OHSAS 18001 Helping to Reduce Occupational Personal Injuries

The personal injury industry is big business in the UK. Following the legalisation of referral fees by the previous Labour government, the market is on the verge of spiralling out of control with a net worth of around £1.8 billion pounds annually for solicitors. Businesses are now taking more conscious steps to crack down on health and safety issues in the UK to ensure that they are both looking after their employees in the workplace but also that they are covered when it comes to their legal obligations.

The Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974 laid down the initial law surrounding occupational health and safety. There have been more recent developments since the initial Act but the main principle remains the same. The Act gives the general duty of an employer to ‘ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all his employees’. As this is a legal responsibility, failure to adhere to the legislation can cause serious consequences for employers. If there were to be an accident, and the wellbeing of the employee was not taken care of, the employer would be negligible and could face a hefty law suit if it was proven that they did not carry out their duty of care.

There are a number of ways by which businesses can ensure that they are complying with the legislation. One way is to ensure that all of your staff have current and up-to-date health and safety training so that they are fully aware of how they should use any equipment which could be dangerous. Additionally, that they have knowledge about what is expected of them.

Risk assessments are another area which must be addressed, these can be for day to day risks and also for one off events where extra risks are added to the business.

More often than not businesses have loose procedures in place about how they attack health and safety in the workplace. However, more organisations are now opting to really prove their worth with regards to health and safety by implementing a robust system. In the UK the British Standards Institute offers the OHSAS 18001 certification which helps businesses to put a secure Health and Safety Management System into place. The system presented by OHSAS 18001 is comprehensive and thorough and covers all strategies previously mentioned in this article along with others. When achieving the OHSAS 18001 certification through an assessment process an expert will help a business to become compliant with the standard and this external eye often catches areas which you have not previously thought to manage.

Along with implementing the Health and Safety Management System, the OHSAS 18001 standard stipulates that systems and policies must be correctly documented. This can be of great advantage to a business if an accident were to occur in the workplace as it backs up the argument that there was a system in place to reduce the risks of injury in the workplace.

With the number of personal injury claims growing, health and safety is an area which shouldn’t be left to one side in the business. Given care and consideration, the work environment can be made much better with the inclusion of health and safety policies.

About the Author: This article is written on behalf of QMS International PLC, a company offering ISO certification and the OHSAS 18001 standard, helping businesses to raise their health and safety management system to a high standard which, in turn, will reduce the the risk of an injury occurring in the workplace.

Rebecca Field writes on behalf of QMS International, a company specialising in ISO certification. Their keep it simple approach and hassle free assessment process allows organisations to achieve certification in as little as 30 days.
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