Published On: Fri, Aug 7th, 2015

Workplace Health And Safety: Has It Improved In The Last 20 Years?

When we go to work, we expect to do our jobs without suffering any injuries in the process. For the most part, that statement is valid. But, there are some occasions where accidents occur, and people get hurt.

On a brighter note, statistics shows that workplace injuries have dropped in the past 20 years. There’s no denying stricter government regulation of health and safety standards played a part. The statistics also show that employers are doing more to keep their workers safe.

Safety instructions

So, what is it that company figureheads are doing to ensure the safety of their employees? It turns out there are quite a few things:

Risk assessments

One of the primary ways to check the safety of any workplace is to carry out a risk assessment. In a nutshell, that means identifying any existing or potential safety hazards.

Examples include:

  • Loose, damaged or worn electrical wiring;
  • Gas pipes and fittings that are faulty or leaking;
  • Poor or damaged lighting in the workspace;
  • Trip and fall hazards, in particular for office and workshop environments; and
  • Inadequate safety barriers when using heavy machinery.

As you can imagine, there is quite a lot for an employer to check. Especially if the workplace premises is a large one! Some companies prefer to hire third parties to carry out the risk assessments for them.

It’s important they get done on a frequent basis rather than once a year, for example. Safety hazards can occur at any time, and without warning.

Safety products

Once a risk gets carried out, it is likely you will identify the need for one or more safety products. Let’s say that you often have people carrying out maintenance work on the roof of your building. You may need to consider getting a fall arrest system installed.

Do you run a factory? If so, your risk assessment could flag up the fact you don’t have enough fire extinguishers. The machines your workers use may need a safety cutoff installed for emergency use.

As you can see, it is crucial you have the best safety products for the job available to use if the need arises.

Training

Last, but not least, all workers need to have an appropriate level of training for their work. Let’s imagine a scenario where you operate a factory. Your workers have to use machines that cut raw materials like steel and wood each day.

A cutting lathe or similar device might appear simple to operate on first glance. But, what happens if a new staff member uses such a machine? And what if they have never used one before? The risk of injury or even death is high because that person hasn’t had any training!

When you get new staff in your company, it is vital you have a proper training plan in place for them. You should not allow them to use the tools of their trade until they can show they are competent enough to do so.

Risk assessments, safety products and training, are the main areas that improve workplace safety.