Help and Safety Advice
A range of Health and Safety related topics that we can provide pragmatic help and advice on
Arinite recognises that there is a lot of information about health and safety, but trying to find straightforward, practical and accurate advice can be an onerous task for employers. Therefore in this section we provide free advice on a range of subjects that we know are a popular source of questions.
We will be developing this section based on your feedback, so please contact us if you have any comments or suggestions for new topics.
Health and Safety is all about preventing people from being harmed or becoming ill through work. The aim of Health and Safety legislation is to require employers and employees to not put others or themselves in danger. The law also protects the public from workplace dangers.
Health and Safety legislation applies to all businesses, however small, and also to the self employed and employees.
Every employer who employs five or more employees must prepare and revise a written statement of his or her general policy with respect to:
- The health and safety at work of his employees.
- The organisation for carrying out that policy.
- The arrangements for carrying out the policy.
The main components of a Health and Safety Management System include:
- Policy – a ‘mission statement’ for health and safety that provides a mechanism for management control and accountability.
- Arrangements for implementation, monitoring (including audit) and continual improvement. Systematising these arrangements removes the potential arbitrariness of processes developed by a few individuals and provides an environment in which the whole workforce can be involved.
Every year people die or are seriously injured as a result of fires in non-domestic properties. Besides the human risk, fire costs UK business millions of pounds due to property damage, fines, compensation, and insurance premiums. Many businesses find that they are not able to recover from the effects of a fire.
UK fire safety legislation places emphasis on preventing fires and reducing risk. Anyone who has some control over premises must take reasonable steps to reduce the likelihood of fire and make sure people can safely escape if there is a fire.
A hazard is something that has the potential to cause harm (e.g. substances, equipment, methods of work etc).
The risk from a hazard is the likelihood that it will cause harm in the circumstances of use. The level of risk is dependent on the nature of the hazard, who is exposed, the length of exposure and the effect of the hazard on health and/or safety.
- Every year over 200 people are killed at work and several hundred thousand more are injured and suffer ill health.
- The biggest causes of days off work sick are aches and pains such as back problems and stress.
- The most common causes of serious accidental injury at work are slips and trips.
- The most common causes of death from accidents are falls from a height and being struck by vehicles in the workplace.
The key to workplace safety is common sense and keeping in mind a few simple steps can help keep you safe from harm at work.
Sickness absence can have a big impact on the performance of your business and the health and well-being of your employees. Most is short-term but it can turn into long-term absence if action is not taken early enough to support their return to work.
Health surveillance means having a system to look for early signs of ill health caused by substances and other hazards at work. It includes keeping health records for individuals and may include medical examinations and testing of blood or urine samples, so that corrective action can be taken.
Pressure is part of all work and helps to keep us motivated and productive. But excessive pressure can lead to stress, which undermines performance, is costly to employers, and can make people ill.
Using chemicals or other hazardous substances at work can put people’s health at risk, so the law requires employers to control exposure to hazardous substances to prevent ill health. They have to protect both employees and others who may be exposed by complying with the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) (as amended).
If you as an employer fail to adequately control hazardous substances, your employees or others may become ill. Effects from hazardous substances range from mild eye irritation to chronic lung disease or, on occasions, death.
Repetitive strain injury (RSI), also called work-related upper limb disorder (WRULD), is a general term used to describe the pain caused to muscles, nerves and tendons by repetitive movement and overuse. The condition mostly affects parts of the upper body, such as the forearm, elbow, wrist, hands, neck and shoulders.
RSI is usually associated with doing a particular activity repeatedly or for a long period of time. It often occurs in people who work with computers or carry out repetitive manual work.
In the UK one worker in 50 has reported an RSI condition.
Legionnaires’ disease is a potentially fatal pneumonia caused by legionella bacteria. It is the most well-known and serious form of a group of diseases known as legionellosis.
Infection is caused by breathing in small droplets of water contaminated by legionella bacteria. The disease cannot be passed from one person to another.
Cooling towers, evaporative condensers and hot and cold water systems have been associated with outbreaks. Other potential sources where precautions might be needed include humidifiers and spa baths.
If you decide that the risks are insignificant, your assessment is complete. You need take no further action other than to review the assessment periodically in case anything changes in your system.
What to do when there is an accident:
- Take any action required to deal with the immediate risks, e.g. first aid, put out the fire, isolate any danger, fence off the area.
- Assess the amount and kind of investigation needed – if you have to disturb the site, take photographs and measurements first.
- Investigate – find out what happened and why.
- Take steps to stop something similar happening again.
- Also look at near misses and property damage. Often it is only by chance that someone wasn’t injured.