Health & Safety
One of the key things new businesses need to get right
is Health and Safety. Particularly if your business is employing staff, you
need to make sure you know your responsibilities - and the HSE
website is the place to start.
You'll probably find that you need to undertake a risk assessment, if you're not comfortable doing this yourself, you should contact a qualified Health and Safety consultant. You'll need to make sure that any risks have been reduced to a practical minimum first and then if there's any residual risk - you may want to consider installing safety signs. There are many types of health and safety sign - each with a specific warning, protection or prohibition purpose.
If you need help choosing the right type of signs for any given situation - talk to safetysignsupplies on 0845 527 1625. They can't provide safety consultancy, but can help you choose the right signs for your situation.
Health & Safety Law Poster
If you employ anyone, by law you must display a health and safety law poster, or provide each worker with the equivalent pocket card.
To understand why the HSE deems this poster to be so universally important above almost every other safety sign you need to know a little of the history of the organisation.
Since the inception of the 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act and the creation in the same year, of the then Health and Safety Commission - education and communication have had key roles to play. The
Health and Safety Executive (HSE) itself was created in 1975. The HSE's remit was to take the requirements of the Health and Safety Commission and to enforce health and safety legislation in all workplaces, except those regulated by Local Authorities. Over time the responsibilities of the 2 organisations shifted to include other spheres of influence and eventually they merged to form the HSE in it's current guise in 2008. Now the HSE is responsible for both the detail of health and safety regulations in almost every type of environment except the rail industry, and their enforcement across the whole of the UK.
Back in 1999 a universal communication tool was launched in the form of a poster, legally required to be displayed in all workplaces. This Health and Safety Law poster was aimed directly at employees. The purpose being to both inform workers of their rights under the Health and Safety at work act and to make sure they're aware of their obligations under this law.
In 2009 a new version of this poster was published. Employers and those responsible for health and safety signs in workplaces have until 2014 to update the poster on display in their facilities. Despite this allowable changeover period, some disreputable companies have tried to use 'elf and safety scare tactics to encourage sales of the new version. This revised poster has been designed to be more visually appealing than the old version - in the hope that more people will actually read it.
The poster is split into 4 main sections:
1. The first is about what employers must do for you as an employee. This section contains information about what employers are expected or required to do to make sure any risks to health and safety at work are properly controlled. It also informs workers about the type of measures that might be taken by an employer to reduce the risks - like using safety signs.
2. The second covers what you must do. In this section the responsibilities of an employee are explained. This includes doing things like following any training which has been given, taking reasonable care and helping to identify risks that are not adequately controlled.
3. In the third section the poster explains what to do if there's a problem. This part gives information of who should be informed and how to escalate, including directly to the HSE, this if the problem is not resolved.
4. The last section provides specific contact information - for Health and Safety Representatives in the workplace and externally.
If you're a UK business and you don't currently display an HSE Health and Safety Law poster - you almost certainly should. If you've got the old (1999 brown) version - don't let anyone tell you it needs to be changed until 2014. If you're unsure about whether you need to display a poster - contact the HSE directly. If you do need to buy one - they're available from a choice of safety sign and safety equipment suppliers or from the HSE direct.
ISO. A Minefield to the Uninitiated – “The ISO Virgin”
Most start-ups need some certification to give them the credentials to compete with established companies - so this is a warning against some of the Cowboys out there that can rip-off the uninitiated.
Health & Safety Tips. Health and Safety Minefield?
If the thought of sorting health and safety out for your business is giving you a headache, you are not alone.