Friday 28th April 2017 is the World Day for Safety and Health at Work, part of an annual international awareness campaign to improve workplace safety around the world. It is designed to support the UN agenda for sustainable development by promoting safe, healthy and decent workplaces for people worldwide.
According to research by the International Labour Organization (ILO) based in Geneva, some 2million people die due to accidents and diseases directly linked to their work, and 270 million people are injured in occupational accidents each year. The cost of this is not just measured in terms of human tragedy – the ILO estimates that it costs businesses US$2.8Trillion in lost working time and expenses arising from workplace accidents.
UK employers are of course justifiably proud of having a global reputation for good employee welfare, but this does not mean that British companies can be complacent. Earlier this month, an estimated 600,000 construction industry workers stopped work for a day as part of the ‘Stop. Make a Change’ campaign, designed to encourage employers to take steps to improve the health and safety record of the construction industry which, perhaps not surprisingly, has one of the highest rates of accidents and deaths in the UK.
UK employees, including contract staff, are protected by a set of health and safety regulations, which every employer needs to be aware of and implement if they are appropriate for their workforce. The main pieces of legislation include:
- The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, often known as ‘Management Regs’, which put the onus on employers to assess risks to health and maintaining a written health and safety policy
- The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, which are concerned with the safety of the physical environment
- The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 which govern the use of personal protective equipment, particularly in high-risk environments
- The Working Time Regulations 1998 (as amended), which govern the maximum length of a working day or week.
Depending on the nature of the work that people do in your business, you may also need to make sure you understand a number of other regulations together with the required reporting guidelines. There is useful guidance on health and safety in the workplace by type of risk or by industry on the website of the Health & Safety Executive.
At Priority Appointments, we always take the time to find out about the working environment of all our clients’ businesses so that we can introduce candidates who have the best skills, knowledge and personal attributes to work productively and safely at your premises. To find out more, do contact us.