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Protecting your staff - what are your responsibilities?

9th December 2018 Print

All employers have a responsibility to protect their staff in the workplace when it comes to health and safety. This includes providing the right training and risk assessments and ensuring employees have the right workwear for their role. There are many things that employers should be doing to protect their staff, and all of these are outlined in the Health and Safety Law, which is continually updated. Here is a simple guide on how to follow that law as an employer to protect your staff from any risks within your workplace. 

Appropriate Workwear

Work clothing is one of the first things to think about if your business has anything to do with manual labour. This can be anything from plumbers to home delivery drivers - anyone at risk needs to be provided with workwear clothing suitable for their job. There are lots of safety workwear options out there, and companies like engelbert strauss have safety wear for every type of occupation. 

The correct protective clothing means the world of difference in regards to the safety of your employees. This can be everything from jackets to boots and hard hats. The work clothing on engelbert strauss is of the upmost quality and is affordable even for smaller businesses. All of their safety clothing has comfort and style in mind, coming in a variety of sizes and colours. 

Work attire needs to be both comfortable and ready for any weather and the workwear that engelbert strauss provides is perfect for British weather. Their clothing and boots are waterproof, which is incredibly important for any workers that will be spending the majority of their working day outdoors. They also have everything from high vis jackets to worker jeans. 

Health and Safety Training

Providing all workers with health and safety training is vital. This not only allows them to know what measures they should take to protect themselves, but it also makes it clear what is expected of them in the workplace too. All new workers should be provided with appropriate health and safety training from manual handling to what to do in case of a fire.  

There are many health and safety training courses approved by the British Safety Council that workplaces can use. These are great for employers that are not sure what needs to be covered, as providing the correct training is vital if you do not want a lawsuit on your hands.  This is a good reminder for you as an employer too, as keeping up to date with training is as important for you as an employer as it is for employees. 

Although health and safety is often thought of as protecting you from physical harm, do not forget to include training for difficult circumstances that your employees may face. This is particularly important in healthcare settings where staff should be provided with the training to face conflict and difficult conversations. 

Planning and Prevention

All employers must have a health and safety policy for their business if they have more than five members of staff working for them. It is always good practice to have one, even for start-ups who only have two or three workers because, as the company grows, you will be required to have one by law. Writing a health and safety policy can be difficult, but assessing each risk within the workplace and adding an appropriate response to this is a good place to start. You may also want to get another person to check through this in case you have missed anything.

A copy of your health and safety policy should be available to all employees at all times. The risks identified should then be prevented as much as possible. This means ensuring the workplace is clutter-free, making sure that fire exits are always clear, and having the right signposting if an emergency were to happen. In offices, trip hazards are a big health and safety risk, as there tends to be lots of wires from various electronics. 

Employers should also have a log book in which to record any accidents. This helps to spot anything untoward that may be causing unnecessary accidents. All employees should also be risk assessed before working a machine or taking on a new role, as this minimises risks even further. There are many circumstances in which an employee should be newly risk assessed, such as newly pregnant mothers, but all of this can be found in the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (MHSW)

Knowing your part to play in health and safety as an employer means the chance of accidents is greatly reduced. Overall, you have a responsibility to your employees to keep them safe from harm, whether this is physical or emotional. Health and safety begins with you, and this should be something that is assessed regularly. Providing training, the correct safety workwear and assessing risks is a start in implementing good health and safety practices in your workplace.