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Health And Safety In The Workplace Essay


It is vital that organisations abides by specific health and safety laws to ensure that not employee is harmed within the workplace. Firstly most organisations would consider the hazards of the workplace; these are the factors that could potentially harm, damage or injure someone or something during processes used by the organisation. Then most organisations would consider the risk of each hazard, this means the probability of the hazard actually causing harm or injury [1]. Identifying the hazards and risks, allows the organisation to work out specific precautions that would help to minimise the risk by creating rules or regulations within the work place. Most organisations would show this evaluation of health and safety in their workplace as a risk assessment, which is very important because it allows both employers and employees to know how to be safe and what precautions they need to take in order to reduce the possibility of someone or something being damaged [2].


The Health and Safety at Work Act also known as the ‘HSAWA’ or ‘HSW’ was introduced in 1974. The Act was created to ensure that the workplaces of all organisations protect ‘the health, safety and welfare of persons at work’ [3]. It involves identifying the hazards in each department of the organisation to reduce the risks in the process or method that the employees used to make the product or develop the service provided. Furthermore the Act prohibits the use of extremely hazardous, dangerous and flammable products unless the risk assessment specifically shows how the hazards will be prevented, for example the use of protective clothing like lab coats, gloves and goggles but also the high supervision that there would need to be in order for the process which uses the substance to be allowed to continue.

The substances might not just be hazardous to employees but to the environment, the Health and Safety at Work Act attempts to reduce the amount of harmful emissions that are given out into the atmosphere. In addition it can include the stability of the workplace by analysing the buildings condition to ensure that the building isn’t likely to collapse when employees are at work, also it ensures that the work place has special safety features like fires doors so that the risk of employees being burn in a fire is reduced [3].

The employer of the organisation is responsible for committing to the regulations of the Health and Safety at Work Act and maintaining the use of the risk assessment throughout the work place, mainly by creating a specific written safety policy that can easily be understood by employees which shows suitable precautions on the risk assessment. It is the duty of the employer to provide the correct training for all members of staff to ensure everyone has a strong understanding of the health and safety regulations.

The appropriate training can be given from attending health and safety courses; also the employer has to give the staff the equipment that they need to be safe in the workplace including protective equipment as precautions to reduce the risk of the hazard. The workplace must be considered as a safe environment by the government; this means that the organisation must provide emergency procedures (like fire drills) and specific first aid facilities if a hazard did harm an employee. Most organisations ensure that his happens by using safety signs indicating things like fire exits and reminders of precautions to take when using certain equipment or substances [4].

Furthermore the employer has to make sure that materials and resources are stored properly in safe environments to stop anything getting contaminated or broken. Substances need to be controlled to make sure that the risk of explosive or high flammable substances from causing a fire is reduced as much as possible. The transportation of the materials is also important to ensure nothing is damaged during transfer and that there is a place to safely unload to materials at the workplace. The final roles of the employer is to ensure that if any new materials or processes are introduced in the workplace that they are added to the risk assessment to keep it updated to that health and safety regulations can always be kept to.

The employees also have many roles in the workplace to help keep to the Health and Safety at Work Act. They must have a sensible relationship with their employer so that they can report any issues with the risk assessment or report the behaviour of other employees when using the equipment or material. Ensure that other employees are being safe and help make sure that everyone understands what they need to do in certain situations like fire drills. However the employees are not allowed to interfere with anything that relates to the providing of health and safety equipment or clothing protection as this up to the employer [4].


The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations also known as the ‘MHSWR’ was introduced in 1999 was developed as part of the Health and Safety at Work Act to show the specific separated of roles between the employers and employees [4][5].

The regulations involves looking into the different aspects of the workplace and evaluating how everything hazard and risk can affect each member of staff by looking capability in health and safety situations – for example an older employee could struggle to get down stairs quickly if there was a fire; instead the employer could move the employee to an office or laboratory on a lower floor. Overall this management of the issues and the precautions that can be used to avoid hazards, the following list shows the 30 sections to the Management of Health and safety at Work Regulations:

