Health and safety these days can be a bit of a daunting task, what with ensuring that you have all the necessary documentation in place, as well as training staff. Documentation required includes a range of health & safety risk assessments, covering fire safety, general health and safety, manual handling, workstation or DSE use and many others. |
It's important to be aware that there are two main benefits to having these risk assessments in place. The first benefit- on a practical level, is to reduce the likelihood that harm will occur. For example to prevent someone from tripping over a trailing cable. The second benefit - on a legal level, is to ensure that a legal defence is in place, should a worst-case scenario actually happen.
So, hopefully by having the risk assessment in place, and by following the recommendations made in it, the chances of harm happening will be reduced as far as reasonably practicable. Fire hazards tend to include absence of fire extinguishers, and the favourite... fire doors being wedged open.
Inevitably an accident will eventually happen, even in the safest of working environments. When that happens, if there is an inspection following on from that accident, or if civil or criminal proceedings are entered into, one of the first questions which will be asked is "can we see your risk assessments please?".
Quite sensibly, there is a legal requirement that risk assessments be carried out by a competent person, otherwise the value of the risk assessment will at best be questionable, and at worst be zero. You can either opt to train someone internally to become competent to carry out your risk assessments, or alternatively use an outside consultant.
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