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Workplace Essentials: Why Health and Safety is Important


Introduction

Your workplace can be a very dangerous place depending on the type of work you are doing. About 200 people are killed in accidents at work and almost one million individuals are injured. Moreover, more than 2 million people suffer illnesses that are caused or aggravated by the work they do.

Due to the risks, it is essential to provide health and safety information as well as training at your workplace as this can help you in:

  • Ensuring that you and your employees are not injured or made ill due to the work they are conducting or the working environment they operate within
  • Find out how employees can manage their safety and health better
  • Develop a safety culture and a positive heath environment where your safe and healthy working conditions become second nature

In addition, effective training can also help you to provide the following:

  • It will really help in making your employees competent with respect to safety and health
  • It can assist you in avoiding the financial costs that are a consequence of accidents and ill health
  • It can also help businesses avoid the usual distress that is involved in ill health and accidents

Since your insurance will not cover all the losses, it is therefore vital to ensure the health and safety of employees.



What is Training and Why Provide It?

Training employees means helping people to learn to do something. It will inform people what they should do and it will provide them with information regarding how to manage something better.

Employees are the greatest assets of the workplace and you have to assist them in helping them achieve your business objectives along with meeting your moral and legal obligations in rendering a safe and healthy environment at work. In order to get the best from every single one of your employees, it is of utmost importance that you provide training to them in all aspects of work including the issue of safety and health. Training is a great way for employees to acquire new knowledge and skills and to refresh good workplace practices. This can cause a huge change in the work place behavior. Therefore, investing in effective employee training will improve the knowledge, productivity and skills of employees.

Employers should provide training to employees on the following key areas (as well as others):

  • The nature of the hazards
  • Safety procedures
  • Use, storage, fit and testing of the personal protective equipment
  • Processes used for risk control, hazard identification and risk assessment

Workplace Hazards

While there are many workplace hazards that a person can find themselves getting caught up in, some of the most common types are:


Physical Hazards

Physical hazards are they which can be touched and include frayed electrical cords, exposed moving parts and other dangers from machinery etc. Most incidents in the workplace occur due to using machinery and tools incorrectly or without authority. Operating at unsafe speeds can also cause you to violate safe work practices. In addition, overloading, crowding or failing to balance the materials is another thing that causes you to cause an injury to yourself or others.


Ergonomic Hazards

These occur when the type of work that you do, or your body or working position puts a great strain on your body. These hazards are difficult to identify as often the harm that may have incurred is done over a long period of time and only causes problems in later life (e.g. back trouble or worsened arthritis. Frequent lifting, awkward movements or repetitive actions all come under the sphere of manual handling, and their prevalence results in manual handling injuries being one of the leading causes of staff absenteeism from the workplace through ill-health.


Biological Hazards

Biological hazards at work come from working with people, infectious animals or plant materials. Examples are bacteria, viruses, insect bites, animal droppings etc. The range of consequences from biological hazards range from very mild symptoms right through to virtually instant death.


Chemical Hazards

These hazards are present when you are exposed to several different types of chemical preparations in the work place. Examples include carbon monoxide or other similar gases, vapors, fumes, gasoline, liquids and solvents.


Due to the aforementioned reasons, workplaces can prove to be very dangerous for employees, and if employees are not trained properly they can end up getting involved in a lot of dangers.



Emergency Procedures

If someone at the workplace has been in an accident, it is important for you to not just leave them. You should:

  • Always check for any dangers for yourself or others before you assist the victim
  • Raise the alarm and try to seek medical assistance
  • Take the appropriate action, which will be dependent upon you having received the correct and thorough health and safety training beforehand, as different incidents require vastly differing treatments. Performing the wrong action even with the best of intentions can sometimes make the situation far worse.

If proper care is not taken at work, employees risk putting themselves into major dangers which in effect will cause them to get involved in accidents that will obviously not have a good impact on them or their families. In case of an accident, employees can risk losing a limb, suffering scarring or suffering other physical damage. In addition, they may also permanently injure themselves.

All of these outcomes will affect the families and loved ones of the employees. There are so many employees who are the main breadwinners of their families. They are the ones who are doing the earning for their households and if they are the ones who get injured chances are that families will end up suffering financially. Moreover, even if the injury is minor, there are medical and other costs involved that may cause a lot of hardship for families.

Therefore in a nutshell, if employees are not trained, they can risk getting into a lot of hazards and accidents that may risk them losing their health or lives forever. Not only are their legal and moral responsibilities expected of management, but there are also financial gains to be had through having a workforce which is thoroughly training in avoiding accidents and incidents at work.




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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