The 2005 Safety, Health & Welfare Act supplemented and improved the legislation laid out in the Health & Safety at Work Act of 1974. Despite these laws, there were 0.6 million non-fatal workplace accidents and 144 fatalities in Great Britain in 2017-18. Apart from the impact on the victims and their families, not abiding by the rules has a financial cost. The latest statistics show that work-related accidents and health issues led to over 30 million lost working days at a cost of £15 billion.
What are the responsibilities of an employer?
Existing legislation stipulates that the employer is responsible for providing and maintaining a safe and healthy work environment. They have to provide appropriate training for their employees and all necessary protective clothing and equipment. Employers must ensure that they take measures to prevent any incidents of bullying, harassment or any improper behaviour which would have an impact on colleagues. They should also put a complaints procedure in place and ensure employees are informed about it.
Finally, a risk assessment should be carried out to pinpoint possible dangers, who is at risk and what can be done to reduce the risks. Although there are no set times when the risk assessment should be carried out, it is highly recommended that it is re-evaluated whenever new procedures and/or equipment are introduced into the workplace.
Although the British Chamber of Commerce often complains about the extra financial burden for employers of abiding by legislation, it is crucial for all businesses – whatever their size. Not only are there hefty fines for non-compliance, but it might be impossible to take out business insurance. If you face problems paying for all the safety equipment and implementing all the necessary regulations, Cashfloat direct lender are able to give you a helping hand.
Where can you find out about health & safety issues?
The Health & Safety Executive is responsible for informing employers about their responsibilities towards their workforce. They have a wealth of material and resources on their website including posters, leaflets, pocket cards, newsletters, DVDs and interactive material, many of which are completely free. They also have case studies relating to specific sectors such as factories and shops which can be particularly helpful for those setting up a new business.
The Health & Safety Executive are also in the process of delivering health and safety reform in the relatively new issue of work-related stress. They estimate that 44% of all work-related health issues and 57% of all lost working days – across all industries – are because of stress. Their ‘Talking Toolkit’ gives expert advice about tackling this problem from putting in place preventative measures to encouraging workers to start a dialogue about why they are struggling and offering support.