiding action by swerving. Not only does it put the lives of the visitors and the driver of the vehicle at risk, but can also cause a large-scale incident if the vehicle was carrying hazardous/combustible items. Visitors need to be made aware of the health and safety procedures and requirements of the place they are visiting, but also need to be supervised to make sure that they do not wander off to an area where they should not be or touch something which they shouldn't.
ii) Delivery drivers often bring large quantities of potentially dangerous material onto site, with the potential for an accident which affects a large number of people. See the article "Health and Safety Dangers During Deliveries" for more on this.
iii) Trespassers on the site can not only cause damage but are highly likely to put themselves in danger of harm by messing with equipment. It can also endanger workers who may come back the following morning and not realise that a machine has been tampered with and the safety guard compromised for example. Children and young people are the most likely culprits for trespassing on the site, and it is important that secure perimeter fencing and gates are in place, not to mention parents and schools education children on the dangers of trespassing on a site.