Health and safety in the workplace is an integral part of running a business, whether for a start-up or an enterprise that has already been in the industry for some time. Apart from its significance to the success of an organisation, it is also required by legislation such as the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
Business owners, managers and employees should know the potential risks in the workplace that can lead to accidents, injuries and worse, death. That said, employers and managers should be able to assess the risks and get the proper training to prevent harm. Identifying the hazards, particularly those with the recognised risk of harm, is crucial.
Hazards and dangers in a workplace can take many forms such as hazardous chemicals or substances, harmful behavior of employees, machinery and the nature of the job itself, such as working in construction sites where workers are prone to accidents. These can include getting exposed to chemicals, dust, gases and paints as well as being injured in the line of work.
In the workplace, electricity is used and supplied in the premises and this poses potential risks. Hazards can include burns and shocks when a person comes in contact with live wires, fires from faulty wiring and possible explosion in an environment with flammable materials.
According to reports, slips and trips in the workplace are the second most common causes of injuries. This can be from wet floors, slippery surfaces and leaving items lying about to name a few.
This is a potential hazard for workers who work either above or below the ground who have the risk of falling and getting injured. These are mostly people who have to climb ladders and metal frames.
These are chemicals and materials that can be harmful for the health of workers, entering and affecting the body in a number of ways such as being inhaled, ingested or coming into contact with the skin. These hazardous substances are covered in the UK under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) regulations. The sheer number of harmful substances which exist, and as such the wide-range of effects that they can have on the body, mean COSHH training is most effective when conducted on an in-house basis which concentrates on the specific substances which are used/present in those employees' workplace.
One of the common causes of workers' getting injured and missing work is improper manual handling. Carrying heavy and awkward objects without the proper body mechanics can lead to back injuries, strains, sprains and ligament damage. An injury which only takes a second to occur can take months to heal completely.
Having the proper training for health and safety in the workplace offers numerous advantages for both the employers and employees. For business owners, risk assessment and safety training can minimise work-related injuries and prevent costly lawsuits and insurance claims. Moreover, employees will feel safe and comfortable in the workplace, making them loyal and productive members of the organisation. By providing safety training to employees, they can learn the skills to protect themselves, the equipment and their co-workers from injuries and accidents. With it, they will be able to recognise the safety hazards and correct or avoid them. They will learn health and safety best practices and apply these at work.
With the help of an accredited health and safety training provider, managers will be able to identify the risks at the workplace and be able to prioritise and handle the situation. Conversely, employees become more competent in health and safety and knowledgeable about what to do for avoiding harm befalling a person at work.