Health & Safety
Health & Safety law is complex and wide ranging. It is therefore beyond the remit of this site to provide comprehensive guidance on all aspects of Health & Safety. The majority of businesses will fall under the Field Operations Division of the HSE (other specialist divisions being the Nuclear and Railways Divisions). In summary, employers have a responsibility to ensure that:
- The working environment is safe, with no risks to employee's health and that provisions are made for their welfare;
- Adequate training is given with respect to the use of working equipment;
- There is suitable provision for the safe access and egress to and from all working areas;
- Information, instruction, training and supervision is provided as necessary, to ensure the Health & Safety of everyone in the company;
- All accidents are recorded in an accident book.
It is best practice for an employer to carry out a health and safety risk assessment. This should be conducted by a 'competent' individual. When carrying out a risk assessment the employer should:
- Identify any potential hazards within the workplace;
- Decide who may be harmed from the hazard;
- Evaluate the risks associated with any hazards;
- Make a record of any findings made as a result of the risk assessment.
Once a risk assessment has been made, employers have a responsibility to:
- Make arrangements for implementing the measures identified by the risk assessment;
- Appoint competent people to help implement them;
- Set up emergency procedures;
- Provide information to all employees.
A fire-risk assessment should also be made in a similar way. A fire drill procedure should be developed and tested on a regular basis. Fire-drill and Health & Safety training should be incorporated into induction training for new employees.
At a minimum level, employers are expected to provide rudimentary Health and Safety information via the distribution of Health & Safety Law information brochures or posters that should be displayed in the workplace. A member of the management team should be made responsible for Health & Safety matters within the organisation. In addition, an 'appointed' person should be made responsible for maintaining first aid supplies and co-ordinating activities in the event of someone being taken ill or being injured at work. This appointed person should have attended at least a basic (typically half-day) course in first aid. Organisations in excess of 50 employees should have at least one qualified 'first-aider' for every 50 employees.