Appointing a Health and Safety Representative in your business as laid out in the 1977 Safety Representatives and Safety Committees Regulations (Outlined in the Health and Safety at Work Act) is an important part of keeping a lot of aspects of Health and Safety in the workplace in check. Whether it’s incident investigations, or following up a fellow employee’s complaint, they have a key role to play.
Here are seven reasons why Health and Safety Representatives are crucial for your business:
1. Safety Inspections
A Health and Safety Representative should carry out a safety inspection at least once every three months in order to ensure that all policies are being adhered to, all potential hazards are noted and dealt with appropriately, and that the safety of the staff is not at risk for any reason.
2. Incident Investigations
When accidents or incidents occur, it is important that the root cause is found and dealt with appropriately in order to prevent the accident from occurring again in the future. That’s where the Health and Safety Representative comes in; it is their responsibility to carry out a full investigation to determine the root cause of the incident, then to find and implement a suitable solution.
3. Comments and Complaints
We should clarify that this doesn’t mean general comments or complaints, just those that relate to health and safety. For example, a floor that becomes slippery intermittently and hasn’t been picked up by a safety inspection, would not be noticed until an accident occurs. If an employee that works in the area makes a complaint about it, then the Health and Safety Representative can investigate it early, and before an accident can occur.
4. Safety Devices and Features
It’s all well and good adding safety devices to machines and processes to prevent injury, but if they aren’t functioning or being used correctly, then they’re about as useful as a chocolate fireguard! The Health and Safety Rep has a duty to ensure that all safeguards, protective shields and other safety devices are in good working order, and all staff are utilising them correctly, for their own and others’ safety.
5. HSE Updates
Occasionally, the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) will release updates and/or amendments regarding different policies, or new regulations. When this happens, it is the Health and Safety Rep’s responsibility to implement these or recommend adjustments to their business’s policies and guidelines in accordance with the new information, and ensure that it has been implemented successfully, and effectively.
When new employees begin work, it is important that they are safety trained on processes and operations that are undertaken in the workplace. That’s why the Health and Safety Rep keeps a record of all given safety training courses and ensures that they are provided to all new members of staff. In addition, any and all refresher training that is deemed necessary for staff to undertake is also organised this way, making training sessions and organisation a breeze.
7. Accident Rates
It has been shown that these responsibilities (among others) really do make a difference; workplaces with an appointed Health and Safety Rep record 50% fewer accidents on average as workplaces without. That’s quite a staggering amount!
So maybe it’s time to break out those application forms, and get yourself on the road to a healthier, safer workplace! Don’t forget to check out our other articles on safety in the workplace at our blog: Acton E-Docs | Blog