Identify and act on every Potential Safety hazard
A safety inspector is responsible for identifying any situation that has the potential to be a health and safety threat. For example, an obstruction to a fire exit, a monitor that could overheat if it is positioned under direct sunlight with an open window, or a high step where there is there is the potential for an accident, are all potential hazards.
Positioning your Health and Safety notices
Where you locate your health and safety information can have a big impact on how people respond to them. For example, there should be no obvious obstruction that could prevent people from identifying the notice, and the text should be clear enough to ensure that everyone can read it.
It is your responsibility to warn people of every Health and Safety Hazard on your premise
Imagine if a road sign warning of a sharp drop in elevation was covered with a bush and a driver had an accident as a result of not breaking fast enough. Provided the motorist was fortunate enough to survive the incident, there would be clear grounds to sue the authority responsible for the signage, as it would have failed in its responsibility to ensure that there were no obstructions that would prevent oncoming traffic from observing the hazard signs.
Make a list of every Hazard you can think of – will your Inspector find more?
The same principle applies to all businesses: make sure you can identify every possible hazard, no matter how small or unrealistic they may appear. Not only does this protect you and your employees, it will also help protect you from any expensive and time-consuming lawsuits, should the worst happen and an individual (employee, client or anyone who enters your business premises) suffer an accident and decide to sue you, even if it was probably their fault.
In theory, a tall person could even sue you for not displaying a ‘Warning! Low ceiling’ sign underneath a low ceiling, even if the individual should have paid attention in the first place.
Ensure that all Employees understand these Signs
While health and safety signs need to be succinct and to-the-point, sometimes it is necessary to use vocabulary that may not necessarily be easy to understand by people whose native language is not English. If you have a large number of Spanish native speakers in your business, for example, it might be useful to include Spanish translation as a precaution. However, bear in mind that all health and safety signs are accompanied by imagery.
Finally – don’t waste Time in acting on any new Health and Safety hazards
Following a new health and safety inspection, if an inspector has identified potential issues on your business premises, you must resolve them as soon as possible. No matter how unlikely, any future accidents that can be directly attributed to any one of these issues could be the subject of a legal dispute, especially if it can be proved that you were made aware of the issues during the inspection and did not take the appropriate action.
Jill Henderson is a representative for Health and Safety Signs which specialises in supplying health and safety signs and equipment for businesses across the UK