1. Citation, commencement and interpretation
2. Disapplication of these Regulations
3. Risk assessment
4. Principles of prevention to be applied
5. Health and safety arrangements
6. Health surveillance
7. Health and safety assistance
8. Procedures for serious and imminent danger and for danger areas
9. Contacts with external services
10. Information for employees
11. Co-operation and co-ordination
12. Persons working in host employers’ or self-employed persons’ undertakings
13. Capabilities and training
14. Employees’ duties
15. Temporary workers
16. Risk assessment in respect of new or expectant mothers
17. Certificate from registered medical practitioner in respect of new or expectant mothers
18. Notification by new or expectant mothers
19. Protection of young persons
20. Exemption certificates
21. Provisions as to liability
22. Exclusion of civil liability
23. Extension outside Great Britain
24. Amendment of the Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981
25. Amendment of the Offshore Installations and Pipeline Works (First-Aid) Regulations 1989
26. Amendment of the Mines Miscellaneous Health and Safety Provisions Regulations 1995
27. Amendment of the Construction (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1996
28. Regulations to have effect as health and safety regulations
29. Revocations and consequential amendments

30. Transitional provision

The person responsible for the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations is the employer, who must assess any possible risks and manage them in a professional method so that the employees are safe from injury, when undertaking specific tasks. They must ensure that employees have the correct training and knowledge for emergency situations. Furthermore the employees must comply with the regulations created and attend any training or instruction sessions. Also the employees must feel that the person in charge of health and safety is approachable so that they can communicate any concerns they have about the health and safety of other employees and report anything they sense could be potentially dangerous or harmful [7].

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations is no longer seen as a requirement for an organization to abide by [8].


The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations also known as ‘PUWER’ was made on the 15th of September 1998, laid before Parliament on the 25th of September 1998 and was enforced and formally introduced on the 5th of December 1998 [9].

The regulations were created so that organisations would address dangerous situations to control the risk of the hazard and prevent the employees getting seriously injured or killed due to a piece of equipment in their method of work. After this was introduced there was the creation of the ‘Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (1998)’ which also helped reduce the probability of employees getting injured. The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations applies to any employer even if they are self-employed and complies to anyone in the organisation who uses the equipment at work; these regulations do not cover the use of equipment by the public as this comes under the Health and Safety at Work Act. The PUWER covers every aspect of equipment used in an organisation from machinery to office furniture; any equipment could be a possible hazard to an employee’s health. This means that all equipment should be regularly test so that it complies to the safety regulations of the CE mark [10].

It is up to the employers and employees to stick to the regulations and ensure that the equipment is:

Suitable for its intended use
This means that the equipment should provide a specific purpose/function in the organisation so that no useless equipment is forgotten about.

Safe for use and suitably maintained
The equipment used should be safety checked to see if it is totally safe to use in the process so that it is not likely that the equipment with cause a hazard. For example machinery should be regularly checked so that it could not cause a fire. Also the maintenance of the equipment means that things are regularly cleaned so that in, for example, a biological lab there is no spread of bacteria or organisms between samples.

Used by people who have received training
This literally means that employees need to be qualified and educated in the used of the equipment so this could involve going on training courses or reading instruction manuals so they have good knowledge of what to do it the equipment breaks or how the equipment could cause injury to an employee which would reduce the risk of the hazard occurring.

Accompanied by suitable protective devices, warning and instructions This is mainly the role of the employer to provide safety signs or instructions near the equipment to reminder employees of how to reduce the risks. Also when using chemicals it is vital that the correct clothing is provided like lab coats, safety goggles and protective goggles so that the chemical cannot harm the employees. Protective devices can be used to indicate when a piece of equipment is dangerous or broken so that the employees do not injure themselves on it [4].


The Food Safety Act of 1990 was developed in the Food Safety Regulations of 1995 and the following concept was create to help food industries to produce high quality products that’s consumers would recognise for their safety and hygiene when creating the product [4]. The Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points also known as ‘HACCP’ is an internationally used process that ensures that only food sold is safe to consume. The food products are analysed and evaluated using biological, chemical and physical techniques in order to assess any possible hazards throughout the process or handling, manufacturing, distribution and eventually eating the food product. The points provide a simple systemic approach to discovering hazards and risks and the creation of the risk assessment with suitable precautions [11][12].

Many organisation abide by the legislations of the HACCP and EU food hygiene to guarantee customers that their food is hygienically prepared without any issues of health and safety – for example some products may have no possibility of a spread of bacteria disease. There are 7 main aspects that the HACCP looks into:

1. identify any hazards that must be prevented eliminated or reduced This means that the employer, employees and health and safety experts must find every possible hazard that could potentially harm the food or the person who eats the food and form this information into a list or table.

2. identify the critical control points (CCPs) at the steps at which control is essential This involves evaluating all the points made in the first list to pick out the most vital hazards that need to be definitely controlled to not happen.

3. establish critical limits at CCPs
This is identifying the risks and probability of the hazard and knowing the worst outcome if the hazard wasn’t controlled at all.

4. establish procedures to monitor the CCPs
This is the way in which the organisation plans to keep the hazard under control and reduce the risk; these are the precautions planned to be used/taken.

