When you turn on the television, chances are you’ll be greeted at some point by an injury lawyer advertisement looking to help people who’ve had an accident at work.
Pair these adverts up with statistics from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) that report that 1.2 million people suffered from a work-related illness in the past year and you realise that there are plenty of employers out there who don’t take the health and safety of their employees seriously.
The HSE has said that 27.3 million working days were lost in the past year due to work-related illness or workplace injury. Having ill or injured staff can be a serious issue for business - in terms of both profit and safety.
If you want to guarantee that your place of work is equipped for an emergency, here are some of the steps you need to take in order to make your workplace a safe environment.
Have defibrillators on site
Despite being one of the most important ways to keep your workplace safe, it's not currently a legal requirement for all businesses to have a defibrillator on site.
Defibrillators are used on someone suffering from Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) in order to monitor the heart’s electrical rhythm and, if necessary, deliver a shock to the patient.
When someone suffers from a cardiac arrest, it’s important to respond immediately as every minute without CPR and defibrillation reduces the chance of survival by around 10 - 14%. Each year, approximately 60,000 out of hospital cardiac arrests occur each year in the UK and this shows just how important it is to have a defibrillator on site.
Have the correct fire safety procedures in place
Any workplace runs the risk of a fire so it's essential that everyone is prepared in case of emergency. Business owners can be fined and imprisoned if their fire safety provisions are found to be inadequate to deal with a fire, so, make sure you adhere to the government standards that are in place.
You will need to ensure that there are enough fire blankets and fire extinguishers and that these are present for everyone to see. There are extinguishers for different types of environments, so it’s essential you figure out which ones are necessary for you. Fire alarms and exit signs also have to be made clear and easy to spot too.
By law, you must also have a fire evacuation procedure in place for staff to follow. You must also conduct regular fire drills and designate a fire marshall so that everyone understands what to do and where to go in case of emergency.
Have basic First Aid provisions
The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 requires all employees to provide adequate and appropriate equipment and facilities to ensure employees receive immediate care should they become injured or ill at work.
One of the minimum requirements for First Aid provisions is to have a well-stocked First Aid kit, which should at the very least contain plasters, bandages, medical tape and gloves.
Another requirement is that there should be at least one First Aider on hand and they should have a qualification from an accredited course.
Have health and safety training
Alongside First Aid and fire safety training, there are plenty of health and safety procedures that need to be adhered to based on your specific working environment.
Some of the most common training procedures include:
- Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) - This requires employers to control substances, such as chemicals, that could be hazardous to the health of employees. All members of staff must understand what each substance in the workplace is used for and how to use it safely.
- Food Safety - For any business that involves cooking and serving food to customers, it's vital for all staff to understand the right cooking measures, storage practices and labelling procedures in order to reduce risk of illness.
- Manual Handling - Any job that involves heavy lifting needs to provide staff with adequate training and must follow the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 (MHOR) in order to provide a safe working environment.
Having inspections in the workplace are important in keeping the workplace safe. You should have regular inspections on your premises in order to ensure any risks and potential dangers can be addressed before becoming a reality.
Appliances and machinery will also need to be checked annually to ensure that no faults are detected. Portable Appliance Testing will ensure that electrical appliances are safe to use. Whilst in low-risk environments, trusted members of staff with the knowledge and training can carry this out, it’s advised to work with professional electricians to ensure your testing is adequate.
The HSE reported that 142 people were killed at work in the last year. Any business cutting corners and not ensuring their business is a safe place to work could run the risk of only adding to that statistic.
It’s vital that all employers are vigilant and determined to ensure their workplace is an environment where staff can feel safe and secure - is your business equipped for an emergency?
By Adam Maidment, guest blogger from defibshop