“Happy New Year to all of our customers, I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and your heads aren’t too sore from all of your New Year celebrations. I want to personally thank you for your continued support throughout 2019, our nineteenth year in business has been our most successful year ever which is fantastic as we head into 2020 and celebrate our 20 Anniversary, more details to follow! I feel extremely proud of the hard work that the team have put into our training and consultancy activities over the past year. We’ve welcomed a number of new staff into the business, increased our portfolio of training courses and customers subscribing to our retained consultancy service. We very much look forward to working with you in the coming year.”
Danny Street, Director
With January now upon us you’ve, probably, already heard the traditional resolutions from friends, family and co-workers. Get fit, eat less, save more, do more, quit a habit… etc. etc. etc.
But what about your business new year resolutions, in particular, some resolutions regarding your health and safety practices?
We don’t mean having to start your health & safety management program from scratch, but rather to take a fresh look at your overall health and safety practices to keep safety top of mind for your business over the coming year.
10 New Year Health & Safety Resolutions
- Check your first aid kit
The BS 8599-1 standard (published in June 2011) can be used as a guide to check which type of first aid kit is necessary for your particular workplace. There are four sizes: small, medium, large and travel-size, although the travel-size kits are for one person only.
It’s not a legal requirement to have this first aid kit, however we do feel the contents are often better suited to most businesses compared to ‘standard’ first aid kits
Here’s a guide to determine which one is right for you.
Low Risk – Offices and shops
- Number of employees – Less than 25
First aid kit size – Small
- Number of employees – 25-100
First aid kit size – Medium
- Number of employees – More than 100
First aid kit size – Large (1 Kit per 100 employees)
High Risk – Factories, warehouses and construction
- Number of employees – Less than 5
First aid kit size – Small
- Number of employees – 5-25
First aid kit size – Medium
- Number of employees – More than 25
First aid kit size – Large (1 Kit per 25 employees)
There is no mandatory list of items to be included in a first-aid kit, however, our suggestion for a low-risk environment would be;
- Medium & large sterile dressings
- Assorted plasters
- Triangular bandages
- Safety pins
- Sterile eye pads
- Disposable gloves
- Alcohol free cleansing wipes
- Adhesive tape
- Non stick dressings
- Resuscitation face shield with valve
- Tuff cut scissors
- Test your fire alarms and extinguishers
In addition to external fire alarm system maintenance, we encourage ALL customers to regularly check their fire detection system, where fitted.
Regular checks should include:
- Make sure the power supply is in good working order – if it’s battery-operated, consider replacing the batteries every few months
- Testing (and recording) checks of the alarm on a weekly basis, we would always advise testing several call points at a time on a rolling programme and ensuring your alarm can be heard in all areas of the premises
- Where fitted ensure hold open devices on fire doors are operating correctly
- If linked to an alarm centre, confirm that they have received an alarm
Finally, if anything isn’t working as it should be, get it looked at.
- Practice an evacuation drill
Fire drills are a vital part of workplace safety and essential to evaluate staff and evacuation procedures. Unfortunately, many see them as an inconvenience to the working day and they are often greeted with sighs as people slowly shuffle towards the nearest fire exit. Holding at least one fire drill annually is a legal requirement
A fire drill is simply a simulated emergency procedure to emulate the processes which would be undertaken in the event of a fire.
Each business should have ‘the responsible person’ who is in charge of fire drills and evacuations. ‘The responsible person’ could be the owner, line manager or member of staff who is always on-site.
Whilst there are sometimes a number of practical considerations, unannounced fire drills are often the most effective and those we can learn the most from.
During the drill take note of:
- Exits – whether staff leave by the most appropriate exit
- People – do any staff members of customers have any specific fire evacuation needs?
- Signage – check that your fire exit signage is visible and where it needs to be
- Belongings – do the staff stop to collect belongings from lockers and desks
- Process – does everyone know where to go and where to assemble
- Roll Call – do you have a printed list of staff to check off at the meeting point
- Evacuation time – how long did it take to exit the premises
After the drill, record your findings and address any areas which need improving.
Consider whether a fire safety training course would be beneficial or necessary – we can help you with this!
- Check Health and Safety signage
Health and safety signage provides direction about aspects of health and safety in your business and forms part of the measures to control risk in the workplace, keeping your workers safe.
