Health, Safety and Welfare at Work
Health and safety in the workplace is not only the responsibility of
the designated Health and Safety Officer, it is the duty of all
members of staff to be responsible for the safety of everyone they may
have to deal with during the working day; both their colleagues and
members of the public.
The Health and Safety Executive are a body whose role is to promote
safety in the workplace; both by providing information to employers
and their employees, and also by ensuring that rules and guidelines
are adhered to in everyday practice.
According to the Health and Safety Executive (or H&SE), the employer
has a responsibility under law to ensure, as far as is reasonably
practicable, the employee's health, safety and welfare at work. The
employer's duties include:
- Making the workplace safe and without risks to health
- Ensuring that plant and machinery are safe and that safe systems of
work are set and are followed
- Ensuring articles and substances are moved, stored and used safely
- Providing adequate welfare facilities
- Giving the information, instruction, training and supervision
necessary for health and safety
It is the duty of the employer to assess the risks to the health and
safety of his/her staff. This will often necessitate a vigorous and
thorough inspection of the workplace, paying particular attention to
any piece of equipment or plant and any working practice that may be
hazardous to the safety of staff. If there are 5 or more employees,
any findings of the risk assessment must be recorded.
Plant and machinery must be regularly inspected to ensure that it is
in perfect working condition. Any worn parts must be replaced
immediately and any safety guards must not only be fitted and in good
working order, but the employer must also ensure that the operator is
actually using them at all times: It is easy to leave a safety guard
unused to save time on occasion, but this kind of behaviour soon leads
to bad working practices.
There must be proper storage facilities for all articles of equipment,
both personal and belonging to the company, and also for all
Articles left lying around the workplace are hazardous to health;
somebody could easily trip or fall over some item that is not stored
properly. An untidy site is a dangerous site!
Any substances such as flammable liquids for example must be stored
correctly. This means in a non-combustible container, which is itself
locked in a suitable storage room or inside a steel cabinet.
The workplace itself must satisfy basic health and welfare
requirements; there must be an adequate first-aid facility provided,
which is clean and well stocked with basic items such as bandages,
eyewash solution and antiseptic cleaning solution.