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Work Safety Lowdown

Employers have a lot on their plates when it comes to the day-to-day management of a business. As such, one area that may get easily overlooked is keeping up with health and safety issues that pose a problem in the office. Here are a few examples of what be overlooked in your workplace—and what the potential implications are for your health and safety if they continue to be ignored:

1)    Accident books and notification of at-work incidents.

Any company that employs more than ten people is required by law to keep an accident book, and in certain cases, to notify the HSE when accidents or injuries occur in the workplace. Examples of accidents that must be reported to the HSE include major

injuries, occupational diseases, injuries that last over seven days, and deaths. The accident book not only helps to prevent future accidents from occurring in the workplace, it can be a vital resource if employees file accidents at work claims later on

2)    Health and safety law poster and employer’s liability insurance poster.

By law, companies are required to display the HSE health and safety poster in the workplace, or provide each worker with a pocket card equivalent. Likewise, companies are required to hang certification of employer’s liability insurance so that employees know they are covered for at-work accidents and injuries. While hanging these posters might not seem like an important component of workplace safety, they provide vital information about British health and safety laws to employees. Companies can be fined for neglecting to post them.

3)    Overlooking the health and safety of at-home workers.

It is a common misconception for employers to think they don’t have to pay attention to the health and safety of at-home workers. But even when a contracted employee is out of sight, employers are still responsible for mitigating risks and potential hazards in their home office. This may mean something as simple as a cable tidy to prevent tripping or ensuring the employee has a clear escape route in the event of a fire or another emergency. Failure to assess these risks can put an employee in great danger—and cost the company a lot of money in the long run.

4)    Ignoring human factors in the office.

A company’s commitment to its employees’ safety extends beyond the physical threats and hazards to emotional and psychological ones. While it’s easy to overlook these factors, they can be extremely dangerous to an employee’s health. Your company should have clear policies in effect regarding bullying, sexual harassment, and discrimination to help ensure the safety of its employees in all situations.

Tip: It can be hard for managers to find the time to keep up with the myriad of health and safety issues in the workplace. Delegating the management of these issues to other supervisors can be a huge help in keeping the workplace safe. Free podcasts, e-newsletters, and RSS feeds can keep a busy manager apprised of the hot topics as well.

By Taylor Smith. Smith is a HR management and recruitment employee within the private sector industry