Health, wealth and happiness!
24 June 2010
Employers have a responsibility to take steps to ensure that their employees, and indeed visitors and even trespassers, are safe on their company premises.Health and safety is a serious matter and rightly so. Statistics published by the Health and Safety Executive suggest that between 2008 and 2009, 24.6 million days were lost due to work-related illnesses and 4.7 million days due to injuries acquired in the workplace (HSE, 2010). But earlier this week, the new coalition government began the process of reviewing health and safety legislation, assigning Lord Young to the proceedings. This is good news for employers (we could sure do with some!) as over the last few years, many employers and business owners have expressed their concerns that over-cautious implementation of UK health and safety legislation has stifled businesses. According to Personnel Today, many employers are fearful that they will be taken to tribunal and held liable for breaching health and safety laws, without even being aware of their breach. Employers have a responsibility to take steps to ensure that their employees, and indeed visitors and even trespassers, are safe on their company premises. The HSE, set up to create and maintain safe working environments in the UK, states that in general, employers must “make the workplace safe and eliminate or control risks to health” and at the same time “give workers the information, instruction, training and supervision necessary for their health and safety” (see http://www.hse.gov.uk/). Every business in the UK must assess the risks in its workplace and write a detailed health and safety policy, as well as displaying the Health and Safety Law poster where it is accessible to all employees. Employers are required to provide basic welfare facilities (such as toilets, drinking water and a comfortable environment in which to work). Of course, different industries and roles have different risks and the idea or “comfortable” can differ greatly depending on the individual and their work environment. For example, an office worker will expect to have a warm, dry place to work with a desk and good lighting; a park warden on the other hand won’t expect to be dry and well-lit, but will need to be kept warm and given appropriate footwear to carry out his job. If you have any concerns or wish to find out more, Russell HR Consulting provides expert knowledge in the practical application of employment law as well as providing employment law training and HR support services. For more information, visit our website at http://www.russellhrconsulting.co.uk/. Russell HR Consulting offers HR services and employment law training to businesses nationwide, including Buckinghamshire (covering Aylesbury, High Wycombe, Milton Keynes, Bedford, Banbury, Northampton, Towcester and surrounding areas), Nottinghamshire (covering Chesterfield, Mansfield, Nottingham, Sheffield, Worksop and surrounding areas) and Hampshire (covering Aldershot, Basingstoke, Reading, Farnborough, Fareham, Portsmouth, Southampton and surrounding areas).