Health and safety should always be a priority for employers, not least because it’s your legal duty to provide a safe and healthy working environment for employees. But also, by applying the appropriate health and safety policies and procedures you can reduce the number of work related accidents and injuries, as well as save your company from facing potential legal prosecution and personal injury claims.
However, maintaining good health and safety practice isn’t just a one off process, it requires continuous upkeep and assessment. As part of the process, you should regularly carry out risk assessments and put preventative measures in place, but more importantly you also need to communicate the risks, measures and training to your staff
To ensure your staff stay up to date with the latest health and safety concerns and processes within your business there are four key times you should be talking to them about health and safety.
First and foremost, any newcomer to the workplace should always be given a thorough health and safety briefing, regardless of their experience. Preparing a constructive health and safety induction protocol will ensure workers recognise and understand the inherent risks posed to them in the workplace. It will also ensure they know the correct procedures, such as the use of fire extinguishers or specialist equipment, as well as ensuring they are aware of their personal responsibility to adhere to health and safety guidelines and report any health and safety concerns.
Following on from this, another important time to talk health and safety with your staff is when a potential risk or hazard has been identified within the workplace. This could be anything from a change in operational procedures that highlights a new unforeseen risk, lapses in the use of safety equipment, or general wear and tear of machinery or other work related equipment. Making sure your staff know they must report risks they become aware of, as well as communicating these risks to every staff member involved will help to encourage an open culture and show that as an employer you are acting on their concerns.
When an incident occurs
The other key time that you must talk health and safety with workers is in the unfortunate event where an incident occurs. Whether it’s through human error, machinery failure or other circumstances, it’s incredibly important to get to the route of why the incident occurred. This is not only vital for understanding what went wrong and where, but it also helps with putting preventative measures in place to protect workers in the future. Furthermore it will also help to identify any training needs for staff on best practices for health and safety.
Finally, a key aspect of maintaining good health and safety practice in the workplace comes with training. To ensure your staff and your workplace stay up to date with health and safety, they should undergo regular training, whether this is from a general perspective or more role specific training courses.