Core Skills Health and Safety Reader

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1 Core Skills Health and Safety Reader Health and Safety Reader Dec 2012 Version Dec-12 Page 1 of 9

2 Introduction This Core Skills Framework learning portfolio offers flexibility of delivery for minimum requirements of statutory and mandatory training in the NHS. This reader has been designed to complement the suite of materials for Health & Safety within the Core Skills portfolio. It can be used in conjunction with any of the Core Skills delivery formats. Assessment of the learners can be carried out using either the Written Questions or the Voting Button Assessment. This reader gives staff understanding of the key principles of Health & Safety, and outlines employer individual responsibilities. What you will learn 1. Sources of information about health & safety, including national legislation or guidance and local policies 2. Work place hazards and/or incidents and the need for preventative action 3. Safe working practices 4. Reporting processes for health & safety risks 5. Potential risks involved in work activities and processes 6. Individual responsibility for reporting incidents 7. Correct use of work items provided by your employer Why is this important? During the first decade of this century the major injury rate increased by 21%. Over 1600 workers suffered a major injury because of a slip or trip in 2009/10 and 40% of sickness and absence is due to manual handling injuries. In the NHS injuries caused by needles and other sharp instruments are one of the most common and serious risks facing health workers. Each year more than 40,000 incidents are reported each year and sharps injuries can transmit over 20 serious diseases. Health and Safety Reader Dec 2012 Version Dec-12 Page 2 of 9

3 Sources of information There are many sources of information to help you understand and put health and safety in to practice. You are firstly directed to the Health and Safety Executive website: ww.hse.gov.uk. This site contains everything you should know about Health and Safety. Every workplace should have the HSE law poster on display. This has information you need on a daily basis In 1993 the Health and Safety executive introduced the 6 pack regulations. These are: Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 The Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1992 Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1992 These regulations implement various European Directives on health and safety and also clarify how employers must comply with their duties under the Health and Safety at Work Act (HASAWA) You can also contact your employers HR department and ask for the organizations policies and procedures on Health and Safety of speak to your Health and Safety Officer Health & safety law The law aims to prevent people getting injured or ill at work because of the risks they face there. It encourages high standards of health, safety and welfare in the workplace. It does this by insisting that you have a right to a safe workplace, that your employer must take every opportunity to keep you safe at work and that you also have a responsibility for your own safety. Health and Safety Reader Dec 2012 Version Dec-12 Page 3 of 9

4 Health & safety at work legislation The Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) is the basis of health and safety law in the UK. The Act sets out the general duties which employers have towards employees and members of the public, and employees have to themselves and to each other. The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (the Management Regulations) give a more detailed explanation of what employers are required to do to manage health and safety under the Health and Safety at Work Act. Like the Act, they apply to every work activity. Employer s responsibilities The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 provides general guidelines on the way in which work activities are to be carried out. More detailed guidance is provided through the issue of regulations which also carry the full force of law. It shall be the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his/her employees this quotation from the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) informs employers of their duties under the act. Health and Safety Reader Dec 2012 Version Dec-12 Page 4 of 9

5 Employee s responsibilities The act also sets out legal duties for the employee As an employee: 1. You must safeguard your own health and safety and that of others (e.g. other operatives and members of the public) who may be affected by your actions 2. You must co-operate with your employer to help them comply with their legal duties 3. You must not interfere with anything provided for health and safety. Therefore you have responsibility for yourself and others by acts or omissions. You must cooperate with your employer and you must follow the policies, procedures and instructions your employer has put in place. Management of health & safety at work regulations What the law requires is what would be found in good management practice and common sense. That is, to look at what the risks are and take sensible measures to tackle them. The management regulations are more explicit what employers are required to do to manage health and safety under the Health and Safety at Work Act. The regulations apply to every work activity. First and foremost they must carry out a risk assessment and record any significant risks they find. Risk assessment should be a straight forward practice. It only becomes more complicated if the workplace results in serious hazards i.e. Oil rigs, chemical plants. In complying with the law employers will be putting into practice all health and safety laws and regulations, assessing the risks to which employees are exposed to at work and implementing the general principles of prevention Health and Safety Reader Dec 2012 Version Dec-12 Page 5 of 9

6 Failure to comply with health & safety legislation Both employers and employees face fines and even imprisonment if they fail to implement the correct health and safety duties. Failure may increase the number of complaints and claims for compensation that an organisation receives. This can have a damaging effect on its reputation, credibility and the moral of its workforce. Both individuals and organisations can face: Improvement or Prohibition notices, Prosecution fines and imprisonment. Key definitions Here are the definitions for some key terms used in the context of Health and Safety. Hazard is the potential to cause harm Risk is the likelihood of harm Safe is about being protected from, or not exposed to, danger or risk Competence is about the ability to do something well (perhaps measured against a standard) and is usually acquired through experience or training Significant in terms of risk is the likelihood of something occurring in combination with the magnitude of its impact. Reasonable in the context of health and safety is where the cost of action to control the risk is proportionate to the reduction in the risk. Cost, here, refers to time and effort as well as money Health and Safety Reader Dec 2012 Version Dec-12 Page 6 of 9

7 What is a risk assessment? A Risk Assessment is a systematic method of looking at work activities Identifying hazards that have the potential to cause harm and the associated risks. The Assessment should help you to know and understand the risks in your workplace. It includes controls to eliminate, reduce or minimise the risks. Risk is a part of everyday life and we cannot eliminate all risk but when we know about the main risks that affect us in the workplace we can implement procedures to manage them responsibly. Carrying out a risk assessment There are many various ways of conducting a risk assessment the process below appears on the Health and Safety Executive website and is described as being the most straightforward for most organisations. Step 1 Step 2 Step 3 Step 4 Step 5 Identify the hazards Decide who might be harmed and how Evaluate the risks and decide on precautions Record your findings and implement them Review your assessment and update if necessary You can go to the HSE website at where you will find more information and tips on how to put this method in to practice Health and Safety Reader Dec 2012 Version Dec-12 Page 7 of 9

8 Slips, trips and falls Slip, trip and fall accidents can happen for a number of reasons but, all too frequently, we jump to conclusions about why they happen rather than really looking for the true cause; or we decide that it is just one of those things and do nothing. Statistics show slipping and tripping to be the single most common cause of injuries in UK workplace. They can happen anywhere and are the biggest cause of serious injuries to health care workers, service users and others. In 2007 /8 slips or trips cost 72.4 million and 54% of major injuries in healthcare come from slips or trips many of these injuries result in broken bones! Employers must therefore do all they can to ensure that they do not put people at risk. Preventing slips, trips and falls There are many simple ways of preventing trips, slips and falls. Most are just good management practices, supported by a good deal of common sense. You can reduce your risk tremendously by wearing suitable, sensible footwear. Your personal behaviour also has an impact on your Health and Safety as well as those around you. Make sure you clean up any spillages and report them as laid down in your organisational procedures. Remove and report obstructions and help yourself and your colleagues by keeping walkways and work areas clear. Management should plan and implement effective cleaning schedules and monitor the process to confirm they are carried out. Health and Safety Reader Dec 2012 Version Dec-12 Page 8 of 9

9 Benefits of reporting incidents Employees and employers will find that many benefits accrue when Health and Safety incidents are reported. Both parties will learn for from any incidents and will be able to action ways to prevent or minimise any future occurrence. Reporting brings with it an opportunity to change, working practices or behaviour to make a safer place to work. The recording and maintaining of records of events and actions taken, guarantees compliance with both organisational policies and legislative requirements. Health and Safety Reader Dec 2012 Version Dec-12 Page 9 of 9

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