“All workers are entitled to work in environments where risks to their health and safety are properly controlled. Under health and safety law, the primary responsibility for this is down to employers.” – HSE
How do employers go about making your workplace more safe?
Understandably, this varies significantly; respective to the industry that the employer specialises within. However, there are number of key methods that are universal across the vast majority of business sectors.
I have summarised the key methods that employers should be considering upon, in order to help improve safety in their workplace:
1. Risk assessments and inspection
An important means of improving safety awareness and efficiency is by carrying out regular risk assessments and inspection(s).
Its best practise to tailor risk assessments to the specific risk variables within the workplace; as opposed to a generic route. This will greatly assist in focusing in on the key areas of risk, before the company becomes liable for them causing an accident.
Both risk assessments and inspections are highly beneficial for raising awareness, because they highlight the areas of your workplace that are causing issues and could potentially be dangerous. The keen eye of an expert and the knowledge they possess will massively improve workplace safety — even more so when combined with regular internal safety inspections.
Legally, an employer is obliged to provide whatever information, instruction and training is needed to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health & safety of its workforce. However, a lack of training, combined with the stress of high targets can result in workers taking unnecessary risks. This is why it is fundamental that all workers, whether permanent staff or agency go through a Health & Safety induction training. The induction should offer transparent guidance regarding how to maintain not only their own safety, but also that of their colleagues, when carrying out their day to day duties.
3. Adequate lighting
Badly specified, sited or maintained workplace lighting can lead to accidents as well as to stressed or fatigued workers.
Poor workplace lighting often gets overlooked by health and safety managers; with more pressing concerns and demands placed upon them, there is a tendency to overlook the impact lighting can have on their workforce’s safety.
Bad lighting is greatly associated with ill-health effects ranging from eye strain, headaches and fatigue to postural problems and musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). In higher-risk environments, such as transport yards, warehouses and factories, the consequences of a dark or dimly lit workplace can be even more serious, leading to injuries and even fatalities. In short, the easier it is to see a hazard, the easier it is to avoid it.
It’s not just about poor design or lighting failures. As more people work longer hours in artificial lighting, there is growing evidence that simply too little natural light may have negative effects on the body’s natural rhythms, as well as low mood and reduced alertness.
4. Proper signage
Another fundamental of workplace safety is implementing the correct signage. Signs play a significant role in increasing awareness, maintaining safety and creating a sense of order
This can be as basic as a cone for a wet floor, a sign to highlight trip hazards or a sign to warn employees about forklifts being used in the area. Increasing awareness through signage will in turn help decrease the likelihood of accidents happening – because employees will be more aware of their surroundings.
5. Ensure the workplace is slip-proofed
Trips and falls in the workplace are still recognised as posing the most significant risk in the work place .
For workspaces in particular, where spillages are likely and gradients posing an issue; what better way improve safety than to make sure all the surfaces are turned anti-slip.
A practical, cost effective solution is the application of anti-slip paints. There are now a vast array appearing on the market, and in a range of colours that’ll suit your workplace environment. Anti slip paint works by providing you with a heavily textured finish. The finish can include rubber crumb, uniform silica spheres or graded crushed dolomite depending on the application. Using high quality polyurethane or epoxy resins to provide you with a heavy duty anti slip coating, for the desired result. It means it can therefore stand up to busy workshops, garages, warehouses, walkways, workrooms and other high-traffic environments.