Hello, my name is Kitty Broome and I am crazy about health and safety. In fact, it is my purpose in life to help keep people safe and change the bad name that health and safety has been given, one blog at a time, across the whole of the UK. Health and safety has not in itself gone mad, but the way that it is being carried out nationally is crazy! This is generally due to bad health and safety advice and intense fear of being prosecuted and sued.
I have seen first-hand what a failure of H & S can do, and also the beauty that is a business with an amazing health and safety culture.
I have been both on the receiving end of health and safety and on the giving end as well. Both are fantastic places to be as long as the health and safety culture is strong.
The health & safety culture…
What is a health and safety culture I hear you ask? All it is is the way in which health and safety is viewed in a business. If it is viewed in a positive way and given the time and energy it deserves and the workforce is safe and happy then it is a positive health and safety culture. If it is viewed negatively and given no time at all and the workforce is miserable and constantly having accidents then it is a negative health and safety culture
This blog is about health and safety according to Kitty. It is actually also about health and safety according to the law but with less complicated words. I am a Chartered IOSH Health & Safety Professional and so I know about these things!! Health and Safety is all about common sense and doing the right thing and I am about to explain how the law does this as well, simply and effectively.
People generally manage to stay safe at home so what is the difference when they come to work? The difference is that the law kicks in as soon as they reach the workplace, and then people automatically seem to lose their innate ability to look after themselves and just expect others, their employer, to do it for them!
It’s all perfectly simple.
The overarching H & S at Work Act 1974 which governs health and safety in the UK states that “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 employees.” (HSE, 1974).
In simple terms this means that employers must be sensible and moral and keep their staff safe according to operational and budgetary needs, which, incidentally, is also according to the law. So far as is reasonably practicable means the degree of risk in a particular situation can be balanced against the time, trouble, cost and physical difficulty of taking measures to avoid the risk. The higher the risk the more resources used to control it.
There are various ways of keeping staff safe and various regulations have been written under the Health and Safety at Work Act to help employers understand how to do this. Further Approved Codes of Practice (Best Practice) and guidance documents are also available to help you with this even more.