Think of Health and Safety in a workplace situation and one’s thoughts would most typically focus upon a building site, or some other situation in which danger is commonplace in some respects obvious.
Some jobs are simply risky by nature and yet need still to be performed. Police, fire and ambulance crews take a substantial risk each time they speed through the traffic towards the scene of an incident. Firemen enter burning buildings to save lives, sometimes risking their own. Lifeboat crews venture out in often treacherous waters to rescue people who may have become stranded at sea. In these situations an element of danger comes as part and parcel of the job.
And yet nobody should ever be exposed to more risk than is absolutely necessary.
What are probably less evident are the potential dangers that are present in almost any area of working life. Search the Internet and there are stories aplenty about people in what are ostensibly the most harmless and sedentary jobs sustaining the most unlikely injuries. Waiting staff scolding themselves whilst carrying cups of hot tea, gardeners losing concentration chopping off their toes with the lawnmower, business people walking headlong into sparkling glass doors or windows whilst pursuing a “deal” on their mobiles.
There will always be freak accidents of this kind in any walk of life, but it is a good idea nevertheless to take sensible precautions to minimise the chances of them occurring.
Health and Safety of course is about more than simply preventing accidents. In many jobs workers have suffered long-term illness or injury as a result of unsatisfactory working conditions and lack of basic protection. Asbestosis is a particularly awful example, whilst on a less deadly but still very serious level employees using computers and keyboards over prolonged periods have suffered eye damage, repeated headaches and loss of motion in the hands.
Anyone running a business that employs people will want to reduce the risk of injury to one’s employees as much as is at all possible, both from a basic sense of responsibility and, of course, to minimise lost work time as well as the threat of legal action and compensation claims.
To this end most major companies employ dedicated Health and Safety officers, whose job is solely to ensure that the requirements of Health and Safety legislation and indeed general good practice are strictly adhered to. For small to medium sized businesses on the other hand it frequently makes good sense to outsource the work of Health and Safety training to an independent, external provider.
Buying in the services of expert safety consultants to make sure legislation is understood and adhered to both makes good economic sense and provides one’s workforce with the security of knowing that everything possible is being done to ensure their safety in the workplace.