“At Prostart we are committed to Health and Safety and ensuring our learners have sufficient knowledge to keep themselves safe and abide by the Law.”
The Health & Safety at Work Act (HASAWA) was established in 1974 and was designed to help protect the Health, Safety and Welfare of employee’s along with other people such as visitors and members of the public that are affected by the companies work activities.
The Act itself can be split into three main groups these are:
Employees may be at risk from certain illnesses/injuries from their job/work they do. For instance a person who spray paints cars would be more at risk from developing breathing difficulties such as asthma.
The condition or environment that people work in; if a workplace is particularly noisy workplace may lead to hearing problems or even deafness
- HUMAN FACTORS
Poor attitude or behaviour can contribute to accidents happening. This can happen as a result of carelessness, lack of/poor concentration, haste or ignorance of correct company procedures.
Under the Health & Safety at Work Act everyone within a company has a responsibility towards Health & Safety including, employers, employees, self employed individuals, designers, manufactures, suppliers and any people in control of work premises. If at any time the Act is breached or is thought to of been breached the Health & Safety Executive has to right to:
- Enter the premises
- Conduct an investigation
- Take sample and photographs
- Give advice
- Issue Instructions notices, Improvement notices and Prohibition notices
If a Health & Safety Executive issues either an Instruction, Improvement or Prohibition notice this must be carried out by law within the time allowed. Failure to do so may result in prosecution.
Everyone has a responsibility for keeping the workplace safe!
What if an accident does happen?
If an accident does occur within a workplace the correct procedure must be followed. This means that any accident, instance of near miss or case of ill health must be entered into the company accident book. By doing this it provides a written record which can be used, if needed, for any investigation or prosecution. By law any accidents that result in death, injury, dangerous occurrence or disease must be reported to the appropriate enforcing authority.
What does an employer need to do to comply?
To comply with the Health & Safety at work act, employers are legally obliged to provide welfare facilities for their staff. This includes:
- Adequate number of toilets – which should be clean, well lit & ventilated
- Washing facilities with hot & cold running water, soap and hand drying facilities
- Changing rooms with storage facilities
- Facilities for work breaks which should include seating/separate eating/non smoking areas. Also facilities for pregnant & nursing mothers.
- Employers must provide training on manual handling, if this is relevant to the employee’s job role
What does an employee need to do to comply?
It is not just employers that have responsibilities under the Act. Every person is responsible for their own work area, this could include: Cleaning up spills & removing obstacles, reporting faults & defects, operating machinery in accordance with procedure and following all safety instructions. In order to ensure maximum safety within the workplace it is advisable to:
- Tie back long hair
- Avoid wearing loose clothing, tie’s and jewellery
- Alcohol and non prescriptive drugs should be avoided
- Not eat and drink within your work area
- Ensure that you know how to use machinery according to company policy
Hazards & Risk Assessments
Hazards are anything that has the potential to cause harm. Examples of this can include fire, electricity, harmful substances, sharp tools, noise and damaged flooring. By carrying out risk assessments we are able to identify the potential hazards and put something in place to reduce the risk, they help people think about what could go wrong and ways to prevent accidents & ill health. Risk assessments are a vital requirement in maintain a safe working environment. It is a legal requirement to carry out Risk Assessments within every workplace.
To prevent injuries within the workplace we can:
- Remove any hazards completely
- Minimise access to hazards if they cannot be removed completely
- Ensure that all equipment is designed & built safely
- Ensure all guards are in place and are maintained
- Use the safest possible machinery
- Ensure that it is a safe working environment
Did You Know?
You carry out a risk assessment every time you cross the road? By looking both ways before you cross a road you are assessing whether there is any danger, thus preventing an accident looking before you cross. So maybe without knowing it you are already carrying out risk assessments nearly every day!
For example when working with electricity you should always take precautions to minimise the risk. By ensuring that:
- Electricity & water should always be kept apart
- Always disconnect appliances when not being used
- Ensure the correct fuses are fitted – use circuit wherever possible
- Report defects in equipment and cables
- Only use electrical equipment if trained to do so
If the risk cannot be removed completely, then Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) should be used to minimise the risk. These can include:
- Safety helmets
- Safety goggles
- Masks or Respirator’s
- Ear defenders against noise
All PPE should carry the ‘CE’ symbol to indicate that the equipment complies with European standards. All equipment must be maintained and used according to manufacturer’s instructions to ensure a safe working environment.
