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Legislative framework for health safety and risk management

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Explain the legislative framework for health and safety

Answer – The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 is the main piece of the health and safety legislation in Great Britain. It provides the legal framework to promote and encourage high standards in the workplace. The Act, when first introduced, provided an integrated system dealing with workplace health and safety and the protection of the public from work activities. By placing duties upon employees, employers, the self-employed, manufacturers, designers and importers of work equipment and materials, the protection of the law, rights and responsibilities are available and given to all at work. An employer has a general duty to, as far as is reasonably practicable, safeguard the health, safety and welfare of employees by ensuring that plant and equipment are safe; safe handling, storage, maintenance and transport of articles and substances; provision for employees of information, instruction, training and supervision; a safe working environment and adequate welfare facilities; safe access and a safe system of work.

Where there are five or more employees, an employer has an absolute duty to provide a written health and safety policy and to ensure that all employees have seen it.

Develop health and safety and risk management policies

Answer – My company has its own, clearly written policies and procedures, which are stored within the workplace and updated as and when required. The policies contain information for employees in relation to health and safety practice within the work setting and also risk assessment and management procedures. The policies and procedures meet requirements by being evaluated on an ongoing basis, with updated information being implemented and explained to all employees, with clear procedures in place to follow and adhere to. We have a designated individual within the workplace, who is responsible for ensuring that any updates to health and safety requirements or risk management is implemented without delay and this is then communicated across the entire staff team during staff meetings, daily handovers and formal supervision. We also have a maintenance team who are responsible for attending to any health and safety issues and we have a clear system in place for reporting any areas of concern.

Demonstrate compliance with health, safety and risk management procedures.

Answer – The law states that you have a legal duty to put in place suitable arrangements to manage for health and safety. The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 require employers to put in place arrangements to control health and safety risks. As a minimum, you should have the processes and procedures required to meet the legal requirements, including: A written health and safety policy (if you employ five or more people); Assessments of the risks to employees, contractors, customers, partners, and any other people who could be affected by your activities – and record the significant findings in writing (if you employ five or more people). Any risk assessment must be ‘suitable and sufficient’; Arrangements for the effective planning, organisation, control, monitoring and review of the preventive and protective measures that come from risk assessment; Access to competent health and safety advice, providing employees with information about the risks in your workplace and how they are protected. Instruction and training for employees in how to deal with the risks. Ensuring there is adequate and appropriate supervision in place. Consulting with employees.

The Health and Safety Executive is responsible for making adequate arrangements for the enforcement of health and safety legislation in the UK. In fulfilment of its duty, the Executive provides guidance to its regulatory staff, who have to judge whether measures put in place, or proposed, by those who are under a duty to control and reduce risks “as low as reasonably practicable” are acceptable.

Support others to comply with legislative and organisational health, safety and risk management policies, procedures and practices relevant to their work.

Answer – As mentioned above, we have our own, clearly written policies and procedures, which are stored in the main staff office and online and are available to all employees. Compliance is demonstrated by adhering to the policies in place and ensuring that they are updated as and when required. All health and safety risk assessments are reviewed on an annual basis, or before if required, and regular communication with the staff team and maintenance team takes place, to ensure that procedures are being followed correctly. Information is shared across the whole company, which in turn supports others to comply with legislative and organisational health, safety and risk management policies, procedures and practices relevant to their work.

Explain the actions to take when health, safety and risk management, procedures and practices are not being complied with.

Answer – If there is ever any doubt that health and safety/risk management procedures and practices are not being adhered to, then immediate action is required. Within my workplace we have a responsible individual who ensures that risk assessments are up to date and factual, however, the staff and management team as a whole have an overall responsibility for reporting any areas or issues, which may jeopordise the safety and well being of individuals. The usual course of action taken when a health and safety issue is highlighted is to contact the company maintenance team who will address any issues without delay and ensure that necessary steps are taken to amend the problem. There are however at times, instances whereby a staff member may not be following basic procedures or may be taking unnecessary risks in relation to health and safety issues; This again is dealt with swiftly and without delay, usually through formal supervision or immediate action by the management team. At times, simple refresher training is all that is required to ensure that a repeat of the same action does not occur again. If non-compliance is down to a service user, then advice and support is offered and clear expectations and guidelines are explained, to prevent further occurrences and information is logged and recorded and shared with any necessary third parties.

Complete records and reports on health, safety and risk management issues according to legislative and organisational requirements.

