Health and safety in the workplace
Unit 25 – Health and Safety in the Workplace
With guidence from my teacher i have selcted a Call Centre industry, which is based in Wigston.
I have been asked to examine Health and Safety issues in this industry and to produce quideline materials for the Call Centre to follow.
In this unit i will basically explore working conditions and how safe conditions can contribute to the success of the organisation as well as respecting the welfare of the employee.
I am required to examine health and safety in this industry and to consider procedures which will assure higher standards of workplace health and safety.
In order to do this i will address the following four tasks given.
I will describe key features of legislation and regulations on health and safety as applied to working conditions in the selected industry.
- My chosen industry is a Call Centre, based in Wigston.
- I have selected one piece of pre 1990 legislation, which is the Health and Safety at Work Act 1992. I will now describe its key features as applied to working conditions in the Call Centre. Shown below:
Health and safety at work Act
We have laws in order to take precautions and to be safe.
The most important application of health and safety, in the call centre industry are shown below:
- Working hours should be short, because it could lead to long term stress.
- The standards relating to the use and sitting of display screen equipment should be good and appropriate, because workers can get Upper Limb Disorders.
- Call handlers may be at a higher risk from related hazards, as they do not usually have the same opportunities as typical office workers to take breaks from display screen activities. The main work activities required of call handlers are to respond to telephone calls and simultaneously use a computer to provide information and enter data. The job of a typical office worker, however, usually also includes tasks such as photocopying and filing. Changes in task such as these provide typical office workers with opportunities to take breaks from display screen activities that call handlers do not have.
- Near to every workstation, there should be at least one footrest and a specialist chair.
- Hot-desking: 'Hot-desking' (i.e. workstations are not assigned, so individuals sit at whichever desk is vacant) is becoming more common in typical offices, but it is standard practice in many call centers. Some call handlers may sit at any workstation within their
team area, and different shifts may also use the same team area. Sometimes, whole teams move to another area in a call centre. Other call handlers sit anywhere in a call centre, not necessarily with their team. Some even hot-desk within a shift, sitting at a different workstation after a break. Hot-desking may affect the health and safety of call handlers so should not be introduced without consultation with call handlers or their representatives in good time
- Proper control of the environment in call centers is very important. Working practices such as '24/7' (24 hours per day, seven days per week) occupancy and layout changes are much more common in call centers than in typical offices, and the effect of these on the environment should also be covered in the risk assessment. Responding to seasonal variations in terms of heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and lighting etc should also be addressed as well as the maintenance programme for the environmental conditions control system and the cleaning programme for the office furnishings and equipment. The cleaning regime for workstation equipment should be particularly strict if call handlers are required to hot-desk. The introduction of any change to any aspect of environmental conditions which may substantially affect call handlers' health and safety should be made in consultation with call handlers or their representatives in good time.
- The layout of the call centre should be in opening spaced and flexible. If this has not been anticipated in the design of the environmental conditions control system, problems may arise such as new privacy screens interrupting airflow and leading to pockets of stagnant air.
- Call centre should be ventilated with either fresh air from outside or re-circulated air that has been adequately filtered and purified. This is to ensure that stale, contaminated, hot or humid air is removed, so workers do not suffer ill health effects such as tiredness, lethargy, headaches, dry or itchy skin and eye irritation. Adequate ventilation is particularly important in call centers, as the high concentration of employees and high level of occupation increase the risk of airborne pollutants and irritants. These, in turn, increase the risk of sickness absence, as bacteria and viruses can cause colds, and dust can irritate the throat and lungs which may contribute to voice problems or trigger asthma. Adequate ventilation also reduces the risk of allergic reactions from volatile organic compounds, such are released by certain glues, paints and carpets, and, with such rapid growth, many call centers are in buildings that have been recently constructed or refurbished, and these materials may have been used.
- Breaks from the headsets help to control call handlers' daily noise exposure.
- Breaks give call handlers' eyes an opportunity to focus at different distances and the chance to rest so reducing the risk of visual fatigue and associated symptoms such as headaches.
- Giving the voice a break from talking to customers may reduce the risk of voice health problems.
- With more frequent breaks, call handlers may also be able to cope better with the demands of their work.
- No loose wires/ cables
The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 requires that you provide the workers with a safe place of work.
