Health & Safety
However, health and safety does not stop an organisation going about its normal business or prevent it, or individuals, from having fun. Its ultimate goal is to ensure that everyone remains safe at all times and that accidents are reduced to the lowest possible level.
Safety is not about wrapping people up in cotton wool, it is about practical and sensible risk management. This is achieved by looking at your work activities, identifying who and what is at risk and then ensuring that the necessary control measures are implemented and maintained. It is important to undertake suitable risk assessments that ensure your staff remain safe at all times.
Top of the list
Businesses should place health and safety at the top of their agenda, because organisations that comply with health and safety have nothing to fear. Consequently, it is essential to:
- Obtain and consider any relevant health and safety legislation that is applicable to your practice.
- Consider any industry standards and how they are being implemented within your practice.
- Ensure suitable and sufficient risk assessments are compiled and are reviewed on a regular basis.
- Implement a consistent and documented enforcement regime for health and safety issues. This should include details about the actions that will be taken when employees fail to comply with health and safety rules and advise that breaches may be considered as gross misconduct.
- Consider what financial resources are required to implement health and safety.
- Review all company safety policies on a regular basis, especially after any accident or near misses.
- Review any policies and assessments relating to vehicles or driving activities.
- Ensure that employees can report any safety concerns that they may have.
- Review the extent of all insurance cover, as most policies only cover defence costs in a magistrates court. Ideally, they should provide cover for prosecution as well as defence.
- Ensure that insurance policies cover criminal costs for directors, partners and officers of the company.
Extract from the VBJ article health and safety is no laughing matter by Gary Sullivan, deputy health and safety manager for Citation plc.
This and other articles on health and safety issues can be found in the archives of The Veterinary Business Journal. Previous Safety First articles include:
- Health and safety issues regarding pregnant workers
- Work-related sickness absence
- Sanctions for companies breaking H&S rules
- Gas cylinders and corporate manslaughter
- Contractors: bringing outside staff into your practice
- Legionnaires’ disease
The Veterinary Business Journal’s Safety First column is generously sponsored by Citation plc