Health and Safety in The Workplace
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 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
Chemical hazards can be liquid or gas by nature and require thorough training to store and use safely.
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 are far harder to determine than other types of hazards. These hazards are all to do with things such as:
- Lighting issues
- 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 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
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.
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?