This is a preview of the whole essay
Health and safety legislation used to specify actions that an employer must take – for example, with regard to the temperature of a workplace, or the number of fire exits. With the enactment of EU directives in 1992 (fully coming into force by 1996) duties have become wider but vaguer, often requiring employers simply to be 'reasonable'.
Some regulations are specific to industries with known hazards, such as mining or chemical plants. Others apply to all workplaces, including 'benign' environments like offices. Criminal prosecution is the price of a serious breach, especially if a fatality or injury has occurred. If found guilty, you can be fined and/or face jail – for up to two years in some cases. For less serious breaches, Health & Safety Inspectors may demand improvements to safety, or prohibit some activities altogether.
In addition to meeting all statutory requirements, you have a common law duty not negligently to expose staff to harm whilst at work. Otherwise you risk being sued for civil damages by an injured employee or, in the case of death, their dependents. Such cases often rely on failures to
conform to health and safety requirements as evidence of civil liability.
Finally, employees must also take reasonable care whilst at work both for their own protection and that of others. Any training necessary to ensure the safe undertaking of a job must be provided by the employer.
All workers, whether they are permanent staff, agency or contractors, need to be aware of issues that affect their health and safety at work.
These web pages are about helping workers become more aware of the health and safety issues that affect them and their responsibilities, so they can play their part in improving health and safety in the workplace.
If the helth and safety was not there, people would not do the work.
- From the five remaining pices of legislation from the task sheet, i have selected 2 those are appropraite to my industry, and i will describe their key features as applied to working conditions.
Fire precautions Act 1971 -
The Fire Certificate: - is a legal document that you are required to keep in your premise available for inspection. It specifies that the building Owner and the occupiers are responsible for maintaining the Fire Safety Standard of the building and Fire Safety Provisions. The Owner is responsible for the common parts and common or shared systems. Tenants are responsible for fire safety within their occupancy and common or shared systems.
Basic principle - Employers have a duty to make plans for the safety of employees in the case of a fire and employees have a duty to co-operate.
Does everyone need a Fire Certificate? - No! Shops and railway premises do not but there are further guidelines for them in the Approved Code of Practice 1989.
Currently all premises are re-inspected by the Fire Brigade. However, in the future it is likely that only premises with a high risk of danger to life will be policed by the fire authorities. Insurance companies themselves may well inspect the premises.
Who Needs a Fire Certificate? - Buildings where 21+ people are employed, on site, at any one time,
buildings where 11+ people are employed either above or below ground level,
A building where explosive materials are used/stored.
Hotels and boarding houses which sleep 7+ people above or below ground floor level.
However, even if you do not need a fire certificate, all occupied premises must have an adequate means of escape in case of fire and a means of fighting the fire. The Fire Brigade is happy to come along and give a Goodwill advice session. But do a risk assessment yourself first.
A Fire Certificate - This is issued by the Fire Brigade and it should include the following:
What the premises are used for and are there any flammable or explosive items used/stored
Location of fire exits and escapes, alarm systems and fire extinguishers etc. and procedures for testing and maintenance, training and fire drills.
Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 –
- As may be necessary to prevent danger, all systems shall be maintained so as to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, such danger.
- Every work activity, including operation, use and maintenance of a system and work near a system, shall be carried out in such a manner as not to give rise, so far as is reasonably practicable, to danger.
- Any equipment provided under these Regulations for the purpose of protecting persons at work on or near electrical equipment shall be suitable for the use for which it is provided, be maintained in a condition suitable for that use, and be properly used.
Strength and capability of electrical equipment
- No electrical equipment shall be put into use where its strength and capability may be exceeded in such a way as may give rise to danger.
Adverse or hazardous environments
- Electrical equipment which may reasonably foreseeable be exposed to-
(a) Mechanical damage;
(b) The effects of the weather, natural hazards, temperature or pressure;
(c) The effects of wet, dirty, dusty or corrosive conditions; or
(d) Any flammable or explosive substance, including dusts, vapours or gases,
shall be of such construction or as necessary protected as to prevent, as far as is reasonably practicable, danger arising from such exposure.
Insulation, protection and placing of conductors
- All conductors in a system which may give rise to danger shall either-
(a) be suitably covered with insulating material and as necessary protected so as to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, danger; or
(b) Have such precautions taken in respect of them (including, where appropriate, their being suitably placed) as will prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, danger.
