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A Guide to Working Safely in the Workplace

schedule 22nd August 2019 by Virtual College in Health and Safety Last updated on 22nd August 2019

Working safely in the workplace

Thousands of accidents occur in the workplace each and every year, and they cause disruption in many ways, from injuries and lost productivity, to legal cases and even fines.

However, most of them are completely avoidable when businesses take the time to ensure that all employees are working safely to the best of their knowledge and ability. With this in mind, we’re going to consider four of the most important things to think about, which will help any individual in any business work more safely.

Know the law

Firstly, knowing the law is really helpful. This is important not only because you clearly need to know how to ensure what you’re doing is legal, but also because the law is designed to prevent accidents and help maintain safe working environments. There are a number of laws pertaining to workplace safety, with some variance depending on the industry you’re in, and the type of work that you or your employees are doing. The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 is perhaps the most important piece of legislation, which explains who has responsibility, and then beyond this are statutory instruments that dictate how to safely work at height, with heavy objects, or harmful materials such as asbestos. It’s up to you to understand which laws apply to your workplace.

Consider risk assessment

Perhaps the most effective tool you have in the fight against workplace accidents is the risk assessment. Sometimes seen as an unnecessary piece of bureaucracy, risk assessments are in reality hugely useful, and can be applied whether you’re working in a small single office of five people, to a busy warehouse with dozens of staff. The principle is very simple; it’s your job to inspect your place of work, identifying all things that could pose a hazard, whether these are simple items of electrical equipment, or dangerous machinery, and then decide how you can mitigate the risk of that hazard causing an accident. This ranges from simply booking in a PAT test, to ensuring employees have all of the right safety equipment.

Remember the basics

Also known as using common sense, being safe doesn’t need to be complicated at all. Remember the basics of being safe, and encourage your employees to do the same. Often one of the most important things people can do to stop accidents is to simply stop and think about what they’re about to do, and decide whether or not it’s reasonable. So many injuries in the workplace occur because individuals have tackled a job that just isn’t achievable safely, such as trying to pick something up that’s clearly too heavy, or wearing the wrong footwear in a dangerous environment.

Get training

Finally, training can be really important, and it’s something that often gets identified in risk assessments, and is also regularly part of your legal responsibilities. This can vary from general training on workplace safety, to more specific instructions on how to carry out certain tasks safely. As part of any risk assessment, you should decide whether or not training would be helpful, and whether it means nothing more than a one-to-one with a more experienced member of staff, or outside input from a training company. Often, the law and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) don’t mandate specific types of training, but they do expect adequate training. IOSH Working Safely is one of the most popular courses, and you can read more about it here.


What does IOSH means?

IOSH refers to the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health, an organisation based in Britain for professionals working in the health and safety field. The organisation offers training courses on various health and safety topics.

What is an IOSH course?

An IOSH course is a training course offered and certificated by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health. They can be taken online or in a classroom, focus on a variety of health and safety topics, and ultimately result in a certificate.

Is IOSH a qualification?

No – the IOSH is an organisation for those who work in the health and safety industries. The IOSH offers various levels of memberships which can be achieved by completing courses and other requirements.

Is IOSH internationally recognised?

The IOSH is an internationally acclaimed and recognised body, offering certified courses and training for health and safety professionals.

Click here to visit our full FAQ Hub

For more information on the IOSH Working Safely course and how it works within an e-learning platform, click here.

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Author: Virtual College

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