It is good practice for companies to inform their staff about potential risks in the workplace and ensure that employees have a safe working environment. In 2009, the Health and Safety Executive produced the Health and Safety Law poster for businesses to use in their workplaces to help employees know of the risks.
Creation of the Health and Safety Executive
In 1833, the first workplace health and safety legislation was passed through Parliament, the first health and safety representatives started to inspect factories. In 1974, the Health and Safety at work act came into effect along with the creation of the Health and Safety Commission
The purpose being was to offer advice and deal with inquiries that organisations may have. The following year, John Locke was appointed the director of the newly formed Health and Safety Executive. The aim of which was enforced health and safety training was being carried out in all workplaces. Businesses had for the first time a legal responsibility to follow the health and safety legislation across the country.
Health and Safety Law Poster
The Health and Safety Law poster was newly created for this purpose; businesses were encouraged to display them, detailing the amended rules. It should also contain the details of who the health and safety delegates are in the business.
On 5 April, 2014, Government legislation came into effect ensuring that all businesses must display the new poster. Businesses are required by law, to show the sign in a visible place for staff to see, or hand out leaflets detailing the potential risks that employees may come across in the workplace.
A high proportion of employers have failed to realise that without displaying the poster on the premises they are in fact breaking the law. Businesses must evaluate risk assessments for employees, to ensure a safe they are working in a safe environment.
Businesses have a duty to train staff in any equipment that they may use for work. Health and Safety delegates should plan training days for employees in the workplace. If necessary, ensure that employees are given protective clothing or free training in the potential risks posed in the workplace.
Business owners have a responsibility to work with health and safety delegates to ensure staff are properly covered. These risk assessments should be carried out to ensure that staff are aware of the risks and trained in how to deal with them.
Staff should make sure that surfaces are properly looked after, and floors are cleared of any obstructions. Windows should be opened regularly and cleaned for staff to use. Transparent doors and walls should be properly looked after with the relevant safety material.
First aid should be made available for staff in the event of an accident occurring in the workplace. If a serious accident or injury happened, the Incident Contact Centre must be informed immediately.
Employers should also have up-to-date insurance to ensure that their insurance certificates can be accessed. Employees are requested to take any responsibility for potential risks posed to other colleagues at work and inform the business owners of hazards or potential risks that might put people in danger. Contractors and self-employed staff working should also be made aware of the possible dangers that might occur.
Jill Henderson is a representative for Cube Safety Supplies who specialise in supplying health and safety signs for businesses.