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Posted by David Cant on April 3, 2012
These audits in the United Kingdom are notoriously strict when it comes to compliance with the 1992 workplace health safety and welfare regulations. Considering that the auditors can fail you on some of the most ridiculous of reasons, I will provide some tips I’ve learned from being the assigned health and safety representative for a large business based in Birmingham.
Assign a representative, and incentivise them!
This should be the first thing you do! Management with previous experience with legislation compliance should be amongst your ideal candidates. Arrange quarterly reports from them to ensure that they are working efficiently. Now you have some accountability in place, you can take a look around for any obvious infractions.
Toilets, drinking water, changing rooms and eating areas all fall under the welfare section of the workplace health and safety act. Ensure that drinking water is provided from a clean and regularly refilled container.
Sanitary conveniences and washing facilities should be able to easily service the capacity of your workforce. For example, one cubicle is not enough for a business with 100 or so employees. Are these facilities constantly packed with large queues? This should be taken into consideration in addition to the effectiveness of your cleaning staff, take a UV light to your washroom facilities to check if all precautions are being taken to eliminate the residual of biological waste.
Even though the probability of electrical failure is miniscule, keeping all of your mains powered electronic devices PAT tested is essential with legislation compliance, especially when these devices are coming in contact with the public. The condition of your property should be monitored to ensure that it has the appropriate stability and solidity for use.
Floors and “traffic routes” should be kept clear and clean by your staff, most accidents tend to occur in high traffic areas, so your health and safety representative should take careful note of these spots. Most of this part is simply common sense, as it doesn’t take a genius to note a dangerous area. Make sure all potentially hazardous materials are marked, and your employees are aware about their placement.
The health part of the legislation is mostly common sense. Are your employees working in an acceptable environment? Is there fresh, clean air being ventilated in your workplace? Is your ventilation solution providing an acceptable, cool environment for your employees to function properly? The legislation states that workplaces should be at least 16 °C; if the work involves physical effort it should be at least 13 °C (Unless other laws require lower temperatures).
Lighting should be sufficient to enable people to work and move around safely. Room dimensions and space should be sufficient for the number of employees working on the property. A lot of these can be worked out by simply looking around and talking to employees about any unsafe or unsavoury conditions.
I hope that this has been a relatively simple way of looking at this legislation, use your common sense and have your health and safety representative study the appropriate materials, they are not lengthy, and can prove to be advantageous in the wellbeing of your employees.
Jennifer is a health and safety consultant providing business with clear strategies to combat workplace accidents and the associated risks. For more information on washroom services Nottingham and other aspects relating to this article such as clinical waste disposal then please visit City Healthcare.