All employers have a duty to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of their employees at work, as well as all other people in the workplace. If you are a manager, supervisor or are otherwise in a position of authority – you must ensure that the workplace is safe and that the proper health and safety procedures are being followed.
Health and safety law requires the management to use its common sense to figure out what the risks are and then identify what could be done to prevent these risks. It is not only a legal obligation for the manager to take control of health and safety, it is also a moral obligation to ensure that employees are not in danger when they are carrying out their work tasks.
The Benefits of Health and Safety
Good health and safety management practices have a number of benefits. They increase productivity and efficiency, they encourage higher staff retention, they improve employee morale and they boost the company reputation among many more things.
Also, when you make sure that your workplace is as safe as possible you will ensure that there is a reduction in the number of working days that are lost to illness or injury. Also, you will reduce your insurance premiums and protect yourself from any potential legal action.
Of course, one of the biggest benefits of health and safety is that it will protect the well-being of your employees. An accident in the workplace can cause a worker a serious injury that can affect them for the rest of their life. It can even cause death, which has a devastating effect on the worker’s family and the entire community. With a little bit of prevention and a good health and safety policy, you can possibly prevent these terrible outcomes and ensure that your employees are safe and sound when they are on the job.
Responsibilities of Managers or Supervisors
If you are a manager or a supervisor, it is important that you are aware of your responsibilities and that you make a commitment to health and safety in the workplace. This starts with carrying out a risk assessment, so that you can be aware of the risks that your employees face and how best to prevent them. If you have more than five employees, it is required that you record the findings of your risk assessment in writing.
It is important that you make sure that all workers use the prescribed personal protective equipment, so that they can protect themselves from injury while on the job. Also, it is important that you advise workers of all potential hazards and instruct them on the safe working procedures. Employees should be trained with information about all potential hazards and should be taught how to safely use, store and handle any hazardous substances. Also, employees should be taught how to handle emergencies.
Also, it is the responsibility of the manager to keep the lines of communication open so that employees feel like they can express their concerns to the management without fear of reprimand. It is important to hear feedback from employees, as this will help to monitor whether health and safety procedures are working properly and will also help to address any other issues.
Health and Safety Hazards to Be Aware Of
So what are some of the common health and safety hazards that you should be aware of in the workplace? Here are a few of the most common risks that come up in the workplace, which managers should be working to protect workers against:
- Slips and trips – This is a common cause of injury in the workplace and can be avoided easily. It is important to make sure that walkways are kept clear and dry, working areas are well lit and floors are kept clear of any debris and obstacles.
- Electrical shocks – This is another common cause of injury in the workplace, which can be prevented by ensuring that electrical equipment is well maintained and checked by a qualified technician on a regular basis.
- Hearing Damage – Loud noises in the workplace can cause permanent hearing damage to employees. Make sure that your staff members are not exposed to dangerous levels of noise and that they have the correct personal protective equipment to wear on their ears.
- Strain Injuries Due to Computer Use – Sitting in front of a computer all day can cause a number of strain injuries, including neck pain, back pain and wrist pain. Employees should be given periodical breaks and variation in activity. Also, make sure that employee workstations are comfortable and ergonomic.
- Falls from Height – This is a common cause of serious injury or death, especially on construction sites. Make sure that all scaffolding being used in the workplace has been inspected and that employees are wearing the appropriate safety harness.
- Hazardous substances – Poisoning from exposure to dangerous substances can be a problem in the workplace. Make sure that employees are trained in how to handle the dangerous substance and that they have the right protective equipment for the job.
These are just a few of the common health and safety risks that will come up in many workplaces. As a manager, it is your responsibility to ensure that your employees are protected from these risks and that the correct health and safety procedures are in place.
The Importance of Health and Safety Training for Managers
It is essential for managers to receive the right health and safety training that is relevant to their industry. With the right training, they will be fully informed on how to create a healthy and safe work environment.
There are a number of health and safety courses for managers out there that will provide complete health and safety instruction. IOSH accredited Managing safely training courses are offered in a number of locations all over the country as well as via e-learning.