Employers have a legal and moral obligation to train, inform, and provide for their staff’s safety, and well-being, as well as for emergencies. Emergencies can occur at any time, so workplaces need to always be ready for any dire situations that could occur and take steps to minimise their impact, such as insurance.
Employers have to account for fires, earthquakes, accidents, loss of life, chemical spills, explosions, and many more dangerous situations that can put employees at risk. These emergencies can cause untrained and uninformed employees to panic, potentially putting themselves and others at risk as well.
First Aid and Medical Emergencies
First aid does not only mean having a trained medical staff or a few first aid supplies on hand, though that usually depends on the type of work being carried out. If employees perform any work that could put them at risk or any kind of dangerous work, it is required to have trained medical personnel on hand. Generally, the workforce would have been trained on the first aid at work course and will have all the necessary qualifications to provide emergency first aid.
Even a small office workspace requires at least one person who is in charge of providing first aid and is trained to do so. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) also recommends that every workplace have someone in charge of calling emergency services and that employers keep their employees informed about such practices and the procedures they must follow.
Receiving a first aid training course for more than just one or a handful of employees can also make a workplace safer, allowing employees to be able to administer first aid only in an event when the responsible medical staff is not available and emergency first aid is required.
Emergencies in Working with Hazardous Materials
There are workplaces in which employees work with dangerous chemicals and materials that could be harmful if they come into contact with the skin or any part of the body. In such cases, employees are provided with proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). PPE protects workers from being put at risk when working with dangerous hazards.
Regular risk assessments carried out by trained personnel is necessary. However, should there be any accidents, such as defective equipment or spillage, emergency decontamination measures and showers to clean off any dangerous fluids has to be provided.
Fire Safety and Emergency Preparedness
Fire safety is necessary in all premises, whether it is in a home, an office space, or a heavy industry workplace with plenty of machinery and industrial equipment being used. Fire safety is something that businesses in the UK need to be more aware of in current years due to the rising number of electronics and appliances.
There were 153,278 fires in the UK in the year 2020, with 221 fire-related deaths. Fire safety responsibilities fall to the employer in a workplace, who must ensure and provide for these emergencies in any event they occur.
Fire safety regulations range from providing smoke detectors and fire extinguishers near ignition objects to having proper fire exit routes and proper fire doors. These fire doors protect workers and give them time to escape in the event of a fire, as they can withstand a fire from half an hour to almost 60 minutes.
Workplaces in the UK can be prepared for emergencies by conducting risk assessments and appoint fire wardens, who can ensure compliance and provide guidelines to employers on how to keep their workers safe.
Conduct Regular Risk Assessments and Inspections
Risk assessments are necessary to check for the potential safety risks a workplace might have, whereas inspections are there to assess the risk control measures already in place. One of the best practices for employers to be prepared for emergencies is to take proactive measures against them. A fire safety risk assessment, for example, helps employers become aware of potential fire hazards so they can put control measures in place.
An inspection can reveal any defective equipment, including one that is used in emergencies. For example, if you have a fire extinguisher that is almost expired, a safety inspection check can reveal that the fire extinguisher needs to be replaced. That way, potential emergencies can be avoided from becoming worse, especially if there are no backup measures to deal with potential fires.
Emergency preparedness can save many lives, not to mention minimise loss of work and property as well. Employers have the legal responsibility to manage and be prepared for emergencies. Workplace first aid training, fire safety training, and other certifications are necessary for personnel to be trained for emergencies.
Providing for proper systems and emergency procedures, such as regular training drills, inspections, risk assessments, and more are also some legal requirements that this blog covers.