Answer – To ensure we complete records and reports on health, safety and risk management issues according to legislative and organisational requirements, the following systems are in place;

  • 1.Safety Policy Statement – A written policy statement is prepared, covering the employer’s organisation and arrangements in force for ensuring health and safety. It is brought to the attention of all employees.
  • 2.Competent Persons – An adequate number of competent persons are appointed, with sufficient time and resources at their disposal, to assist the employer to comply with their legal duties and to implement emergency arrangements. Competent health and safety advisers are either employees with appropriate training and qualifications or professionally qualified consultants.
  • 3.Risk Assessment – Suitable risk assessments are carried out by the employer. The purpose is to identify hazards, assess the probability that harm may arise from them and evaluate the effectiveness of control measures.
  • 4.Tackling Risks at Source – The workplace is made safe without risks to health. So far as is reasonably practicable, accidents and work related health damage are prevented by tackling risks at source.
  • 5.Information, Instruction, Training and Supervision – Employees are given comprehensible information, instruction, training and supervision necessary to ensure their health and safety and that of others.
  • 6.We ensure that we display the health and safety law poster, or provide each worker with a copy of the equivalent pocket card.
  • 7.Cooperation and Co-ordination – Our employers co-operate and co-ordinate their activities to ensure that they can meet their health and safety responsibilities.
  • 8.Hazardous Agents – Exposure to hazardous agents such as dust, fumes, noise, vibration, radiation or harmful micro-organisms are eliminated or adequately controlled.
  • 9.Arrangements are made for any necessary health surveillance of employees and appropriate records are kept.
  • 10.Work Equipment – All work equipment meets essential safety requirements and safe systems of work are established. Risks from work with Display Screen Equipment are assessed and controlled.
  • 11.Personal Protective Equipment – Where risks cannot be controlled at source appropriate personal protective clothing and equipment is provided free of charge.
  • 12.Articles and Substances – Articles and substances are safe and without risks to health when properly used. They are properly designed; tested; packaged; labelled; accompanied by adequate information; and moved, stored and used safely.
  • 13.Special Precautions – Special precautions are taken against entry into confined spaces and working at height. Harmful manual handling is eliminated. Safe use of electricity and site transport are ensured.
  • 14.Emergency Arrangements – Adequate emergency arrangements are in place under the control of ‘competent persons’. There are also suitable procedures for employees to report serious and imminent danger as well as shortcomings in health and safety arrangements.
  • 15.Fire – Adequate precautions are taken against fires and explosions and adequate means of escape and fire fighting equipment are provided.
  • 16.Workplace Requirements – Essential workplace requirements are ensured, including those concerning temperature, cleanliness, working space, ventilation, lighting, safe access and egress (including traffic routes). Adequate welfare and first aid facilities are provided.
  • 17.Reporting and Recording – Accidental injuries, dangerous occurrences and notifiable occupational diseases are reported to the appropriate enforcing authority and records kept. Records also have to be kept of the results of workplace environmental monitoring, health surveillance and maintenance etc.
  • 18.Safety Representatives – We consult our workforce on health and safety matters. When the employer recognises a trade union, that union has the right to appoint safety representatives who must be consulted on all matters affecting the health and safety of employees they represent and be permitted to carry out their functions.
  • 19. Insurance – We have specific insurance to provide compensation to employees following successful civil law claims for damages in the event of work related injury or damage to health.

Contribute to development of policies, procedures and practices to identify, assess and manage risk to individuals and others.

Answer – Within my own workplace, I constantly assess and manage the development of policies, procedures and practices to identify, assess and manage risk to individuals and others. I do this by holding regular consultation with the health and safety officer at work, ensuring that all relevant policies and risk assessments are on file and readily available to staff members, service users and visitors. If there are any new ideas, which I believe will be beneficial to the safe running of the home or the organization in general, I discuss them with my manager and the staff team to determine if it is an appropriate measure to implement them. This information is also shared with all concerned. Likewise, if I have any concerns regarding the safe running of the home, I address this without delay by consulting my line manager and staff team.

3.2 / 3.3 Work with individuals and others to assess/manage potential risks and hazards.

Answer – Working together is an integral part of ensuring that potential risks and hazards are minimized. As a manager, I ensure that regular communication and consultation is held with my team in order to assess any potential risks and hazards. This is usually done through daily handover meetings or shift debriefs, formal and informal supervision and through general health and safety observations. I also have direct regular contact with the company maintenance team to address any issues or concerns relating to health and safety matters and ensure that they are addressed without delay. Any risks and hazards are highlighted, logged and recorded in a bound book and actioned as soon as possible. At my workplace, we carry out risk assessments on a regular basis to identify and assess any potential risks or hazards. This area is managed by an responsible individual by carrying out recorded checks of the interior and exterior of the building and then reporting any concerns orissues.

