4 steps to implementing Health and Safety at work
It is the responsibility of the business/employer to ensure that Health and Safety (H&S) in the workplace is adequate and abides legal requirements. Protecting the H&S of employees and the public is an essential part of risk management.
According to the H&S law, the employer must:
* Purchase the relevant Employers' Liabiltiy Insurance.
* Provide a written H&S policy if they employ five or more people.
* Assess any possible risks to employees, customers, partners and anyone else who could be affected by their activities.
* Arrange for the effective planning, organizing, control, monitoring and review of preventative and protective measures.
* Ensure they have access to competent H&S advice.
* Consult employees about their risks at work and current preventative and protective measures.
Any business/employer that fails to comply with the above requirements could be faced with consequences such as fines, imprisonment and disqualification.
Not only could there be financial consequences for the employer/business, members of the public and/or employees are at risk of serious injury or death if H&S is overlooked. Figures from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reveals that more than 200 people in the UK are killed at work and around 2 million people suffer an illness believed to be caused or made worse by work.
Get a H&S system
The HSE and the Institute of Directors (IoD) have designed an agenda for management to implement and lead H&S effectively. Here are the 4 steps that should be followed to ensure that health and safety in the workplace is the best it can be:
Planning the health and safety system/policy is fundamental. It should be integrated into a business’s culture, values and performance standards. It is required that businesses have strong systems of internal control which covers H&S, environment, financial risks and business reputation.
This is where the significant risks faced by the organisation will be discussed. It will decide what methods will be taken to address these risks and also how H&S duties and benefits will be communicated throughout the business.
It is important to remember that a H&S system/policy will evolve over time. Risks will never stay the same which is why it is important that businesses plan strategically so that it can respond quickly and responsibly.
Delivery will depend on how effective the Director’s planning and management system is.
It will be more effective if the plan is displayed where it can be seen by all. This will give others a good understanding of H&S and the business’s policy and also let them know of their direct responsibilities. This means that any incidents are likely to be addressed correctly and immediately.
Monitoring is critical. Regular audits of the effectiveness of management structures and risk assessments should be carried out regularly. A strong monitoring system will make sure that the formal review can proceed in the same way it is detailed in the plan.
H&S performance should be reviewed often – at least once a year. The review process should:
* Examine whether the H&S policy reflected the organisation's current priorities, plans and targets,
* Examine whether H&S systems and risk management have been reported effectively to the board,
* Decide actions to address any weaknesses.
This will allow management to establish whether their H&S system is effective in managing risks and protecting people
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