Last reviewed 3 October 2018

Over the past month, the most popular health and safety queries to our dedicated helpline have involved health and safety legislation, policies and welfare. The welfare of employees should always be a focus point for employers, though an increase in queries of this nature are to be expected as we approach World Mental Health Day (10 October). For advice on these topics or any other health and safety queries, speak to a qualified consultant on 0844 561 8149.

Legislation

The vast and varied subject of health and safety is supported by a large amount of existing legislation. From COSHH to RIDDOR, laws are in place to protect employees and employers, reduce risk, and set out the correct management of incidents should they occur.

Every employee is entitled to work in an environment where risks to their health and safety are properly controlled. It is an employer’s responsibility to ensure a safe work space, which legislation can help to explain and navigate.

Most, if not all, workplace activities will touch upon one piece of legislation or another, including using display screen equipment, working overtime, using staff toilets, regular breaks, and so on. It is therefore essential for employers to understand their position in terms of legislation and manage their responsibilities correctly.

All our subject-specific topics clarify the requirements of the key legislation relating to that work activity or issue. In addition, certain topics focus on the main health and safety legislation in more detail, such as the Health and Safety at Work, etc Act 1974, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 or the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007.

Policies

Every workplace, regardless of size, sector, or industry, should have a health and safety policy. No workplace, no matter how risk-free it may seem, can afford to ignore health and safety legislation. Having up-to-date policies is crucial for preventing workplace accidents and injuries, and should promote employee wellbeing throughout your organisation.

Should the worst happen, you will be left in a position where you are protected from unfair claims, and can prove you took every possible step to prevent the incident from occurring. Our Health and Safety Policy topic includes a template policy that you can customise for your organisation.

Workplace transport

The use of vehicles is prevalent in many different workplaces across the UK. Whether it is driving a forklift on a construction site, negotiating loading equipment in a warehouse, or travelling to an appointment in a company car, vehicle safety is vital.

Workplace transport poses a whole host of health and safety issues which need to be properly addressed and reviewed regularly. We also have a wealth of information and guidance on Occupational Road Risk.

Welfare

You have a duty to ensure the welfare of your employees at work. Providing a safe and healthy environment will also help to motivate your workforce. Welfare and wellbeing at work covers a multitude of considerations, including: temperature, workspace, facilities, environment, vulnerable workers, and legal duties.

One of the most common queries on the helpline this month has questioned whether or not there is a maximum temperature in the workplace. Simply put, there is no maximum temperature, but employers must exercise their duty of care towards their employees.

Asbestos

Asbestos can be found in any building built before the year 2000 (houses, factories, offices, schools, hospitals, etc) and causes around 5000 deaths every year.

From knowing how to identify asbestos to conducting risk assessments, it is best practice for at least an employer to have some level of asbestos training for the benefit of a workforce and workplace.

It is also important to remember that if an employee is liable to be exposed to asbestos, then employers should provide that employee with adequate personal protective clothing appropriate for the work they will be doing.

Occupational health

Keeping your team healthy and happy at work is one of your primary responsibilities as an employer. A physically and mentally healthy workforce will produce the best results for your company, and will reward you in return. We have a whole section on Occupational Health and Wellbeing.

The risks faced by your employees will depend on their job role and the industry you work in. An office worker will be exposed to far fewer and lower risks than an individual working on the factory floor.

To discuss an occupational health issue in more detail, or for any other health and safety advice, speak with a qualified health and safety consultant on 0844 561 8149.