Earthling or other suitable precautions
- Precautions shall be taken, either by earthling or by other suitable means, to prevent danger arising when any conductor (other than a circuit conductor) which may reasonably foreseeable become charged as a result of either the use of a system, or a fault in a system, becomes so charged; and, for the purposes of ensuring compliance with this regulation, a conductor shall be regarded as earthed when it is connected to the general mass of earth by conductors of sufficient strength and current-carrying capability to discharge electrical energy to earth.
Integrity of referenced conductors
- If a circuit conductor is connected to earth or to any other reference point, nothing which might reasonably be expected to give rise to danger by breaking the electrical continuity or introducing high impedance shall be placed in that conductor unless suitable precautions are taken to prevent that danger.
- Where necessary to prevent danger, every joint and connection in a system shall be mechanically and electrically suitable for use.
Means for protecting from excess of current
- Efficient means, suitably located, shall be provided for protecting from excess of current every part of a system as may be necessary to prevent danger.
Means for cutting off the supply and for isolation
Subject to paragraph, where necessary to prevent danger, suitable means (including, where appropriate, methods of identifying circuits) shall be available for-
(a) Cutting off the supply of electrical energy to any electrical equipment; and
(b) The isolation of any electrical equipment.
"Isolation" means the disconnection and separation of the electrical equipment from every source of electrical energy in such a way that this disconnection and separation is secure.
some will not apply to electrical equipment which is itself a source of electrical energy but, in such a case as is necessary, precautions shall be taken to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, danger.
Precautions for work on equipment made dead
- Adequate precautions shall be taken to prevent electrical equipment, which has been made dead in order to prevent danger while work is carried out on or near that equipment, from becoming electrically charged during that work if danger may thereby arise.
Work on or near live conductors
- No person shall be engaged in any work activity on or so near any live conductor (other than one suitably covered with insulating material so as to prevent danger) that danger may arise unless-
(a) It is unreasonable in all the circumstances for it to be dead; and
(b) It is reasonable in all the circumstances for him to be at work on or near it while it is live; and
(c) Suitable precautions (including where necessary the provision of suitable protective equipment) are taken to prevent injury.
Working space, access and lighting
- For the purposes of enabling injury to be prevented, adequate working space, adequate means of access, and adequate lighting shall be provided at all electrical equipment on which or near which work is being done in circumstances which may give rise to danger.
Persons to be competent to prevent danger and injury
- No person shall be engaged in any work activity where technical knowledge or experience is necessary to prevent danger or, where appropriate, injury, unless he possesses such knowledge or experience, or is under such degree of supervision as may be appropriate having regard to the nature of the work.
Task 2 – Working Conditions
In this task i will decribe the key requirments for a healthy and safe workplace, which will be applied to my selected industrty.
- With guidence from my teacher i have selected an appropraite industry called Wilson James Ltd.
Below is a source of information, which i have found to support my task.
2.2 million People work in Britain’s construction industry, making it the country’s biggest industry.
It is also one of the most dangerous. In the last 25 years, over 2,800 people have died from injuries they received as a result of construction work. Many more have been injured or made ill.
Between April 2004 and March 2005, 71 workers died and thousands were injured as a result of construction work. The main causes of the fatal accidents were:
- falling through fragile roofs and roof lights
- falling from ladders, scaffolds and other work places
- being struck by excavators, lift trucks or dumpers
- being struck by falling loads and equipment
- being crushed by collapsing structures
- From the five Health and Safety requirements on the task sheet, i will select and describe those are appropriate to my selected industry.
Physical Enviroment – in relation to the work being carried out in construction, impact of working enviroment on quality of work and well being of staff. E.g potentail for falling objects, sharp edges and trailing leads, evacuation assembly areas, site building works, offsite work, organic infestation and insect attcaks.
The work carried out in construction industry, in order with the improvements in health and safety standards using a range of methods including:
- Site inspections.
- Planned interventions.
- Investigation of accidents and complaints.
- Providing guidance and support at visits, by phone or at trade events.
- Educational and promotional activities.
- Enforcement where necessary.
The Construction Sector takes an active role in dealing with the industry and key stakeholders. Its role includes:
- Providing support, advice and guidance at a national level to the operational inspectors.
- Developing and helping deliver plan of work for construction.
- Developing strategies to meet the Governments Revitalizing H&S targets for construction.
- Gathering intelligence about the health and safety performance of the industry.
- Working with key industry stakeholders to improve health and safety.