5. establish corrective actions to be taken if a CCP is not under control This is like a back-up plan if the precaution does not work and this can change depending on the situation or environment. For example if one of the machines that is used to cook the meat sets on fire then sprinklers shoot water from the ceiling and the building is evacuated to avoid any employees being injured.

6. establish procedures to verify whether the above procedures are working effectively This involves evaluating the precautions used to reduce the probability of a hazard being uncontrollable to decide which methods are best to control it.

7. establish documents and records to demonstrate the effective application of the above measures The creation of risk assessments and written documents so that the organisation can keep a record of their hazards and risks to make their product as safe as possible.

Most employers create detailed documents that contain 4 sections; firstly a plan is created to identity how food product can be safe and how their food product needs to be safe and hygienically prepared. This section is important because it reduces the probability of infection from either dangerous bacteria or chemical or physical contamination of any meat or plant products. Furthermore it allows the organisation to see how food poisoning can be reduced in their food product, possibly from cooked and uncooked foods having contact.

The following section is completing the actions planned in the first section to ‘try out’ the precautions for a set period of time. Meanwhile the next section should be taking place; this is supervising and monitoring the effect that the precautions being taken is having an effect on the actual product by making sure it is more safe to eat. The final section is acting to correct the precautions like if the food product still contains unnecessary bacteria then it needs to be cleaned and disinfected more [13].


The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations also known as ‘COSHH’ was introduced in 2002 and ensure that all employers were controlling the use of any potentially hazardous substances that their employees use. The regulations were created as extreme amendments to the ‘Control of Substances Hazardous to Work Regulations 1999’ [14]. The regulations forced employers to find a less hazardous substance to use, however if this is not possible then practical solutions need to be made so that the risk of any type of injury relating to the use of substances in the workplace is either totally eliminated or strongly reduced to protect the health of the staff working for the organisation [15].

To make sure the regulations are met most organisations stick to 4 specific factors to pass external inspections of the workplace:

The use of detailed but understandable risk assessment specific to the different substances used The control of exposures in which the risk can be reduced
The study of health surveillance among the employees
Plan of action if an accident was to occur in the workplace (first aid facilities) [14]

The following list shows the processes used to control the hazards in organisations in order to comply with the COSHH regulations:

finding out what the health hazards are;
deciding how to prevent harm to health (risk assessment);
providing control measures to reduce harm to health;
making sure they are used;
keeping all control measures in good working order;
providing information, instruction and training for employees and others; providing monitoring and health surveillance in appropriate cases; planning for emergencies.

These regulations are taken extremely seriously by both the employer and their employees as the inappropriate use of harmful substances is a crime and can be punished with fines of up to £400 on a summary conviction [14].


The Codes of Practices and Recommendations used in Education involves ‘The Consortium of Local Authorities for Provision of Science Services’ also known as ‘CLEAPSS’. This covers local organisations like schools and other types of educational establishments to make sure they are safe within the service they are providing.

CLEAPSS is based on 6 aspects of the organisation:

Risk assessments
This introduction of these into an establishment immediately improves its health and safety because it identifies any hazards and evaluates the risk and probability of it occurring and then suggests suitable methods or precautions to take to reduce the possibility of the hazard happening.

Chemicals, living organisms and equipment
This relates to the rules of the ‘Control of Substances Hazardous to Health’ regulations which covers any use of chemicals for example in science lessons at a secondary school the teacher and pupils would have to take precautions like wearing protective clothing or diluting the chemical. Also the ‘Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations’ is used in this area to ensure that the equipment is safe to use, especially electrically equipment in schools and colleges need to have regular safety checks to reduce the hazard of fires or electrocution.

Sources of resources
This can relate in an environmental way to study where the materials needed for these establishments comes from. For example the paper needed for schools comes from trees so it is vital that more trees are planted when some are cut down for the paper to help create a more sustainable environment.

Laboratory design, facilities and fittings
This ensures that places like school science laboratories are safe to use. Not only should the electrically equipment work properly but the cabinets and workbenches should be fitted securely and in suitable places and the floor should not cause any kind of tripping hazard.

Technician and their jobs
This means that fully trained and qualified technical staff need to be employed in order for the establishment to have people in case there is any kind of emergency or injury.

Some D&T facilities and fittings
This is similar to the design of science laboratories however in design and technology situations there is more important equipment like machines that need to be safety checked and well trained staff need to supervise the use of it. Also safety instructions and signs can be used around the room to ensure that everyone knows how to use machinery or who to ask for help [4].

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