The types of signage needed would cover;
- Warnings – to indicate dangers or hazards
- Prohibition – forbidding actions that can cause harm or increase risk
- Safe Condition Emergency Exits – to clearly signpost escape routes, fire exits the location of first aid supplies and similar
- Mandatory signage – signage instructing on a specific behaviour, for example, PPE signage
UK Health and Safety Law Poster – If you employ anyone, you must either display the health and safety law poster where your workers can easily read it or provide each worker with the equivalent health and safety law leaflet
- If applicable, check all PPE – Personal Protective Equipment
Employers are responsible for the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) and its replacement when it stops affording the wearer adequate protection.
What should require PPE to be replaced?
- The Law – some items of PPE can only be used for a set period of time
- It’s not working as intended – for example filters on RPE need replacing on a regular basis
- Wear and Tear – wear and tear will vary depending on the use, for example, a high viz vest worn in a warehouse won’t need replacing as often as one worn by a labourer. As soon as an item shows signs of wear and tear, it’s probably good to replace it.
- Soiling – with every day use garments, shoes and other PPE equipment will become stained and grubby – even regular washing can fade and degrade clothing. Depending on its specific use, it’s worth replacing it as soon as it’s soiled in any way.
- Physical Damage – if any PPE has any form of damage, it’s quite simple, get it replaced immediately!
- Review/check current qualifications – identify training requirements
Providing adequate health and safety information, instruction and training to all employees, according to their exposure to workplace hazards, is a legal requirement.
Information, instruction and training can take many different workplace tours, reading policies, meetings, face to face discussion and formal training courses can all form part of this. Most importantly we always advise cusatomers to keep a written record of ALL staff training, however provided
Depending on the area of health and safety, certification needs to be renewed from time to time. For some, a refresher course is recommended annually, for others it might be every three years.
Take stock of the people in your business that hold specific health and safety certification and identify anyone who may need a refresher course.
With over 60 different courses including a range of accredited programmes, bespoke courses and e-learning we have the right course for you and your staff.
- Keep up to date with legislation
If you choose to manage your own health and safety, you’ll need to stay up to date with any legislation that applies to your business. To ensure compliance with your legal duties, you need access to someone who is competent, something you can do yourself particularly if your business is lower risk.
Consequently, it’s worth considering getting support with health and safety so that you can concentrate your attention and expertise on what you do.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) provides endless information and advice to employers via its website.
Alternatively, you can sign up to our monthly ‘In a Nutshell’ which covers any important changes to legislation.
On the other hand, talk to us!
Acorn has nearly 20 years’ experience and a team of qualified and experienced consultants specialising in a wide range of subjects including food safety, healthcare, event management, the construction industry, fire safety and asbestos.
With experience comes a practical approach and importantly the recognition that health and safety needs to complement day to day business activities.
We pride ourselves in our grounded and pragmatic approach and work with businesses to keep them and their staff safe with our ‘Hassle-Free’ consultancy service.
- Risk Assessments
From time to time, it’s worth reviewing your risk assessments. Check to see if there have been any significant changes in activities or whether there are areas that need improvement.
Risk assessments aren’t necessary for every single activity in the workplace, but you should carry out an assessment where the work presents a risk of injury or ill-health. Remember, if you employ five or more people, you also need to record your risk assessment.
Acorn Health and Safety have considerable expertise and experience undertaking a wide variety of risk assessments across a number of different business sectors. In addition to general assessments, this includes DSE, fire, manual handling, patient handling (including complex needs assessment), machinery and equipment, events and first aid to name but a few!
Should you require an assessment for an individual member of staff, a particular area of practice or an entire organisation we can help.
- Review your Health & Safety policies
When last did you review or update your health and safety policies? We advise customers to review their policy annually.
If there have been any significant changes in activities it might be time to make sure the current policy still applies.
A written health and safety policy is required if you have five or more employees. As well as communicating your commitment to health & safety and the legal obligations to your staff, it also should define who is responsible and how health & safety is managed within the business.
If you’d rather hand this to the experts, get in touch with us to discuss our ‘Hassle-Free’ consultancy service which includes the review and creation of health and safety policies.
- Get your staff on-board
One of the biggest challenges you face is getting employees and management, the two primary influences on safety culture, to buy into the value of workplace safety.
Let’s be honest, getting your staff excited about health and safety may be a little ambitious! However, research has shown that businesses that promote and encourage a culture of safety reduce the costs associated with workplace injuries and illnesses by up to 40 per cent.
Involve all employees in all things health and safety-related and take any feedback seriously. You could even offer incentives and rewards for reducing accidents and incidents across the year.
If you are interested in finding out more about what Acorn Health and Safety can do for your business, give us a call on 0117 958 2070, or you prefer e-mail email us: firstname.lastname@example.org