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Occupational Health and Safety (or Workplace Health and Safety in some regions) is a vitally important aspect of any workplace or office. Failure to follow simple procedures to ensure the wellbeing of your staff can lead to lengthy and costly legal battles that severely disrupt your business. To find out more about what can lead to or happen during such a legal case, it’s a good idea to seek advice from a law firm that specialises in workplace injury cases, such as  Turner Freeman Lawyers. .

But, if you’re looking to prevent this from occurring, there are steps you can take to avoid workplace accidents, ensure workers are protected as much as possible, and mitigate the potential impact of an incident. Here are five rules that are essential for a safe and healthy working environment.

1. Health and Safety Committees (HSCs)

It is vital to establish a committee to handle health and safety concerns before they become major issues. This committee should consist of both employer representatives and staff representing their colleagues. Their broad duties are to help the employer develop risk mitigation procedures and address the concerns of the workers. They can also be valuable in spreading safety messages to staff and supervisors. Most importantly, they must have sufficient autonomy to do their job and adhere to any occupational health and safety laws.

2. Workplace Health and Safety Officer

To help with day-to-day matters, the committee can appoint a staff health and safety officer. This person can be the face of the committee and receive direct complaints or suggestions from staff and passing them on to the committee. In some instances, the health and safety officer might be able to resolve issues on the floor without the need to escalate the matter further.

3. Occupational Health and Safety Legislation

Both the committee and the officer will most likely have to follow some occupational health and safety legislation in order to do their job properly and to have some legal standing should an accident occur that causes an injury. The officer and committee members should be aware of any local standards, regulations, codes of practice, and any other reference material that can help them with their decisions regarding health and safety in the workplace.

4. Workplace Audits

It is a good idea to regularly walk through work areas to undertake a safety audit. Look for any potential hazards and try to develop strategies to deal with any perceived or identified risks. After all, it is pointless making an effort to identify hazards if you aren’t going to do anything about eliminating or minimising them.

5. Encourage Communication

Last but not least, encourage workers to talk to each other and management about potential safety hazards in the workplace. These are the people on the floor, day in and day out, and they will be the first to notice anything that might be a risk in the future. They can express their concerns informally, as they arise, or at weekly meetings held specifically to discuss occupational health and safety issues.

Safety in the workplace is everyone’s responsibility, but taking a few precautions and putting a few procedures in place will go a long way towards keeping your staff safe and healthy during the work day.

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