5 Tips to Help Duty Holders Undertake their Health and Safety Responsibilities Effectively
- Make sure you have a health and safety policy which covers how health and safety risks will be managed and by whom. Include a statement of intent signed by a Director or other senior personnel to show the duty holder’s commitment to managing the risks brought about by the work activities. Include information about how you will access competent advice to enable you to carry out your duties properly.
- Undertake risk assessments for all of the work activities to identify hazards within the workplace that could harm employees and others. Work out a plan of how to manage these risks and timescales for doing so. Prioritise significant risk controls first.
- Provide written safe systems of work for employees, which determine how the work should be completed safely. Make sure these state the correct equipment, personal protective equipment and trained personnel needed to do the job correctly.
- Give employees the training they need to do their work in a safe manner. Make it job specific and tailored to the right people.
- Ensure effective communication and consultation with employees. Explain the findings of risk assessments and provide regular briefings or toolbox talks. Ask the views of employees – this can sometimes be the best way to find out about the risks found within the workplace.
Serious accidents can occur when duty holders do not know their health and safety responsibilities and if they fail to carry out their duties accordingly. Don’t let this happen in your workplace.
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When properly used, guarding can be an effective control measure that prevents serious injuries and even deaths in the workplace. Take steps today to ensure that your machinery guards are in place, and they work properly.
- Carry out a risk assessment to establish where dangerous parts of machinery are that could be accessed by workers (this includes all moving parts that could trap, pull in or sever body parts, for example). Fit suitable guards to these areas and ensure they fit properly, with no gaps.
- When installing guarding, make sure it is fixed securely in place, and that workers are not able to remove it unless the work activity requires it, such as during maintenance. Make sure it is part of the job to always replace guarding when finished.
- Develop a checking system to ensure that guarding is in a good condition, and it is secured in place properly. Check that bolts and screws are not worn, and the guard itself has not rusted or become weakened in places.
- Train workers in how to use guards properly, and how to replace them correctly. If putting guards back on is complex, provide written step-by-step instructions for workers to refer to and supervise them doing it. Explain to workers why guarding is used in the first place, and the dangers of removing it without permission.
- Use signage near machinery as a visual prompt, warning workers not to interfere with guards.
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The benefits of taking health and safety seriously at board level include increased productivity, reduced risks and accidents and lower employee absenteeism. Make sure your company practises good health and safety management, which comes from the board down.
Tips to Help Directors Fulfil Their H&S Duties Effectively
- Always lead from the top. Ensure there is active board-level commitment to ensuring effective health and safety management within the company. Put health and safety on the agenda for board meetings, and regularly participate in inspections and walk arounds to demonstrate your involvement.
- Think about health and safety in relation to the business decisions made – it shouldn’t be an afterthought. Make it part of the tender process for all contracts.
- Provide suitable and targeted training for all employees to enable them to do their jobs safely.
- Seek competent health and safety advice, whether that be external or from within the company.
- Monitor, review and audit your company’s health and safety performance regularly. Facilitate the setting up of a health and safety committee if your company doesn’t have one, and ensure the significant risks identified within the business are fed back to director level and acted upon.
- Actively plan your health and safety management system – ensure that suitable and sufficient policies, procedures and risk assessments exist. Provide resources (both personnel and time) for those with health and safety responsibilities to undertake their roles properly.
If you require assistance, please contact us.