Guest Blog | How to Design Good Health and Safety Practices into Your Workplace

By Danny Sefton | Content Writer | defibshop

All employers have legal responsibilities to ensure a healthy and safe workplace for their employees. This is set out in the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and in other pieces of legislation, stating that all businesses – no matter how small – are responsible for the safety and wellbeing of their employees, who are entitled to work in environments where risks to their health and safety are carefully controlled.

Health-and-safety management is part of your ongoing business management. To help ensure the future success of your business and the wellbeing of those who work within your organisation, we’ve put together some useful information on what these responsibilities are and how you can meet them.

Collaboration in action

Know Your Health-and-Safety Responsibilities

As an employer, it’s your duty to provide an environment – for you, all of your employees (including homeworkers and part-time or temporary workers), contractors, and visitors – that meets all necessary health-and-safety requirements. It is also your responsibility to...

  • Provide the right work equipment and make sure that it is properly used and regularly maintained
  • Provide up-to-date information on the hazards and risks that may cause harm at workplace, the measures in place to control any risks to injury or health, and how to follow emergency procedures
  • Provide free health-and-safety training that is up to date, relevant, and effective
  • Provide health supervision as needed – especially with new, inexperienced, and/or young employees
  • Carry out regular health-and-safety risk assessments to address all risks that might cause harm in the workplace
  • Have a health-and-safety policy and, if you have more than five employees, make sure that it documents your commitment to managing their health and safety at the workplace
  • Display the health-and-safety law poster and make sure it’s visible to all employees and visitors
  • Provide a safety sign where there’s a risk that can't be removed or adequately controlled by any other means
  • Provide adequate first-aid facilities and display notices that clearly direct your employees to where your first aid kits are kept in case of emergency
  • Have emergency signs and emergency plans that are properly recorded and rehearsed
  • Appoint a ‘competent person’ with health-and-safety responsibilities – usually one of the owners in smaller firms, or a member of staff who is fully trained in health and safety
  • Report certain accidents, injuries, diseases, and dangerous occurrences to the relevant authorities immediately, and follow up with a written notification within ten days, depending on the type of business
  • Record all injuries to employees and accidents where the victims are unable to work for more than three consecutive days

If you’re an employee and you have specific queries or concerns regarding health and safety in your workplace, you should talk to your employer, your line manager/supervisor, or a health-and-safety representative.   

Planning in action

Health and Safety by Design

As an employer, it’s important to note that ergonomic hazards can not only affect the employees’ health, but you can also suffer slower productivity, lower employee morale, and potentially higher disability and insurance claims.

One of the first steps to minimising ergonomic hazards in the workplace is by having a properly designed and functional work-space. Workplace hazards are hard to spot, because employees don’t always immediately notice the strain on their bodies, or the harm that they can pose. While short-term damages from working in a poorly designed work-space can be something as minimal as ‘sore muscles’ for a day or two, prolonged exposure to such workspace can result in much more damaging illnesses.

Style and aesthetics may be a big priority when designing your office interior, but safety and comfort should be considered equally. You can learn more about how to design a safe and functional office space with Officeinsight.

About the author

This article is written by defibshop: the UK's only independent defibrillator retailer. defibshop is working hard to ensure that businesses across the country are investing in their staff by purchasing defibrillators for their premises.