21 February, 2011
A blog by Nick Hunkin, Senior Client Service Manager for Safety
Revolution Ltd and Dairy Management Systems.
In winter the risk of accidents - especially those associated
with slips, trips and falls - dramatically increases. Even in
the most regulated of situations, the risk of accidents can never
be totally avoided but statistics show that organisations which
take health and safety seriously - for example monitoring and
assessing risks, introducing safe working practices and training
their staff in good safety practice - enjoy a vastly reduced
incidence of accidents, both great and small, and minimal risk of
legal action from enforcing organisations like the HSE.
Health and safety applies to all businesses including those
employing contractors and self-employed people - ignorance is
never a defence in a court of law. All employers must make
provision for the health and safety of their employees. This
includes a safety policy which should be relevant to the
organisation's activities and be up to date. The safety policy
should include the following;
- Risk assessments - a documented record of the specific risks
associated with a task or activity within a job of work.
- First aid arrangements - Regulation 3 of the Health and Safety
(First Aid) Regulations 1981 (Code of Practice) states "an employer
shall provide, or ensure that there is provided, such number of
suitable persons as is adequate and appropriate in the
circumstances for rendering first aid to his employees if they are
injured or become ill at work".
- Fire and emergency arrangements including fire risk assessments
Associated with the above are safe working practices -
documented safety instructions detailing how to go about a specific
task or activity each time it is undertaken, for instance driving a
tractor or operating a chain saw.
Where organisations are dealing with potentially dangerous
chemicals, a COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health)
policy and risk assessment should also be put into place.
In the event of a serious accident or fatality, providing all
the above has been well documented and kept up to date, the
employer can then demonstrate that maximum due diligence had been
applied and that everything possible had been done to avoid the
incident. This should avoid avoid potentially distressing and
costly litigation and all the ramifications associated with
it. The employer will also be able to give their liability
insurer a much stronger hand when it comes to defending potential
employee or public liability claims against them.
Nick Hunkin is a Senior
Client Service Manager for Safety Revolution Ltd and Dairy
Management Systems - a specialist national company providing a
complete health and safety service exclusively to farms and estates
across the UK. He can be contacted on 07795 385218, or by