The recommended minimum temperature for physical work is 13 degrees centigrade
A first aider is someone who is appointed and trained to recognised standards to administer first aid. It is a legal requirement that every company must have a suitable first aid kit and an appointed person who has received training. It is the appointed persons’ responsibility to ensure that the first aid kit is kept stocked, the equipment is maintained and that the first aid kits are easily accessible. The appointed person is required to take charge of a sick or injured person including contacting the emergency services should the circumstances arise.
Control of Substances Hazardous to Health – COSHH
Amended in 2002 COSHH was brought in to cover hazardous substances such as: cleaning chemicals, lead, asbestos, fumes, gases and living organisms such as fungal spores. An assessment must be carried out by employers to cover all of the above.
Health & Safety – The Law
What you should know:
- Your health, safety & welfare at work are protected by law
- Your employer has a duty to protect you and keep you informed about health & safety
- You have a responsibility to look after yourself and others
- If there is a problem, discuss it with your employer or safety representative if there is one.
- Your employer has a duty under the law to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, your health, safety and welfare at work
Your employer must consult you or your safety representative on matters relating to your health and safety at work, including:
- Any changes which may substantially affect your health and safety at work, e.g. in procedures, equipment or ways of working
- The employer’s arrangements for getting competent people to help him/her satisfy health & safety laws
- The information you have to be given on the likely risks and dangers arising from your work, measures to reduce or get rid of these risks and what you should do if you have to deal with risk or danger
- The planning of health and safety
- The health and safety consequences of introducing new technology
In general, your employer’s duties include:
- Making you workplace safe and without risks to health
- Ensuring plant and machinery are safe and that safe systems of work are set and followed
- Ensuring articles and substances are moved, stored and used safely
- Providing adequate welfare facilities
- Giving you the information, instruction, training and supervision necessary for your health & safety
In particular, your employer must:
Assess the risks to your health and safety Make arrangements for implementing the health and safety measures identified as being necessary by the assessment
- If there are five or more employees, record the significant findings of the risk assessment and the arrangements for health & safety measures
- If there are five or more employees, draw up a health & safety policy statement, including the health & safety organisation and arrangement is force, and bring it to your attention
- Appoint someone competent to assist with health & safety responsibilities and consult you or your safety representative about this appointment
- Co-operate on health & safety with other employers sharing the same workplace
- Set up emergency procedures
- Provide adequate first aid facilities
- Make sure that the workplace satisfies health, safety and welfare requirements, e.g. for ventilation, temperature, lighting, and sanitary, washing and rest facilities
- Make sure that the work equipment is suitable for its intended use, so far as health & safety is concerned, and that is properly maintained and used.
- Prevent or adequately control exposure to substances which may damage your health
- Take precautions against danger from flammable or explosive hazards, electrical equipment, noise or radiation
- Avoid hazardous manual handling operations, and where they cannot be avoided, reduce the risk of injury
- Provide health surveillance as appropriate
- Provide free any protective clothing or equipment, where risks are not adequately controlled by other means
- Ensure that appropriate safety signs are provided & maintained
- Report certain injuries, diseases and dangerous occurrences to the appropriate health and safety enforcing authority
As an employee you have legal duties too! They include:
- Taking reasonable care for your own health & safety and that of others who may be affected by what you do or do not do
- Co-operating with your employer on health & safety
- Correctly using work items provided by your employer, including personal protective equipment (PPE), in accordance with training or instructions; and
- Not interfering with or misusing anything provided for your health, safety & welfare
If you think there is a health & safety problem in your workplace you should first discuss it with your employer, supervisor, and manager. You may also wish to discuss it with your health & safety representative, if you have one.
You, your employer and your safety representative can get information on health & safety in confidence by calling HSE’s Infoline on: 0845 345 0055 or logging onto the HSE website at: http://www.hse.gov.uk/
For any further information on Health & Safety you may also contact Prostart’s Health & Safety Officer- Lawrence Turton
Version 12 Jan 20