Warehouses and storage spaces can be dangerous places without proper Health and Safety protocol. In these kinds of environments trips, slips and manual handling injuries are most common and can leave businesses short on staff and out of pocket. Understanding Health and Safety standards can play a key role in helping to protect employees, but what exactly should business owners know?
What is the Health & Safety at Work Act?
The aim of the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) is to secure the health and safety of employees and the public from risks that are posed by the workplace.
What are the key points?
The Health and Safety at Work Act requires employers to have a ‘General Duty of Care’ which means that they must oversee the health, safety and welfare of their workers as much as they can or is deemed practical.
They must also take steps to correctly manage health and safety measures, this means regularly reviewing practices and ensuring that some kind of written policy is in place if five or more staff members are employed. Records must also be kept to oversee health of workers.
When it comes to delegating health and safety responsibilities to staff, the employer must make sure that they are competent enough – and this means hiring employees with relevant qualifications.
Another key point that we featured in our latest article; ‘A guide to Health and Safety in the workplace’ (link to pillar #3) was the importance of risk assessments. A successful risk assessment identifies any potential dangers in the workplace that might be encountered by employees, looks at how likely there is to be an incident and puts appropriate controls in place to prevent them from happening. Where possible, risks should be avoided all together and another way of doing the task needs to be found (for example palletising materials so they can be moved with a fork-lift truck).
Employees must be given sufficient training and instructions for their daily tasks in order to protect their health and their safety, and they must also be supervised whilst doing so.
Extra caution should be taken for dealing with hazardous substances and a risk assessment should be made for any substances which are deemed to be harmful.
It’s also important that workplaces are maintained to a high standard, this means protecting safe access to the building as well as things like safe lighting and ventilation.
In the event of an emergency there must be first aid facilities provided an fire fightingequipment must also be provided.
Finally, it is also required that employers record any workplace injuries that occur on site and that insurance is in place to provide employees with sufficient compensation should an accident result in a serious injury.
It’s important that a business’s working practice coincide with good Health and Safety protocols. Here at Hi-Level Mezzanine floors we provide mezzanine flooring with a variety of safety features, such as handrails and edge protection which can help to protect your employees whilst they go about their work. For more information, or to discuss your particular needs visit http://www.hi-levelmezzanines.co.uk/ or call us +44 (0)1730 237 190.