Eliminating risks in the workplace.September 26th, 2014 Category: Local Authority & Housing
Risk management is incredibly important, particularly when it comes to the workplace.
Whether you are working in a busy, commercial kitchen, or for a local authority, the importance of creating a safe and healthy workplace cannot be understated.
Therefore, as an employer you must carefully identify the risks in the work environment and eliminate them as much as possible.
This is known as a risk assessment, and all organisations need to have carried one out. Most businesses or local authorities will often train and appoint a health and safety officer for this purpose.
It is also important to write down any evaluations of the risks – although if you have fewer than five employees in your company, this will not be necessary.
The key to it all is in thinking very carefully about how a staff member might be harmed in the workplace.
On one hand, you have the obvious risks such as obstructions to exit points in the building,or tripping hazards.
Spillages can also lead to slips and falls in the workplace, while broken equipment, glass or machinery can also present dangers.
This is where effective maintenance and cleaning comes in. Most firms will appoint an external agency or company to take on this work and to report back on any risks they may uncover while carrying out their duties.
You may also have risks that are not so obvious however – and these are usually things which could potentially go wrong, but have not yet made themselves apparent.
Of course, it is impossible to identify every possible scenario, but the key to it all lies in being able to show that you have taken all the sensible steps to protect yourself and those who work within the building.
So how do you identify hazards in the workplace?
There are no really hard and fast rules, but our tips below will give you some idea of how to identify the most important ones.
Firstly, if you work with chemicals or equipment, you should always check the manufacturers instructions carefully, and follow them precisely.
These are often very useful guides in spelling out the potential dangers to those who use the product in question.
Do you have accident or ill health records at your work premises? If so, then it is a good idea to look back through these, as sometimes these can help you to work out the less obvious risks.
Non-routine activities are also incredibly important – as these may also open up other possible risks in the workplace.
Non-routine operations include things such as contract cleaning, changes in duties or general maintenance.
As well as looking at the immediate dangers, think about long-term hazards, such as asbestos, dangerous chemicals, damp or noise levels.
Essentially, you want to carry out a general assessment of the building to determine the level of risk that employees may possibly be exposed to.
By effectively reducing the potential hazards associated with your building or occupation, you can reduce the chances of any accidents, lost productivity through ill health and absences, and legal liabilities by making your workplace a much cleaner, safer place to work.