Workers across the land have an expectation and a right to go home happy and in one piece at the end of the working day, without having suffered injury or ill health at work.
All workers are aware that there is a legal obligation for their employer to ensure their health, safety and welfare while they are at work. I am sure you will agree that many will “forget” that they have their own legal obligations to ensure they do not bring harm upon themselves or others while in your employment.
In fact, the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, section 7, specifically mentions this. Employees have been fined, and have gone to jail for breaching this law.
Health and safety is, rightly, everyone’s responsibility.
As an employer, you have to risk assess, to write policies and procedures, to provide training and instruction. You have to ensure that you not only protect your workforce and others, but also protect your own backs. The biggest defence an employee has in a court of law is by saying that they did not understand or know that they had to act in a particular way.
In this blog post, I am going to look at ten common things in the workplace that employees need to do in order to work safely. Most of them rely on you, as an employer, getting your health and safety management systems correct, and ensuring that employees are aware of their responsibilities.
As with many things in business, and in life, good communication is key!
10 Recruit an employee that is capable do the job
Ensure that who you employ is qualified or capable of doing the job in question. And if they aren’t – for example if they are a new apprentice – that you have put in measures from the start to ensure they are supervised, mentored, monitored and trained. Know people’s limitations.
There are some tasks that someone under 18 cannot do by law, so do not give them that role to do. Examples include serving alcohol, using a slicing machine in a delicatessen, lifting and carrying heavy loads, and shadowing someone evicting a tenant while on work experience.
9 Induction training
Get health and safety communication correct from the start with a new employee, and it will make life easier down the line. There is a lot for a new employee to take in when they start a new job role. You will be eager to get them started doing proper work as soon as possible, but it is important that a good and thorough health and safety induction takes place over a few weeks, and that periodic refresher training takes place throughout the employee’s career with you.
8 Company rules and procedures
Since the 1960s, health and safety legislation has been growing to what it is today. The United Kingdom leads the world with health and safety laws, and as a result we have one of the best accident records of any country in the world.
Because of these laws, rules and procedures within companies are often quite strict. They generally ensure that the company is compliant with legislation. And to a certain extent this works well. It works better when managers implementing the rules inform the workforce why they are being introduced. Sadly, in many businesses this fails.