The number of health and safety queries to our helpline rose this month, with new topics such as policies, fire, and first aid emerging (or, rather, re-emerging). For advice on these or any other health and safety issue, speak with a qualified consultant on 0844 561 8149.
1. Accidents (stays the same)
If an accident occurs in the workplace, it is your duty as an employer to decide whether it needs to be reported. If it is the sort of incident that should be reported and you do not inform the relevant enforcing authority (the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) or local authority), you could be breaking the law.
The HSE requires every employer to report certain types of incidents. These include:
fatalities due to the work activity
fractures other than to the fingers, thumb or toes
dangerous situations, eg a building collapse or some gas leaks
any injury that prevents an employee working for seven days or longer
For detailed information and advice, see the Accident Reporting topic.
2. Legislation (up 1 place)
The situation surrounding the UK’s exit from the EU is no clearer now than it was a year ago, and is causing huge headaches for businesses trying to ensure their resilience in the future.
The general consensus is that, due to the Health and Safety at Work, etc Act 1974 and enabling legislation made under it, such as the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, the UK has a strong enough body of domestic legislation to ensure that Brexit will not greatly impact the basics of health and safety management.
See also our recent feature, Chemical hazard communication post-Brexit.
3. Policies (NEW)
It’s important to regularly review and update your health and safety policies.
A health and safety policy indicates an organisation’s commitment to health and safety. There is a legal requirement for an organisation to have a health and safety policy, but the size and scope of the documentation for it can range from a single simple statement to detailed sets of manuals. Remember, organisations employing five or more people are required by law to maintain their policy in writing.
The Health and Safety Policy topic contains everything you need to know to create, maintain and review your policy.
4. Fire (NEW)
A fire risk assessment is a methodical look at an organisation’s premises, work activities, fire safety management, the risk of fire, and the harm it could do. Existing fire safety measures are then evaluated to establish if they are adequate, or if more is required to be done.
This is a legal requirement. See Fire Risk Assessment for the steps that need to be taken.
5. First Aid (NEW)
With the idea of mental health first aiders growing in popularity, it is worth understanding the concept and considering the potential benefits for your organisation.
As we know, your regular first aiders provide immediate treatment to injured employees. Mental health first aid works in the same way. But rather than learning to dress a wound or give CPR, mental health first aid is often the first port of call for those suffering with stress, depression and anxiety.
The first aider spots early signs that their colleagues are suffering from mental health issues, and provides a friendly ear and signposts professional help to prevent serious harm and long-term sickness.
Unlike physical first aid, there’s currently no requirement to appoint mental health first aiders; so you’re free to decide if they are right for your business. Our Mental Health Toolkit is a good starting point.
Advice from Croner
To discuss the above issues in more detail, or for any other health and safety advice, please call a qualified health and safety consultant on 0844 561 8149.
Last reviewed 24 June 2019