A safe working environment is a key priority – here are our top 5 hazards and how to avoid them:
1. Slips, Trips and Falls
There are many factors that can cause a slip, trip or fall including uneven surfaces, spills, and tripping hazards (for example trailing wires & cables or equipment that has not been correctly stored).
Keep your risks low by ensuring that floor surfaces are kept clean, spills are clearly marked and cleaned up as fast as possible, and your walking areas are well-lit and clearly identified with signage and floor markings, where applicable. Additionally, ensure that staff are wearing footwear that is appropriate for the environment in which they’re working.
There are numerous factors that contribute to fire hazards in businesses, including incorrect storage of hazardous goods, poor refuse storage and removal practices, poorly maintained electrical systems, arson and more.
Protect against fire hazards by ensuring you do the following:
- Store hazardous materials according to the information shown on the safety data sheets.
- Ensure a fire risk assessment is completed annually by a competent contractor.
- Have a competent contractor test and regularly check all fire extinguishers, ensuring they are appropriate for use on fires that may occur in your particular environment.
- Ensure your fire safety policy and training of staff is up to date and regularly checked.
- Conduct regular fire drills and ensure that exits are clearly marked.
3. Working with Electricity
Although taken for granted, working with electricity can be dangerous and can cause injury or even death. Issues such as faulty equipment or poor maintenance of electrical systems can be the cause. Ensure your staff stay safe by:
- Maintaining all electrical appliances and equipment in accordance with all applicable regulations.
- Using competent electrical contractors to carry out any work or repairs.
- Train your staff on potential hazards and how to deal with emergencies.
- Periodically test portable electrical appliances – even a simple visual check – to ensure they are safe to use.
4. Manual Handling
Lifting, carrying, pushing, pulling and lowering are all examples of manual handling in the workplace. Any physical exertions – even light but repetitive tasks – in the workplace can have a serious impact on health over the course of time. Millions of work-days are lost each year to back pain. Keep your staff fit and healthy by:
- Providing manual handling training to those staff who routinely manually handle objects.
- Provide work equipment, such as trollies, sack barrows and other handling aids so the requirement to manually move loads in reduced.
- Where applicable, provide personal protective equipment (PPE), such as back braces, gloves and protective footwear to staff.
5. Hazardous Substances
Depending on the type of working environment, staff can in certain instances be exposed to chemical or biological hazards that can cause harm in numerous ways. Substances such as bleach, cleaning products, and some paints and solvents can cause skin irritation, burns, eye injuries and poisoning. Keep your staff safe by:
- Storing hazardous substances in accordance with the safety data sheet.
- Ensure a CoSHH risk assessment has been completed for each substance classed as hazardous in the workplace.
- Provide staff training on the safe use of substances classed as hazardous.
- Providing adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) and spill-response equipment.
- Have a plan in place to deal with emergencies.
For training, guidance and advice on all Health & Safety matters contact one of our friendly staff today.