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Knowledge Share: 5 Ways to improve safety for your organisation this year

Jan 16, 2023

Firstly, Happy New Year from JCH Safety. Let’s hope it will be a great year and one where your staff and business stay safe!

Good health and safety should be the primary objective of all organisations. Whether you run a business, a school or college or a charitable body, make safety your number one priority for 2023.

Accidents damage lives, business reputation and can lead to prosecution. To help you to ensure your business is in a good, safe order, we have 5 key safety practices to help you to get started:

1. Review polices, procedures and risk assessment

Health and safety policies, procedures and risk assessments should be subject to a regular review. This should happen at least annually, or if there is a significant change to your organisation such as a new business practice or premises. When reviewing your health and safety policy and risk assessments, it is important to ensure that they are suitable and sufficient. This means ensuring all significant risks are identified, that safety measures are put in place, and that suitable policies and procedures are created to manage the risks. Many organisations have generic policies in place which don’t manage risk properly. It is important to have a health and safety policy in place which is a robust, specific document that details how to manage safety. Risk assessment is a skill. Chartered safety practitioners, such as JCH Safety, spend years studying risk management and the law to ensure we understand how to manage risk. When you are preparing and reviewing risk management, you should consult a competent person. This is someone with the relevant skills, knowledge, and experience to assess risk. The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, informs organisations to seek competent safety advice from such a person as a Chartered Health and Safety Practitioner. If you do not have access to a competent safety adviser, feel free to contact JCH Safety to see how we can help you manage your health and safety.

2. Ensure statutory compliance is up to date

By law, you must manage health and safety compliance. This includes ensuring your statutory duties are carried out. Employers have a variety of statutory duties to manage risk. These include a duty to manage the risk from asbestos, legionella, fire, dust, noise, construction hazards and so on. The list is extensive and different industries have different risks and statutory duties for compliance. A health and safety professional can help you to manage compliance. It can involve arranging an asbestos survey to be carried out; for lifts and machinery to be serviced; for water hygiene tests to be carried out amongst other things. You should have a compliance matrix in place indicating what servicing and testing is required, the frequency, action points and compliance information. Nearly all organisations should have regular portable appliance testing (PAT), and five-year fixed wiring inspections. If you have gas, the installation should be serviced at least annually. So, compliance is important for both low risk environments such as an office but also for more complex environments such as a chemical plant or warehousing unit. Compliance requirements should be indicated within the organisations risk assessments and within the health and safety policy. If you haven’t reviewed your compliance recently, now is a great time to start. Failure to satisfy compliance can lead to accidents and ill health ranging from a fall from height to asbestosis.

3. Train your team

The best way to ensure your team work safely is to make sure they are trained. Depending on your risks, depends on the extent of training your team need to work safely. All environments have risks. Whether you work offshore on an oil or gas rig, in a school or an office there are real risks that impact people’s safety and health. Employers must protect staff by making sure they have the necessary skills, knowledge, and experience to undertake the tasks expected of them. You should keep a training matrix detailing the risks, the personnel, and the required training to keep them safe. This can include a need for asbestos awareness training , level 2 food safety for catering , and display screen equipment awareness training to mention just a few. JCH Safety provides a variety of third party accredited online safety training courses to help keep people safe at work. Why not check it out to find out more about how we can help? Your risk assessment should detail the training requirements and you should have systems in place for monitoring it is done and refreshed at regular intervals. JCH Safety can help you determine your needs and to equip you with the required training.

4. Arrange a health and safety audit

There is an old saying which is ‘what gets measured, gets done.’ Health and safety audits measure health and safety performance and identify areas where improvements to safety are required. They are a great way to improve safety in a business, school, or organisation. When we carry out health and safety audits, we nearly always identify faults with an organisation’s health and safety management system. We can then work with the business to rectify the fault(s) and hopefully to prevent a possible accident that could have happened. We often carry out health and safety audits for companies and other organisations, who have never had one before. Our clients report how useful they find the audit process and how much they learn about the practical application of safety to their individual organisation. Whether you need a school health and safety audit, for a medical practice or a health and safety audit for a business, we can help. During the audit process we assess health and safety policies, procedures, risk assessment, training needs, documentation, compliance and more. We help organisations to see where they are doing well and to put together a workable and achievable action list for companies who might have a variety of faults. It is really satisfying for us to work with a new client to help them see where they are going wrong and to help them successfully improve safety compliance. When we audit an organisation, we give them a percentage result which we refer to as the initial baseline. It is the starting point. For some organisations they initially achieve less than 40% compliance. It is great to work with them and see their audit results climb over a couple of years of working with them to over 80% compliance. The measured approach is great for business KPIs. It helps improvements to be noticeable and measured, and then when compared to accident statistics, there is usually a corresponding decrease in accidents as compliance increases. Start 2023 off with a health and safety audit and see how much you can improve your organisation over the next 12 months.

5. Carry out a fire risk assessment

Our final suggestion of how to improve safety is to check to see if your fire risk assessment is in date. This should be carried out annually. If your fire risk assessment has not been reviewed in the last 12 months, or if you do not have a fire risk assessment, this should be carried out by a competent fire risk assessor. A competent fire risk assessor can be found by identifying someone who is third part accredited. JCH Safety only use third party accredited fire risk assessors. This assures our clients that we have the necessary skills, knowledge, and experience, backed up by suitable insurance, to complete your fire risk assessment for you. Fire risk assessments are required by law. Fire is one of the biggest risks to life of all business risks. Each year dozens of businesses across the UK suffer catastrophic fires which destroy businesses, close schools and worst of all, cost lives. Good fire risk assessment saves lives, prevents fires from starting and equips staff and the public with the ability to safety evacuate a property. If you require assistance with your fire risk assessment, please let JCH Safety help.

We hope that you find the above ideas to be helpful. If you require any assistance with safety, please do not hesitate to get in touch.