If you were to create a list of the most exciting, rewarding and challenging aspects of running or managing a business it is very likely that workplace health and safety would be at the bottom of that list. Although it lacks the allure of certain aspects of owning a business or organisation health and safety at work is one of, if not the most important aspect of business and organisational management.
Within England and Wales, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) sets out very strict guidelines to ensure the health and safety of employees and individuals within the workplace. As a business owner you have a legal obligation to meet these guidelines, under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 business owners and employers are deemed to be responsible for "the provision of such information, instruction, training and supervision as is necessary to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety at work of his employees". Effective workplace health and safety training should focus on five fundamental topics:
On the 1st October 2009 the HSE published new guidelines for first aid in the workplace. Under the new HSE guidelines and as part of health and safety management, businesses and organisations have been granted the flexibility to appoint 2 different levels of workplace first aiders – Appointed First Aid Persons and Emergency First Aiders.
Appointed First Aid Persons are individuals who are granted the workplace responsibilities of managing and replenishing first aid provisions and health & safety equipment, and of initiating emergency procedures. Training provided to Appointed First Aid Persons is basic level, but must include the fundamental elements of workplace first aid and workplace health and safety.
Emergency First Aiders are individuals who are responsible for providing emergency first aid treatment in a workplace in the event of an accident or health and safety emergency. Training provided to EFAs needs to be compliant with either the First Aid at Work (FAW) Certificate or the Emergency First Aid at Work (EFAW) Certificate. To comply with HSE regulations for workplace health and safety management, EFAs cannot be appointed without a certification from a HSE approved health and safety training provider
Fires can occur in even the most well-managed of health and safety-conscious workplaces. The HSE is particularly concerned with how businesses and organisations implement precautionary measures and fire safety training. Within any typical UK workplace there are many potential causes of fire, and business owners are responsible for ensuring that they and their employees are well trained in the prevention of fire and fire safety procedures.
Basic fire safety training is a fundamental part of workplace health and safety management; it should focus on methods to deal with fire such as the correct usage of fire extinguishers, as well as evacuation procedures and how to raise the alarm
Although under law business owners have the ultimate responsibility of ensuring their employees’ health and safety within the workplace, the HSE does recognise that employee behaviour is sometimes the cause of workplace injuries and illnesses. To combat this, the HSE expects business owners to provide their employees with behavioural-specific health and safety training which identifies and prevents risky workplace behaviour.
According to statistics incorrect manual handling is the cause of over 10% of major injuries within UK workplaces. Any individual within a workplace who is involved in the handling or moving of objects or equipment is at risk of poor health or injury and should be properly educated in correct manual handling procedures. Ensuring employees are aware of correct manual handling procedures is a fundamental element of workplace health and safety management.
In this technology-dependent century almost every employee in every UK business and organisation is required to use DSEs or VDUs to fulfil their job roles. Business owners are legally responsible for ensuring the health and safety of their employees during the usage of DSEs and VDUs by providing DSE/VDU specific training. DSE/VDU specific training is health and safety training which empowers and educates employees’ into managing their own health and safety within the workplace, and focuses on the importance of correct posture, comfortable lighting and how to report faults and take action.
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