What every manager needs to know about health and safety

As the manager or supervisor of a business, it is part of your responsibilities to implement and oversee the health and safety policies of your business. You will be required to supervise the arrangements that have been put in place to minimise risks and ensure that they are being adhered to by your workforce. To ensure that you are managing health and safety effectively, training providers such as Phoenix Health and Safety offer a variety of accredited courses designed for managers, supervisors and employers.


Let’s take a look at the key responsibilities of a manager in the world of health and safety.


Know the risks


All managers need to know and understand the dangers associated with their business. If your organisation has five or more employees, a risk assessment is required by law, and as a manager, you will need to be involved. A risk assessment involves recognising hazards, putting preventative measures in place and continuing to monitor risks. To prevent accidents and near misses, it’s important that each member of staff is informed of the results of the risk assessments and made aware of any updates that have been made. You will also need to devise a risk profile for your business to determine the greatest hazards, the likelihood of them occurring and the implications associated with each risk.


When it comes to risk management, it’s important to take a proportionate approach. In other words, you need to prioritise significant risks that will have the most severe consequences.The risk assessment should also be appropriate to the type of work that is carried out by your business. If the work is regarded as high risk, it’s a good idea to enlist the help of a health and safety advisor with specialist knowledge.


Train your staff


Once you have got to grips with what you need to do to manage health and safety in the workplace, you will to make sure that all policies and procedures are effectively communicated to your staff. To ensure that your workforce is aware of the key issues, relevant and sufficient training must be offered during work hours. This may include providing information, instruction and consultation, with a balance of paperwork and practical training involved. Each worker must understand the risks and control measures associated with their line of work. In short, they should be equipped with the relevant knowledge, skills and facilities to safely fulfil their duties.


As a manager, you should aim to involve your staff when assessing workplace risks and reviewing policies in order to make joint decisions. You may also want to think about appointing certain health and safety responsibilities to selected members of staff, such as first aid delegates. The needs of vulnerable workers must also be taken into consideration, including temporary, inexperienced or disabled employees. Training records for each individual should be kept to ensure a necessary level of competence has been achieved.


Review performance


To ensure that the protective measures are effective and that standards are being met, routine checks and incident-lead reports must be made. Rather than just ticking boxes, this should include an in-depth review of the health and safety policies that have been put in place. If an accident has occurred, an investigation must be made into the causes to determine whether updates need to be made to the risk assessment. Arranging refresher training sessions for you and your workforce will ensure that you are kept up-to-date.


Finally, it’s vital that you set a good example to your staff and always comply with your organisation’s safety standards. If you demonstrate good health and safety practice, then your workforce is likely to follow.


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