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Who is responsible for workplace health and safety?

February 13th, 2023 By Amywright

Occupational health and safety are the regulations and procedures intended to prevent accidents or injuries in workplaces or public environments.

Employees, clients, and stakeholders are becoming more concerned about the safety of their own health or that of others at work or on-site, leading to increased workplace health and safety concerns.

Employers and businesses must have health and safety policies, guidelines, and standards in place to reduce risks, understand how to evaluate them, and take appropriate action.

The International Labor Organization stated that more than 7,600 individuals die from illnesses or accidents at work every day. Additionally, 36.8 million working days were lost in Great Britain between 2021 and 2022 due to occupational illness and accidents.

Injuries that occur at the workplace or on-site can be found in every industry. The construction industry, for example, is where the most workplace deaths were experienced.

Workplace accidents and injuries can be detrimental to the reputation and morale of your company. The costs can be immense for your business if you are found to be unsafe or do not value the health and safety of your personnel, clients, and their welfare.

In 2020, the total costs for work-related injuries were approximately $163.9 billion, roughly $1,100 per worker. Back injuries are the most prevalent, followed by hand and leg injuries.

The most common workplace injuries and accidents that occur include:

  • Slips, trips, and falls
  • Muscle strains
  • Being hit by falling objects
  • Repetitive strain injury
  • Crashes and collisions
  • Cuts and lacerations
  • Inhalation of toxic fumes
  • Loud noise exposure

What health and safety responsibilities do I have as an employer?

According to hse.gov, “it is the employer’s duty to protect the safety, health, and welfare of their employees and people who might be affected by their work activities. Employers must do whatever is reasonably practicable to achieve this.”

This means employers must:

  • Assess risks: Employers must assess health and safety hazards in the workplace and conduct risk assessments with actions on how to control/eliminate the risk
  • Provide information about risks: Employers must educate employees about workplace hazards and how to avoid them; this includes receiving the proper education and training to manage the dangers
  • Consult employees: Employers must consult the workforce on health and safety – direct or indirect consultation is required with a safety representative
  • Provide health and safety information: Under the Health and Safety Information for Employees Regulations (HSIER), employers have a legal duty to exhibit the approved poster prominently in each workplace or give a copy of the approved leaflet to each employee
  • Reporting: If employees think their employer is exposing them to risks and not carrying out their legal health and safety duties, if they have informed them and their employer has not taken action, they can report this to HSE
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What are some of the health and safety regulations in place?

In the United Kingdom, The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 is put in place to define the fundamental structure and authority for encouraging, regulating and enforcing workplace health, safety and welfare within the United Kingdom.

In the United States, three Department of Labor (DOL) agencies must enforce the laws enacted to protect the safety of health workers in America.

The OSHA administers the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration enforce the Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977. This law protects workers employed in the nation’s mines.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA) enforces rules concerning the employment of young workers, which are enforced by the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division.

How does ISO 45001 enforce health and safety in the workplace?

ISO 45001 is the management standard for an Occupational Health and Safety management system (OHSMS). It has replaced the OHSAS 18001 and provides a framework for managing health and safety responsibilities.

The standard has been created to decrease workplace injuries and illnesses by offering stakeholders (government agencies, businesses, and industries) practical advice for enhancing worker safety in various nations.

This approach enables businesses to assess potential workplace dangers and lessen health and safety issues. They will be able to conduct low-risk operations, comply with legal requirements, and enhance their reputation for health and safety.

The benefits of ISO 45001 include the following:

  • Increased trust in workplace practices and safety
  • Consistency and efficiency
  • Reduced downtime and costs of disruption
  • Reduced employee absences
  • Improved ability to respond to legal and compliance requirements
  • Protection of employees, clients, and stakeholders
  • Understanding of workplace risks and opportunities
  • Increased return on investment (ROI)
  • Pro-active health and safety-focused culture

Is it required by law to implement ISO 45001?

According to HSE, you are not required by law to implement ISO 45001 or any other similar management standards. Still, they can provide a structured framework for ensuring a safe and healthy workplace.

I’m interested in ISO 45001

You can arrange a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable advisors if ISO 45001 interests you. We work to make the process as simple as possible by providing a set charge and flexible approach to achieving ISO certification.

Do you already have ISO 45001? You can become trained to conduct internal audits as an ISO 45001 internal auditor. We offer ISO 45001 internal auditor training courses for those interested.

Do you have more questions about ISO 45001? Find out more about the standard here.

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Contact Us

For a free Quotation or On-Site presentation by an ISO Specialist, contact us today!

IMSM Ltd Head Office The Gig House
Oxford Street
SN16 9AX

Tel: 01666 826 065