Health and Safety at Work

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The aim of this essay is to investigate the health and safety issues and examine the role of risk assessment and other important policies that should exist in the workplace. “It is estimated that 1.6 million accidents occur each year in the workplace with a cost to the industry of around £700m” (Ref.1). This is why it is hugely necessary to take the rights steps in trying to prevent people from being injured at work. This process is called Health and Safety. Every business has its legal responsibility to work in within Health and Safety rules. These regulation were introduces over 200 years ago, in 1802 in order to protect people from being harmed at work. The first legislation was related to factory work. Its aim was to reduce working hours and take more care of employees. From then onward health and safety legislations have been changing. Over time legislations were being developed to cover more working areas such as offices, railways, shops and buildings. In 1975 Health and Safety Act at Work came to force. Health and Safety Act at Work is the most important piece of legislation. It provides a broad, legal framework of health and safety requirements at the workplace. Health and Safety at Work Act applies to every type of employment. It puts general responsibilities on employers as well as on employees. Employers’ main responsibility is a duty of care towards their employees and the people who visit the place. This must be done by ensuring a safe environment and providing all important information and training for the staff. Although the main responsibility relies on employers, Health and Safety Act at Work states that employees are also required to take care of their selves and other peoples’ safety. It is also their responsibility to inform managers about any accidents or spotted danger. The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 aims to improve already set up regulations by providing the standardised way of assessing health and safety at the workplace. This is called a risk assessment. A risk assessment is a careful examination of the working environment in order to identify hazards- anything with a potential to cause harm, risks- the likelihood of the hazard causing harm and the consequences if it does and take steps to reduce them. When doing a risk assessment five steps should be followed. As a first step employers should concentrate on identifying hazards that could occur in the particular environment. They can do this by walking around the workplace. It is also important to look at the previous accident records which can provide details of difficult to see dangerous areas. It may be useful to ask staff whether they are aware of anything else that could harm. Step two requires employers to consider all the groups of people that might be harmed by those hazards and decide how that could happen and what are the injuries that could occur. Having decided about existing hazards, employers should look at the controls measures that are already in place and try to think what can be done in order to improve them. Having done that it is crucial to record all the findings in risk assessment layout. It is very important in order to provide a safe environment for everyone at the workplace. It is also necessary for your business whatever size it is. Even if the workplace employ less than five employees which means they do not have a legal requirement to write anything down, it may be very useful to do so as it will enable to review it after time. Step five continues with the risk assessment and requires employers to review their findings so they can stay updated. It is important as after time many changes at the workplace will occur. New equipment or floor surfaces may be a potentially dangerous so that the adjustments to the risk assessment should be made. As my assignment requires me to perform a risk assessment I would like to focus on the restaurant environment. Restaurants and kitchens...
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