Do You Believe Any Of These Common Health And Safety Myths?
Posted on 11th Aug, 2017 | By Lorretta Tatham
At Browns Safety, we’ve been in working in the industry for a long time, and over our years in business we’ve heard a few recurrent health and safety myths surface every now and again. We know that the physical and mental wellbeing of employees is important to any employer, so with that in mind we thought it was worth taking the time to address some of these misconceptions.
Here are some of the most common health and safety myths:
- Hazard-free workplaces are impossible.
- Employees are responsible for following health and safety.
- Health and safety is just common sense.
- Stress and tiredness aren’t proper health and safety risks.
- Fire risk assessments are optional.
So, what’s the truth about each of them?
Hazard-Free Workplaces Are Impossible
While it’s no doubt a challenge to keep workplaces safe – especially more inherently unstable environments like workshop floors or warehouses – it’s by no means impossible, and to say so otherwise is misleading. Chance can sometimes play a part, but the fact is that the majority of workplace accidents are entirely avoidable – which means the ultimate goal of a hazard free workplace should never be dismissed as unrealistic.
Employees Take Final Responsibility For Following Safety Procedure
This is a very sweeping statement, one which implies that employers ultimately aren’t responsible for their workers. This is simply untrue. Employers have a duty of care to their employees; in the eyes of the law, if someone injured at work, the final responsibility still rests with the employer. It’s the employer’s duty, therefore, to set down appropriate health and safety measures, and to see that they’re suitably enforced. This includes, for example, ensuring that employees wear personal protection equipment (PPE) when the situation calls for it.
Health And Safety Is ‘Just Common Sense’
It’s not enough to assume that everyone can work out safe working procedure for themselves. Indeed, such assumptions can be downright dangerous. A lack of knowledge and training is a major contributory factor to many workplace accidents, and as we’ve already mentioned above, the responsibility for creating and enforcing these guidelines rests with the employer.
Stress And Tiredness Aren’t Proper Health Risks
Even today, this is still a worryingly widespread belief. The truth is that both stress and tiredness are very real health risks to employees. In fact, we’ve already posted an entire blog on the topic of what kind of undesirable scenarios can arise from employees not getting enough rest. Stress is a similar risk factor, and can lead to mistakes or errors of judgement, which in turn can potentially lead to injuries.
It’s up to employers to ensure that their workers are getting enough rest, both physically and mentally, to enable them to perform their jobs to the best of their ability.
Fire Risk Assessments Are Optional
This is an especially pervasive but entirely false assumption. In the UK, according to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order of 2005, it’s a legal requirement for businesses to carry out a fire assessment on all premises where people could be working. It doesn’t matter whether the premises in question comprises an office, a school or a warehouse, the law is equally applicable in all cases. And – you may be seeing a pattern here – the onus rests on the employer to ensure it is effectively carried out.
Health and Safety is one of our primary concerns here at Browns Safety, and we run a number of courses to help both employers and employees ensure that they are up to speed with the relevant legislation. To make an enquiry or to book your place, just give us a call on 01282 615517.
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