As things slowly begin to return to normal, you may have more people returning to workplaces and offices. For those with jobs in areas such as a quarry, your workers may have never left. Either way, you need to make sure your health and safety standards are up to speed with this ever-changing world.
Before we start, try answer this question - do you know the three things HSE recommends to keep your workplace Covid safe? Have a go at answering and find out if you're right down below.
Latest HSE Advice
While face coverings are no longer legally required in indoor spaces and on public transport, some staff members may feel more comfortable continuing to wear them around the workplace. Whether your staff continue to wear face coverings or not, as an employer it is your duty to make sure that your staff feel comfortable in their working environment and to do this you can ensure that the risk of spreading Covid-19 is managed.
This can be done in many ways, including:
Keeping the workplace adequately ventilated
Encouraging employees to have good hand hygiene
Keeping the workplace clean
Did you guess correctly earlier?
With this advice from HSE, employers should be able to determine whether or not these controls are being met. These must be identified in a Covid-19 specific risk assessment for the workplace, and if you're not sure how to create one we at Rock and Road Training provide support with risk assessments through our partnership with Anytime Training. 'Introduction to Risk Assessment' and 'Covid Safe Workplaces' are two of the courses this company offers, both at affordable prices.
Risk assessments are essential to keeping both employers and employees safe in the workplace and are a legal requirement for any businesses employing more than five staff. Risks are everywhere but being aware of them and knowing how to manage them, greatly decreases the chances of anyone getting hurt, which is something we all want.
Check out the HSE website for more details.
And for more detailed guidance, covering several different working environments take a look at the government website.
Fire Safety in the Workplace
With Covid-19 shutting down normal work-life in offices and other indoor spaces, reworking the fire safety risk assessments was essential. Now, with employees coming back to these spaces it is once again time to re-think your plans.
We all know the usual tips for fire prevention, such as testing your fire alarms and checking your extinguishers, but did you know that in the last few years, three-quarters of fire safety doors have failed inspection?
The Safety and Health Practitioner (SHP) recently released an article based on the findings of the Fire Door Inspection Scheme (FDIS). In 2019, 76% of fire doors failed inspection and 30% were condemned because they were unfit for purpose. To find out more about this, take a look at the rest of the article here.
Can your fire doors take the heat? Make sure to inspect them regularly to keep you and your colleagues safe. Here's what you can do on a regular basis to make sure they are still fit for use.
Testing to make sure the doors close automatically after opening.
Checking that the seals (whether intumescent, cold smoke or a combination of both) are in-tact around the edges of the doors - when heated these seals swell and aid in the containment of fire and smoke.
Making sure that any windows in the doors have fire-resistant glaze.
It's a great idea to get a FDIS trained inspector out to check your doors are working properly. For more information on how to ensure your fire-doors are up to scratch check out the websites below.
Aside from checking out your fire safety equipment, making sure you know what to do in the event of a fire is essential. All companies should have an up-to-date fire evacuation plan. Fire evacuation drills are a legal requirement and should be scheduled bi-annually at the least, so that you can capture the majority of your staff. It is important to make sure that all employees are aware of fire safety measures and procedures.
However, if you want to take things a step further, Anytime Training offers Basic Fire Safety Awareness courses that help you and your employees explore how to prevent fires and what to do if one does occur. This would be a great course for any member of management to undertake and it wouldn't hurt for any other members of staff who may want to further their knowledge of fire safety.
Fire Safety Matters (FSM) also have a range of news articles, webinars and upcoming events that help to expand your knowledge of fire safety. Make sure to take a look.
Remember, the health and safety of you and your colleagues is the top priority. So stay up-to-date to make sure your workplace, is a safe space.