Health and Safety
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Health and safety in the workplace is an issue for employers and employees. Each year, thousands of people suffer accidents and ill-health at work.
No workplace is entirely risk free. Every employer must make sure that the risk of workplace accidents is minimised. Every employee has the right to work in a safe environment, free from unnecessary risk of accidents.Employers need to take measures to ensure they are fully aware of the legislation or employ the services of a specialist to help them ensure they maintain a safe workplace and comply with all relevant legislation.
Employers have a duty to protect all employees at work. They must report all serious accidents to the Health and Safety Executive or the local authority.If employees are injured at work they may have a legal case against their employer.
Back problems are extremely common and they can causes a significant number of work absence sand related costs and disruption in the work place. Employers need to be aware of the risk and take positive steps to ensure that their employees receive appropriate guidance on areas such as lifting were employees should recieve apprpriate training before lifting heavy loads, posture when at a computer and recomended time spent behind the wheel of a car.
Office Workers and Computers
Many office workers are at their computers for a long time. Employers need to ensure that their staff sit correctly and provide appropriate seating to minimise the incidence of back pain. They also need to ensure that employees take regular screen breaks to prevent eye strain, the recommended policy calls for a 5-10 minute screen break or change of activity every hour.
Computers in the workplace need to be assessed using appropriate risk assessment procedures as a poorly set-up workstation can lead to discomfort, back pain, neck pain or repetitive strain injuries.
Work Related Upper Limb Disorder and Repetitive Strain Injury
Work-related upper limb disorder or WRULD includes disorders of the hand, wrist, arm, shoulder and neck. Examples include diagnosed ailments such as carpal tunnel and other symptoms which are frequently referred to as repetitive strain injuries (RSI). WRULD/RSI may be deemed to be caused by the tasks employees are asked to perform. In most cases they can be prevented by providing a suitable work environment and appropriate training.
Work Related Stress
Work-related stress is one of the greatest health hazards in the work place. Whilst stress is difficult to identify, it can clearly be the result of excessive pressure or workload. As employers are responsible for the general safety and wellbeing of their employees work related stress must be included in risk assessments and action plans.
First Aid Provision
Employers must make first aid available for their employees based on an assessment of the risks in the workplace. As a minimum employers should provide a first aid box and ensure it is adequately stocked at all times.First aid given to an injured person before professional help arrives can save lives, so it is important that first aid is available in your workplace.
Employees should report hazards to help keep everyone safe from harm. Employer must carry out risk assessments and act on their findings.
Employers must stop people smoking at work if within an enclosed space or in certain vehicles. Employers need to have an appropriate smoking policy to suit their particular workplace.
Working at Height
Working at height regulations are designed to prevent falls in the workplace and keep workers safe. If working at height is unavoidable employers must carry out a full risk assessment and provide appropriate equipment and training. After work-related illness falls from height are the most common cause of workplace deaths causing 60% of injuries. Workers are judged to be working at height if there is a possibility of falling.
Alcohol, Drug and Substance Abuse
Drug, alcohol and substance misuse can have serious implications for workers health, safety and performance in the workplace. It is not only illegal drugs that cause problems. Legal ones, including prescription drugs and alcohol, can also be misused and employers need to be aware of their liabilities.
All organisations need to have a policy on drugs, alcohol and other substances and ideally it would be developed in consultation with staff and where appropriate health and safety representatives. If drug or alcohol screening is deemed appropriate, employers must first get their employees’ consent. Employers should encourage employees to use specialist support if it is believed that they may be misusing drugs or alcohol.