As an employer or manager of a workplace, you are responsible for the welfare of your employees. Therefore, it is essential to maintain an awareness of any hazards and/or risks that may be present within the workplace.
Whether working on a construction site or in an office, for a space to present itself as a safe working environment it is essential that any health risks are identified and preventative measures are put into place in accordance with the UK Health and Safety at Work Act.
How to Create Safe Working Environment?
1. Risk Assessment
A risk assessment is a legal requirement for any place of employment and is the process of assessing the area for potential health risks even in small businesses.
The typical process of carrying out a risk assessment can be broken down into 5 key steps.
- Hazard/risk identification
- Who may be at risk and how?
- Evaluate the level of risk and consider precautions.
- Note down your observations and implement protective measures.
- Regularly review assessment and update where necessary.
The purpose of the risk assessment is ideal for implementing essential health and safety measures such as determining appropriate workwear and required safety equipment.
2. Workplace Facilities
It is important to ensure that your working environment provides adequate welfare facilities for your workers.
This includes an appropriate number of lavatories, wash-basins and a separate location for employees to take breaks and eat meals.
Frequently used equipment such as computers, power tools, or even kitchen appliances in recreational spaces should be regularly inspected and replaced or disposed of if considered unsafe. Although not a legal requirement, it is recommended that all electrical equipment is PAT tested before being used on site and is regularly inspected as part of a risk management process.
As an employer you are responsible for ensuring that your employees have appropriate knowledge on how to safely carry out their work, thus providing adequate training development programs is essential for all employees.
You must maintain an awareness of the ability levels of individuals and provide particular training as per their needs.
The type and level of training will depend on the nature of the work and often stems from the working environment’s level of risk. With this in mind, appropriate training should be given on:
- Hazards and Risks and the chances of any harm occurring.
- Preventative measures.
- How to follow essential emergency procedures.
All training should be carried out by a qualified professional and should be logged whenever sessions are undertaken.
4. First Aid
Legislation dictates that all places of work, (including places of self-employment) must provide easy access to first aid in the event of an accident.
The work site must include an appropriately stocked first aid kit containing sterile dressings and bandages, adhesive dressings, protective items such as disposable gloves and masks, alcohol wipes, gauze pads, and scissors.
It is also important that there is always an appointed person on site who is trained and/or qualified to take charge in the event of a health emergency.