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Health & Safety Update - Apr 2010

In this month's update we inform you on latest and astonishing statistics for workplace violence, we also take a look at health and safety training requirements and more...

Workplace violence rises

The Health & Safety Executive has recently unveiled the results from the British Crime Survey, which found that there were roughly 305,000 threats of violence and 321,000 physical assaults on British workers over the last year. This is an increase of almost twelve per cent from the previous year.

Upon further investigation, the recession was highlighted as an undoubted key reason for the level of the physical assaults. Increased levels of stress and a rise in other criminal activities, such as shoplifting, have also led to high levels of violence against workers by members of the public.

Tolerance, diversity, dignity and respect are benchmarks for business success. Employers also have legal duties to protect the health and safety of all their workers, so failure to deal with and take reasonable steps to prevent harassment and violence will undermine business performance and could be unlawful.

Establishing a healthy culture is key to preventing workplace violence, and this means keeping stress levels as low as possible. One way that some businesses achieve this is by adopting an Employee Assistance Programme, offering confidential work related and personal support for employees.

Don’t overlook Health and Safety Training

There are two main pieces of legislation that require employers to inform, instruct, train and supervise their employees to ensure that they are working in safe conditions at work – which are: the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

More than 200 people are killed each year in work-related accidents and over 1 million people are injured. Preventing any accidents caused by work is crucial for all at work. Competent employees are a valuable asset to any business and providing health and safety information and training helps to ensure employees are not injured or made ill by what they do. Training also helps to develop a positive safety culture where safety and healthy working become second nature to everyone.

Many companies still view 'training' as terms of lecture-based classrooms but there is a wide range of other methods used to engage and further support the learning curve. Training is anything that offers learning and/or developmental experience so it does not have to follow this suggested lecture based route. If it is to make a difference to the learner the training must be engaging, offer different learning methods and most importantly be relevant to the working life and the individual learning style of the learner. So, start making the most of your resources and enlist your employees in health and safety training as soon as you can.

Lack of Training and Equipment

An airport worker has died while working as a vehicle maintenance specialist for a contracted service at an airports terminal. The worker was crushed under a baggage tug vehicle which he had placed on a trolley jack while he was conducting maintenance from underneath it. The Health and Safety Executive issued an Improvement Notice against the company, which required it to ensure that employees received training before being allowed to work underneath vehicles and a Prohibition Notice which required lifting supports to be supplied with similar vehicles.

The company pleaded guilty to breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. It was fined £90,000 and £18,000 in costs.

  • 1st April 2010
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