- Working with national and European bodies in the development of standards
- Producing guidance for the industry.
The Construction Sector is made up of several units:
Safety Unit - This unit deals with
- Technical and policy issues related to safety.
- Safety Portfolio Projects - Work at Height, Slips and Trips
- developing standards
- Provides support and training to operational inspectors.
Technology Unit - The Technology Unit provides specialist technical support to the Construction Division as well as overseeing research on technical issues.
Policy Unit - The Policy Unit’s role is:
- developing new construction legislation
- dealing with wider policy initiatives
- follow up to the Construction Summit
- interface with other Government Departments
Equipment – safety guards, warning sings and sound signal, maintenance frequency materials, macheinery and work place noise.
As for health and safety, staff working in the constuction industry should make sure the following:
Ladders and Towers
When ladders are used they must be used correctly and towers need to be erected by properly trained operatives.
Safer systems of work during the repair of fragile roofs
Construction Slips and Trips
Reduce slips and trips on site.
Traffic Management and Roadwork’s
Encourage industry in promoting the development and adoption of safer traffic management procedures.
Construction Site Transport
Reduce the risk to workers and members of the public from being struck by mobile construction plant and vehicles through the promotion of:
- Effective planning of site layout and design
- Vehicle procurement
Encourage the industry to improve its potential to properly plan lifting operations by raising awareness of the key issues and providing information on how to plan for safe lifting.
Safety Equipment – appropiate to work e.g. protective clothing, fire extinguishers and sprinkler systems and waering goggles while doing work.
Hygeine Facilities – wash hands after work, it may contain glue or other chemicals, which is bad for skin and health.
Temperature/ ventilation should sufficent.
Safety equipment – workers should be provided with goggles, hats, boots or any other equipment which may lead to bad health.
Task 3 – The role and responsibilites of key personnel
I will describe the role and responsibilites for health and safety of key personnel in a selected workplace.
(a) The organisation i have chosen to base my task on, is The City of Leicester College.
The City of Leicester College is a secondary school and sixth form for boys and girls. The age range of the pupils is 11-18.
The City of Leicester College is much larger than most other schools and specializes in business and enterprise. The school is very popular with parents; they want to send more children to the school than there are places available. It serves a stable, but relatively deprived, community. The great majorities of pupils are from a minority ethnic background; most are of Indian heritage. Although most pupils’ first language is not English, only a relatively small proportion is learning English for the first time. The proportion of pupils with learning difficulties is broadly average.
I will now identify the responsible person for health and safety in the college.
(a) The responsible person is Neil Dixon, he is named as a site manager for the college. He is legally responsible for the college health and safety at all times.
(b) Neil Dixon takes up the following measures/ resbonsibilites shown below:
- To make sure that all gates are open in the morning and home time (end time of school)
- All gates are close at lunch times
- Check all smoke and burgalry alarms are working and are in good condition.
- Check if all fire exists, do open. (specially at cold and snowy weathers).
- Girls and boys toilets are in good condition
- Make sure there’s no water leaking
- Temperature of class rooms
- No spilage or hazards, due to trip or fall.
- For the legal person identified in this task, i will now give a description of his organsational and legal responsibilites and accountability.
Neil Dixon has a good understanding of all the requirements, which he has to carry out during school hours or probably out of school hours aswell. His legal responsibility is to check/ monitor students working conditions, and to make sure there is no hazards in classrooms, tables are not wobbling, chairs/ stools are not damaged or broken. Identifying documenting areas for improvements, example going around the school with a checklist and ticking of all the things that are in good condition, and any things that need to be doing, Neil Dixon will tell his manager for a good budget to do the job. Vericating of upgrading/ compliances and securing appropraite budget allocations, if Neil Dixon has not got a good budget, he will therefore be unable to carry out his duties/ responsibilites, which could be legal.
Task – The role and responsibilites of key personnel
In this task i will describe key procedures designed to identify, monitor and address health and safety hazards in the workplace.
(a) Using four main headings on the task sheet, i will set out the key procedures designed to identify, monitor and address health and safety hazards in the workplace.
1 – Risk Assessment = What is a Risk Assessment?
According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), a risk assessment is a "careful examination of what in your work could cause harm to people, so that you can weigh up whether you have taken enough precautions or should do more to prevent harm".
Why do you need to do Risk Assessments?
The short answer is to stop people from being injured or becoming ill through their work.
