10 top health and safety tips
Written on 4 January 2023
As an employer, it’s vital you address any health and safety issues at work as quickly as possible.
Here are our back-to-basics health and safety tips to help your business tackle health and safety compliance head on in 2023.
1. Weigh up the health and safety risks
Start by carrying out a risk assessment to identify the risks of someone being harmed in your workplace. Not only is this a legal requirement under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, but it’s the best place to start when it comes to identifying and reducing risks.
If you’re not sure how to approach this task, download our Definitive Guide to General Risk Assessments below for step-by-step guidance.
Make sure your assessment is realistic. In other words, as well as identifying possible risks, think about how likely they are to happen and what the consequences would be if they did. You will then be able to make an informed decision about which risks to focus on and urgently address.
The idea is to reduce risks to an acceptable, ‘reasonably practicable’ level.
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2. Find out what staff think
As an employer, you are legally required to consult with your staff on health and safety.
But don’t just think of this as a necessary box-ticking exercise. Talking to employees can really help make your workplace safer and more productive. After all, they are the ones who know how things are done, as well as what risks exist in the tasks they undertake.
Finding out more about the way your staff work will help you to identify sensible health and safety solutions, and staff may even have some good suggestions of their own.
What’s more, listening to employees and involving them in health and safety decision making – rather than just enforcing rules and procedures on them – is a great way to foster positive attitudes to health and safety.
3. Keep written records
Smaller organisations typically don’t need a long and complicated health and safety policy, so don’t get too bogged down in paperwork. You should, however, put your health and safety arrangements down on paper – even if it’s very short and simple.
Keep a record of all your risk assessments, as well as the health and safety measures you have taken. A written record is important because it will allow you to evidence the steps you’ve taken to protect workers should an incident occur.
An accident book should also be kept. Make a detailed note of all accidents and near misses.
4. Underline health and safety's importance
There’s little point in having a health and safety policy if no one understands it.
Make sure everyone knows:
- How to carry out their job safely; and
- What needs to be done to minimise the risks.
This information could form a health and safety handbook for staff, which effectively translates your health and safety policy into the key points for employees. While it’s not a legal requirement to have one, it is a legal requirement to inform, instruct and train your employees on health and safety matters, and a handbook is one way to do this.
On top of this, simple health and safety workshops or training sessions will further ensure staff understand the role they play in creating a healthy and safe workplace.
5. Keep a clean and tidy workplace
One easy health and safety tip for any business, and a simple way to reduce the risk of incidents, is to keep your workplace in good order.
Indeed, slips, trips and falls remain the number one cause of non-fatal injuries at work, accounting for 30% of all cases. As such, the importance of good housekeeping, such as making sure to keep your environment free from clutter, shouldn’t be overlooked.
6. Maintain equipment and buildings
Make sure all your equipment is regularly serviced and that you promptly carry out any necessary repairs.
Tip: Create a maintenance timetable to make sure everything including your premises remains in good condition. Log all your electrical appliances, including when last tested.
By checking the condition of equipment and buildings at set intervals, you might spot areas in need of attention before real problems occur.
7. Keep a well stocked first aid box
However small your business, it’s important to have a properly stocked first aid box. Have someone monitor its contents to make sure it always contains the necessary first aid items.
Depending on your organisation’s size, you may also need to have staff on site with first aid training. Make sure their first aid qualification is kept up-to-date.
8. Have regular fire drills
While they can be inconvenient, regular fire drills are essential, as they allow new and existing staff to become familiar with your organisation’s emergency procedures, making for quicker, safer evacuations. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect.
You should carry out drills at least once a year.
- Staff know exactly what to do in the event of a fire;
- You have a fire safety policy;
- You have an emergency evacuation plan (and all staff are aware of it); and
- Fire exits and routes to exits are kept clear at all times.
9. Identify vulnerable workers
It’s important to be aware of any staff who could be considered vulnerable workers.
If any are disabled, pregnant or suffer long-term health problems, it’s a good idea to carry out a specific risk assessment to make sure their health and safety is being properly protected. For example, a pregnant worker shouldn’t be doing any heavy lifting.
Very young workers, who don’t have the same skills and experience as older workers, may also need close supervision.
10. Don't forget stress
When you think of workplace health and safety, you probably think about accident reduction. But employers must also do everything they can to help reduce work-related ill health, the number one cause of which is stress, depression and anxiety.
Key steps to managing stress are:
- Identifying and monitoring the causes of stress; and
- Where possible, taking action to reduce it.
Stress is also one of the major reasons people take time off work. With absences a real concern for businesses right now, making this a top priority will help to keep your workforce present and performing at their best in the year ahead.
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Become confident and compliant in 2023 with help from WorkNest.
With our fixed-fee Health & Safety service, you can be reassured that your workplace is suitably and sufficiently risk assessed and all necessary documentation is in place, with professional support on hand whenever you need it.
We’ll also give you the tools you need to manage and monitor risk more easily on a day to day basis, reducing guesswork and making health and safety less of a burden.
To find out how we can help transform your approach to health and safety this year, call 0345 226 8393 or request your free consultation using the button below.