It is the employer’s responsibility to protect the health and safety of everyone in the workplace and to ensure that adequate welfare facilities are provided. The best results can be seen by those organizations that can establish a health and safety culture.
There are many accidents each year in the workplace that could have been easily avoided by careful planning when determining design and layout:
Should be solid and fit for purpose. An assessment should be carried out to ensure that buildings are made from materials that meet legal requirements.
Rooms should have enough floor area, height and unoccupied space for the purpose of health, safety and welfare. When designing, consideration should be given to employees who deal with hazardous substances and materials.
The routes should be clearly laid out and signposted. Vehicle and pedestrian routes should be separated where possible.
Read: The Five Step Guide to Risk Assessment
Should be provided, preferably by opening windows. Every occupied room must be provided with a means of ventilation.
During working hours, the temperature in the workplace should be reasonably comfortable without the need for special clothing. The temperature should be at least 16°C unless work involves severe physical effort when it should be at least 13°C. There is no legal requirement for maximum temperature, although a risk assessment should be done if the temperature is excessive.
Every workplace should have suitable and sufficient lighting to maintain safety and reduce eye strain; if practicable, this should be natural light. Suitable and sufficient emergency lightening should be provided.
Should be designed to be safe and comfortable, e.g. controls should be within easy reach. A suitable seat and footrest must be provided if the task can be accomplished seated.
Should be constructed and maintained to prevent slipping and falling. Arrangements should be made for the minimization of risks from snow and ice.
Doors and Windows
Should be suitably constructed and all should function safely. Suitable provision should be made for cleaning of windows and skylights. Necessary precautions should be taken to prevent persons falling from a window.
Storage and Racking
The design of storage areas is important to ensure safety in the workplace. Keeping areas clean and tidy will reduce the likelihood of accidents.
Employers should consider:
- Design and layout
- Regular checks of racking
- Establishing load levels
- Reporting of defects
- Cleaning and tidying of storage areas
- Use of safety steps or other safety means of access
- Teamwork when stacking
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Workplaces must be provided with:
- Suitable and sufficient toilets and washing facilities, including provision for people with disabilities
- An adequate supply of drinking water
- Facilities for clothing storage and changing facilities where required
- Facilities for expectant and nursing mothers
- Facilities for persons at work to eat meals
Safety representatives and safety committees are used within organisations to review the measures taken to ensure the health and safety at work of employees