Work with individuals to balance the management of risk with individual rights and the views of others

Answer – Risk management needs to be carefully considered in order to apply a balanced approach. Young people have many requests and their views and opinions on risk taking can vary considerably, with some believing that certain behaviours are not risky or dangerous. It is down to myself as a manager in the workplace, to ensure that my staff team apply a balanced approach to managing risk and that young people are adequately consulted in the process. Young people’s rights are to be promoted at all times, however there are occasions when requests made are inappropriate and the risks out way the safety and welfare of the individual. An example of this is a young person requesting to smoke, which is damaging to health. Although the views of the child are considered, it may be necessary to explain the dangers of smoking and attempt to get some help and advice from a specialist service in order to assist in dealing with the situation. A solution may be that the young person refuses to stop smoking, but there is a plan in place which only permits the young person to smoke an allocated number of cigarettes and it is fully explained that staff members will not provide or purchase cigarettes for the young person. The risk is still present, however steps and precautions are taken to help manage and minimise any further risks, whilst also considering the rights and views of the young person.

4.2 Work with individuals and others to develop a balanced approach to risk management that takes into account the benefits for individuals of risk taking.

Answer – Risk management needs to be managed carefully and appropriately. There are at times, calculated risks, which must be taken in order to allow for the natural development of service users. This may be permitting a young person to use electrical appliances, or use public transport for example. Young people need to be able to thrive and develop and there will be risks involved in the process. I ensure therefore that there are adequate risk assessments produced which highlight any risks and provide advice to staff members on how to minimise any potential danger or unnecessary risks. Children and young people are consulted appropriately by experienced and qualified staff members, to give them advice and support and help provide them with the knowledge they need to remain safe. This is usually done through direct work and key work sessions.

4.3 Evaluate own practice in promoting a balanced approach to risk management.

Answer – As mentioned above, as a manager I constantly evaluate my own practice by promoting a balanced approach to risk management. I do this by holding regular consultation with my staff team and the young people we care for. Daily and weekly discussions take place with young people to ascertain their views and requests and the staff team are then consulted through daily handovers, staff meetings and supervision regarding the requests made by the young people. There are times when certain requests cannot be met, however this is always fully explained to a young person and appropriate reason are given. A compromise will be sought and if possible, requests will be met to an acceptable degree. I evaluate my own practice by ensuring that I continue to hold regular consultation with my manager to discuss issues as they arise and forward plan.

4.4 Analyse how helping others to understand the balance between risk and rights improves practice.

Answer – Helping others to understand the balance between risk and rights greatly improves practice, as it shows that you are not just making decisions, but you are consulting people about why a certain decision may have to have been made and explaining the reasons for this. Direct work with young people or formal supervision with staff members, creates a forum for discussion and allows for reasoning, explanations and understanding to take place. Once somebody understands the reason why a decision may have to have been made, they then begin to understand that it is for the benefit of themselves and in the best interests of all concerned. This in turn greatly improves practice as it creates a more open environment for future discussion to take place and compromisation to be achieved. 5.1 Obtain feedback on health, safety and risk management policies, procedures and practices from individuals and others.

Answer – As a service, we constantly updated and evaluate our health, safety and risk management policies, procedures and practices from individuals and others. We do this by requesting periodic feedback from our service users and partner agencies. Consultation is key to formulating ongoing good practice and we find our periodic surveys provide us with valuable information, which we then implement at the workplace. The views and opinions of others are crucial to the service we provide. Young people are directly consulted in relation to their risk assessments and are involved in the development of these. Social workers and parents are also asked to read and sign the documents and provide any feedback they desire, which will then
be acted upon by the home.

5.2 Evaluate the health, safety and risk management policies, procedures and practices within the work setting.

Answer – All health safety and risk management policies, procedures and practices within the work setting are evaluated regularly. The risk assessments regarding the young people are a live document and may fluctuate on a regular basis, according to the needs and current affairs of the young people. Any updated information is recorded appropriately and all necessary parties are informed – (parents, social worker, young person) the staff team is then given guidance on how to ensure that any updates are adhered to through the communication log book and daily handovers. Health and safety policies and procedures are reviewed/evaluated annually, or before if required and any areas of concern are addressed without delay and reported appropriately.

5.3 Identify areas of policies, procedures and practices that need improvement to ensure safety and protection in the work setting.

Answer – An example was the decision to remove a tree from the grounds of the building, following consultation with our neighbors. The tree was causing concerns for the neighbours and after speaking to the senior management team and maintenance team, a decision was made to remove it.

5.4 Recommend changes to policies, procedures and practices that ensure safety and protection in the work setting.

Answer – A recommendation I have, which is to ensure safety and protection in the workplace is to lock the downstairs internal doors during the nighttime hours. The reason for this recommendation is to prevent access to dead end rooms with no exit points and allow for a safe exit channel to be utilised in the event of a fire or other emergency situation. I have discussed this issue with my manager, maintenance team and local fire officer and we are hoping to implement it in the near future.

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