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Health and Safety in The Workplace


Introduction

The workplace can be a dangerous place and is one of the most common places for accidents to happen. There is much that can be done to prevent any accidents from happening in the first place. Awareness and knowledge are often the best way to be able to avoid workplace related accidents from occurring. As an employer it is your responsibility to make the workplace as safe as possible for your workforce. Our courses on health and safety can help you to make your workplace as safe as possible.

As well as the various legal requirements a business has to protect its employees and the public, it is in the best interests of a business to keep its workforce healthy. Accidents and illness caused by inadequate or non-existent health and safety procedures/policies can result in staff having to take time off work, or even, if they can make it into work, can lead to lower happiness and motivation. In both cases, productivity will be greatly reduced, which will have an indirect effect on the financial performance of the company. Poor health and safety practices can also have a more direct impact on the company's figures. The failure to provide sufficient protective equipment, for example, allows an employee to sue the business for compensation as a result of any accident or illness which could have reasonably been prevented, and also includes the possibility of a fine being imposed by the court. Also, workers who are off work for a long time or who leave will need to be replaced, which can result in costly recruitment costs as well as the dip in output until that worker or workers are replaced.

What does health and safety in the workplace entail?

Health and safety provisions and practices will vary greatly depending on the industry of the firm, as the needs of workers in some industries, such as miners, will vary to workers in other environments such as office workers. However, they share the common theme that the intention is to provide a working environment which protects the worker from injury and illness caused by the equipment they use, the products they handle, and the environment in which they work.

Examples of creating a safe and healthy working environment:

  • Providing and maintaining clothing and equipment necessary from protecting the worker from harm
  • Providing necessary remedies in case of an accident (e.g. fire extinguishers, eye wash, bandages etc.)
  • Ensuring adequate washing facilities
  • Regular and sufficient cleaning of workspace
  • Providing sufficient break and rest periods
  • Regular tests and check-ups for staff (e.g. eye tests for workers who spend a lot of time staring at computer screens (Visual Display Units))
  • Frequent and adequate risk assessments


Hazards in the Workplace

The first way to prevent accidents from occurring is to recognise any potential hazards. There are four main areas of possible hazards that with a little knowledge can be managed in such a way that helps to avoid accidents from occurring. These four hazardous areas that need attention are:


  • Chemical hazards
  • Biological hazards
  • Ergonomic hazards
  • Physical hazards

With the right knowledge and training these hazardous areas can be recognised and accidents can be prevented. Our courses are designed to help you recognise and prevent accidents in these areas.



Chemical Hazards

Chemical hazards are a group of hazard that is related to any kind of chemicals. These may not be related to specialised companies as cleaning products for example contain chemicals. Chemical accidents can occur from spills or storage issues. Chemical hazards in the workplace include:


  • Cleaning products
  • Gases
  • Fumes
  • Gasoline
  • Solvents

Chemical hazards can be liquid or gas by nature and require thorough training to store and use safely.



Biological Hazards

Biological hazards are dangers that come from working with natural elements. Working with livestock, bacteria in a laboratory or humans all are workplaces with common biological hazards. Biological hazards include:


  • Bodily fluid such as blood or semen
  • Bacteria and viruses
  • Disease and infection
  • Animal and bird droppings or bites

Anything that stems from a natural element can be classed as a biological hazard.



Ergonomic Hazards

Ergonomic hazards are far harder to determine than other types of hazards. These hazards are all to do with things such as:


  • Lighting issues
  • Posture
  • Lifting
  • Repetitive movements

Anything that is associated with the health and wellbeing of a worker in terms of their comfort in doing the job and being present at their workstation (desk, assembly line etc) can be classed as a potential ergonomic hazard.



Physical Hazards

Physical hazards are often the hazards that cause the most accidents in the work place. These dangers include:


  • Tripping hazards
  • Damaged electrical cords
  • Ladders poorly placed
  • Machinery damaged or unguarded
  • Loud noises
  • Vibrations

Most physical hazards can be avoided by accurate knowledge and awareness of the possible consequences. They are normally factors which have simple solutions and preventative measures, but are frequently overlooked and can result in serious injuries.



Conclusion

All types of dangers in the workplace can be managed with the correct knowledge and awareness. Our training courses can help to teach your employees how to spot potential hazards in the workplace and take the appropriate action, therefore minimising potential accidents. Why not get in touch today to see how we can improve the health and safety of your workplace?




Selected Courses

Please see below for a selection of health and safety courses and qualifications which you may be interested in:

NEBOSH National Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety

The NEBOSH National Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety is the flagship NEBOSH qualification, and is the first UK vocational qualification to be developed specifically for health and safety professionals.

The NEBOSH National Diploma provides the core health and safety knowledge (transferable across industry, commerce and the public sector) which, combined with understanding and appropriate application, underpins the competent performance of an occupational health and safety practitioner.

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NEBOSH National General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety

The NEBOSH General Certificate is one of the most popular and widely-held health and safety qualifications in the UK. It is intended to be taken by managers, supervisors and any other employees who require an understanding of general health and safety issues.

The NEBOSH General Certificate covers the main legal requirements for health and safety in the UK, along with the identification and control of workplace hazards, and the practical application of this knowledge. The general content of the NEBOSH General Certificate syllabus means it is suitable and relevant for those working in virtually any industry, and is often used as a solid foundation for those going on to further study and specialising in a particular area such as construction site health and safety or fire safety.

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IOSH Managing Safely Course

The IOSH Managing Safely course is designed for managers and supervisors of organisations in virtually all industry sectors, in order to give them all they need to know to effectively manage health and safety in the workplace.

Recently updated, the new high impact programme covers key health and safety issues, and includes references to international case studies.

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CITB Site Management SMSTS Course

The Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) is one of the most popular health and safety training courses, and is intended for construction site managers, project managers and senior supervisors, as well as proprietors of smaller companies.

Client-based personnel would also benefit from attending the SMSTS course.

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CITB Health and Safety Awareness Course

This course is for those who have entered, or are about to enter, the construction and civil engineering industry as a member of the workforce to help them understand the potential hazards that they face at work on site. It aims to provide a practical summary of health and safety, welfare and environmental health and safety issues.

The course also allows delegates to identify their individual responsibilities for looking after themselves and others, what the employer's duties are and what should be done if they think anyone's health and safety is being put at risk.

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