Health and safety at work can seem complicated, but we're here to make it easy and clear up any confusion. Let's bust some common myths and make sure everyone can enjoy a safe and happy workplace.
Myth #1 Opening office windows is unsafe
An office was told they were unable to have the keys to open their office windows due to them being on the third floor, with the windows running from floor to ceiling. It was claimed by the property owners that it would “breach health and safety rules” if they were to let employees open them, creating concerns about rising temperatures during the summer months.
Although there could be a genuine potential concern about people falling out of a window in a case like this, this is an issue that ought to have been addressed by fitting appropriate controls in order to prevent this from happening, rather than banning the opening of the window. This would mean that the windows can only be opened to a certain extent.
Air conditioning should also be considered in a situation like this, as an overly hot office can pose genuine health risks of its own.
Myth #2 No wedding rings allowed at work
A Health and Safety Officer in a paper mill is stating, all staff must remove their wedding rings or they will be asked to leave the premises.
The employer’s policy that rings should not be worn when working on or close to moving machinery is sensible and supported by industry guidance going back many years. However, whilst removal might be part of a safe system of work for tasks, this does not mean a blanket ban is required.
Myth #3 Every potential risk needs a sign
Any identified hazard should have relevant signage in place to warn others of potential danger.
This is false. If anything, having too many signs can make a risk worse. For example, if you see the same sign in the same place, you will become immune to it. If the risk is still present, you will have forgotten about it and that is when it becomes a problem. Signs should only be used when and where necessary. And don’t forget to take the sign away once the risk is no longer there.
Myth #4 Risk assessments must be long and complex
Risk assessments should be very detailed and worded in long sentences to ensure the reader fully understands.
A risk assessment is a tool for highlighting any possible risks. The length of the document depends on the findings. Where safety has already been a priority the likelihood of the risk assessment being drawn out is small. If a risk assessment is complex, then it will not help or encourage anyone. It should be fit for purpose and not just put together for the sake of it.
Myth #5 Health and safety is just common sense
There is so much red tape these days around health and safety which is just needed.
Anyone who has ever watched YouTube or ‘You’ve been framed’ will know that common sense is a myth! In fact, an employee may carry out a task in a dangerous manner simply because they don't realise that what they're doing is unsafe. This is why it's important to ensure employees are aware of the correct way to carry out potentially dangerous tasks and all staff receive adequate training to do their job correctly.
Myth #6 You can't prevent every accident
If you look over the job carefully before starting, it's easy to avoid accidents if you are careful.
While it's true that some accidents occur as a result of bad luck, it's widely accepted that most workplace accidents are preventable.
If you work under the assumption that accidents will always happen and nothing can be done to prevent them, it's more than likely that your business will cease to follow safe procedures. By following health and safety procedures you can reduce the likelihood of accidents happening.
Simplifying Safe Workplace with KODOBI
We've seen that workplace health and safety isn't as tricky as it seems. With a bit of know-how, we can all help make our workspaces safer and more enjoyable. If you're ever feeling lost in the world of health and safety rules, just remember that KODOBI is here to help.
We're your friendly health and safety consultants, ready to lend a hand with everything from workplace audits to Display Screen Equipment services. Don't hesitate to get in touch with KODOBI today and let us help you create a workplace that's both safe and fun to be a part of!