However, there are other good reasons for carrying them out.
- We all have a moral duty to ensure that our actions are not responsible for harming the health or safety of other people
- Risk assessments are required by law. If you fail to carry out risk assessments and something goes wrong, the Health and Safety Executive or Local Authority could become involved and you could be fined or even imprisoned.
- It makes good business sense. Lower accident rates mean less downtime, improved productivity, lower insurance premiums and the possibility of getting repeat work from satisfied clients.
What does a Risk Assessment Involve?
Risk assessment involves:
- Taking a close look at the work you do and deciding whether the way you carry out that work could affect anyone's health or safety
- and, if you do consider that someone could be harmed,
- Introducing safeguards to ensure that the chances of it happening are eliminated or reduced to an acceptable level.
In practice, it is something that you may already do automatically to one level or another, without thinking of it as a risk assessment or writing anything down. Many things that we do outside work involve assessing the risks and then taking the necessary actions to ensure that we do not come to harm.
Consider this example. When crossing a busy road, rather than just walking into the road, we take into account such factors as:
- The speed and frequency of the traffic
- How wide the road is
- How fast we can get from one side to the other
- How much of a hurry we are in.
If we don't like what we see, we don't cross, but instead take actions (control measures) to ensure that we are not knocked down.
For example, we could either wait for a quiet spell or walk to a pedestrian crossing. In doing so, we have reduced the risk of being knocked down to a level that we are satisfied with.
Of course if you could take away the hazard altogether (not cross the road) you would eliminate all chances of coming to harm from that particular hazard.
For risk assessments at work it is simply a case of applying the same basic principles:
- Identify the dangers (hazards),
- Decide who might be harmed and how,
- Evaluate the existing control measures and then, if necessary,
- Introduce new or revised control measures to reduce the likelihood of harm to an acceptable level - preferably to zero by eliminating the hazard.
Is There Anything Special about my Industry Sector?
Every employer, no matter what their business, has a legal duty to carry out risk assessments and it should not be forgotten that in terms of health and safety legislation an organisation is considered to be an employer even if only one person is employed. The employee could be someone who comes in one day a week for an hour to clean and empty the bins.
It should also be remembered that depending on the nature of the operation and the tasks being carried out, it may be necessary to carry out a number of risk assessments within your organisation.
Risk assessments should anticipate the known changes in the working environment. Then, there are unexpected factors that are beyond your control; e.g. the local council could fit new traffic control measures outside your place of business that would require a change to your standard procedure. Such factors within day to day operations mean that risk assessments should be reviewed on an annual basis and will require a degree of flexibility.
2 – Monitoring and prevention = it is very important to have trained staff including casual staff, and making sure there is no under age labour, the flouting of working hour regulations (male and female should have same working hours depending on their wants. Ensuring equipment is used in accordance with manufactures/ companies instructions. Observations of required rest breaks, fitted safety devices e.g. smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, regular arrangements and monitoring of fire and emergency evacuation procudures, perodic health occupational health questionnaires, evidence of eroded safety observance due to business pressures.
3 – Training and staff development = industry related hazards, this mean all staff while training, need to be aware of all the hazards in their workplace, so they can be a little more caution.
Department representative – health and safety offices and first aiders. (a first aid box should always be in a workplace)
Awareness rising across organisation – benchmarking best practise.
4 – Response = Procedures for recording and reporting accidents and dangerous occurrences in a note book. Record types could be accident books, rigour keeping (organisation and legal).
Regular review of records and consequent action planning on daily basis.
Distinguishing issues, which can be remedied immediatley and those which require specailist attention and also provision of public liability insurance.
For me to gain a distinction, I will be using my selected industry and making realistic recommendations for raising health, safety standards and practices in the selected workplace and associated industry. My selected industry is Leicester Tiger.
- It is very dangerous to bring glass in the stadium. It can cause all sorts of hazards. Glass could come from the bar, which is based near the stadium. In order to prevent this, Leicester tigers could have a meeting with the bar manager, to discuss that they should provide plastic or some other soft material, instead of glass.
- Leicester tiger fans could bring along with them daggers or inappropriate materials, which could harm other people or players. To prevent this, it will be a good idea to have metal detectors or guards searching who they suspect.
- I also think that people should be band from bringing food from home or shops into the stadium, example if they eat a sandwich from home and chips from the bar, they probably blame Leicester tigers.