AN AID TO PREPARING A SAFETY STATEMENT
An aid to preparing a safety statement for small business
by Andrew O’ Gorman, Head of Bar Management Department DIT, Honorary Life Member Bartenders Association of Ireland and The Irish Guild of Sommeliers.
The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 1989 requires all employers to prepare a Safety Statement in writing for their workplace. A model Safety Statement, suitable for many small low-technology employments, employing perhaps 10 people or less, where the proprietor/manager takes personal responsibility for all practical arrangements for worker's health and safety, is set out below. This model will help the publican in meeting health and safety requirements.
A Safety Statement is basically an action programme setting out how health and safety is managed in the workplace. It needs to be kept up to date. A comprehensive Safety Statement is a practical tool for reducing accidents and ill health at work. The Safety Statement is based on the principle that safety can be managed, since accidents and diseases are foreseeable and can usually be prevented. In no way is it to be seen as a paper exercise of little value other than satisfying a legal requirement. For small businesses preparation of a Safety Statement should be a simple and straightforward matter.
The first step is to identify the hazards. A hazard is anything which can potentially cause harm. A useful non-exhaustive checklist of possible hazards is included in the attached model. Experience in the enterprise will also show the most common causes of accidents or ill health.
The second step is to assess the risk linked with the hazards identified. Risk is the likelihood that harm could occur from a particular hazard, assessing the risk indicates how severe the harm could be. For most small businesses a descriptive rather than a quantitative approach is appropriate. For manual handling hazards, for example, the risk assessment may need to be little more than noting down that there is a likelihood of back injury and setting out the preventive measures in the Safety Statement.
It is also useful to review the most common causes of accidents and, if they are present in the business, to deal with them in the Safety Statement. These include handling goods, slips, trips and falls, moving machinery, hot surfaces, hazardous substances, hand tools, falling objects, fire and transport hazards.
The control measures and the resources necessary to reduce the risks to an acceptable level have to be indicated in the Safety Statement, sources of help in deciding on control measures are the legislation itself, codes of practice, standards and good general practice within the industry, including information in machinery manuals and chemical safety data sheets. Outside competent advice should be sought where there is any doubt or if it is necessary to cope with serious risks.
It is also important to make sure that adequate information, training and supervision are given to employees to safeguard health and safety and that there is consultation with employees on health and safety matters. These arrangements should be outlined in the safety statement. From time to time employers should
monitor compliance with the Safety Statement and ensure that safety controls are kept in place. Employees also have responsibilities and they should know and understand their role under the Safety Statement.
The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 1989 and 1993 General Application regulations (S.I. No. 44 of 1993), available from the Stationery Office, are important, but other Acts or Regulations may also apply, depending on the work being carried on. The Health and Safety Authority publishes a wide range of guidance material, which is available from its offices throughout the country, and has an information service which will respond to queries for assistance. There is a poster available, summarising the main requirements of the law. This poster should be displayed in a prominent position in your workplace.
Managing health and safety effectively will result in reduced insurance costs as well as those due to work disruption from accidents and ill health. The Safety Statement is an indispensable tool to this end.
As mentioned earlier, preparation of a safety statement capable of passing the scrutiny of the Inspector is a fairly complicated issue. It may be outside the scope of some working publicans and could only be prepared with professional advice. Safety statements can run up to thirty pages of detail and it is quite possible that many firms offering their services in the preparation of safety statements could not possibly reach the standard of input and layout required. In this context a reputable firm should be consulted and if in doubt the publican should contact the Health and Safety Authority or the Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment for advice.
Accidents, Incidents and Emergencies
All accidents and incidents must be reported to the publican or manager on the standard form which should be available.
All pubs should have a floor plan and an evacuation plan located in a prominent position.
Public Houses should have a specific set of procedures to be followed in case of accident or emergency. All staff should be informed of such procedures in so far as is reasonably practicable, and must adhere to them.
The publican will have responsibility for ensuring that investigations are held concerning all accidents.
Reviews and Records
A review should take place on an annual basis of the Public House's Parent Safety Statement and all ancillary safety statements.
The review should be fully comprehensive and should cover all matters which affect safety, health and welfare in the workplace.
Staff should be invited to contribute to the review through their safety representative.
Review of relevant safety procedures should take place following all accidents and incidents.
The publican should adhere to all statutory requirements concerning the keeping of records.
Hazards In A PubAndrew O'Gorman
provides you with the information you need regarding the hazards in your licensed premise. more>>