All workplaces should be prepared to deal with an emergency of any nature, at any time. Therefore the best time to respond to an emergency is before it happens.
The saying goes, “Fail to plan; plan to fail,” and it applies to preparation and response. Having a plan in place to deal with emergencies, and ensuring that all employees are aware of it and trained on it. This is one of the best things that your company can do to prepare to deal with an emergency. Below, we’ve listed some tips for emergency planning and preparedness in the workplace:
Include policies and procedures for employee safety. Consider a spills response plan if your company houses, uses, or transport dangerous chemicals. Also a lockdown procedure in case of a violent event. This plan should also include contingency plans that deal with potential damage to facilities, and how employees, vendors, and customers will be handled during and after the event. Be sure to include a chain of command and that all workers know from whom to expect communication in the event of an emergency.
What good is an emergency response plan if no one knows about it, or what it contains? Training is a crucial part of any plan’s success. Communicate the plan with everybody, and ensure that everybody understands the roles, responsibilities, and expectations for every employee – from manager down to worker.
Best practice stipulates that all workplace policies and procedures should be reviewed at least annually to ensure that any changes to the business in the past year are addressed and/or still applicable. If a change is made to the workplace that drastically affects the plan, it should be reviewed at that time and updated to reflect the change.
Having a plan in place and following it when the time comes will mitigate the damage to your business and hopefully reduce or completely avoid injury or fatality to your workforce. It may also help you get back to business sooner, which is important for your bottom line.
Until recently, bringing your four-legged, furry pal to work was unheard of. For the most part, it still is. However, some employers are exploring the benefits of allowing employees to bring their dogs in the workplace. For dog lovers, it’s a dream come true. For those who dislike dogs, it’s a nuisance. And, for employers concerned with health and safety in the workplace, allowing dogs at work represents a massive grey area and a bit of a safety conundrum. For those of you reading this at work, with Oscar at your feet, don’t worry! There are ways to make sure that having dogs at work doesn’t negatively impact health and safety.
The impact on morale of having a cute dog in the workplace is usually quite noticeable. It is said to decrease stress. As well, dogs have a positive impact on employee interactions and socialisation. They create a common ground on which important connections can be built. Allowing workers to bring dogs to work can even increase productivity!
Some employers are exploring allowing employees to bring dogs to work as a way to strengthen their image, increase retention, and reduce stress. However, among employers who do not allow dogs at work, health and safety concerns were the most oft-cited reason. Below are some common health and safety concerns regarding having dogs in the workplace:
While dogs are known to improve social interactions, they may instigate too many conversations, distracting workers from the task at hand. Employees may wander around to visit the dogs, spend too much time playing or engaging with them, or take multiple breaks to take their own or a co-worker’s dog outside.
Dogs can be hairy, and most breeds shed. That means a lot of hair around the office. Dogs are also prone to fleas and various canine illnesses, which may be transmitted to workers. And of course, the big one: while the majority of dogs are well-trained to do their business where and when appropriate, accidents do happen. In the event of an accidental misuse of the office rug, a biohazard would be created and have to be dealt with properly.
Who doesn’t love to share the office space with a co-worker’s beloved black lab? Anyone with an allergy or a phobia, that’s who. Some people have allergies so severe, that even having the dog in another department that shares airflow can be problematic. As well, dog phobias need to be recognized and respected. Anyone with a severe phobia who has to deal with a dog at work is at risk for psychosocial hazards.
All dogs are not created equal. Some are big, some are small, and some fall in-between. What they share is that when they’re lying at your feet, or in a high-traffic area, they become trip hazards. Trips and falls can cause serious injuries, and the dog may even be injured. Another serious hazard to humans to consider is biting. Even the best temperamental animal may bite if he feels threatened. A lot of people crowding around a dog that is not used to it may cause the dog to act out in ways that are not typical, including biting. Bites can be very serious because of both the trauma inflicted and the bacteria from the dog’s mouth that gets transferred to the wound.
Most dogs are very good boys! But sometimes, even good boys get into mischief. Unfortunately, it could result in property damage. Chewing, toileting, digging, clawing, or sometimes even excessive hair to clean up, are all taxing on the physical facility, and have the potential to cause damage. Repairs may be costly, and cleaning staff may add a surcharge for additional clean-up as required.
If your workplace serves the public, allowing dogs in the workplace opens the employer to many liabilities, especially if a dog injures a customer.
If you want to explore the benefits of allowing employees to bring dogs to work, it is definitely possible to do so safely. Before making any major decisions, consider the nature of your workplace and whether it is appropriate for an animal. From there, consider a policy for bringing dogs to work that includes the following elements:
Whatever you decide, having it written in a policy is a great way of ensuring that all of your employees dogs and employees on in agreement and happy in their work environment.
If you want to know more about risk assessment or safety training at work, Contact us by phone +353 1 278 1938 or email email@example.com or take one of our Online Safety Courses, enrol today and do it at your own pace.
The Health and Safety Authority today (05/09/18) celebrated 200,000 plus learners over ten years of its flagship programme Choose Safety. This is aimed at post-primary senior cycle students and students in further education. Choose Safety aims to prepare young people with skills for the world of work through educating them about safety, health and welfare.
More than 28,000 students participated in the Choose Safety programme. These are from;
A total of 647 institutions were involved last year and that included 63% of post-primary schools nationwide. Within further education, the programme is taught to growing numbers of students on plc courses. Courses at Levels 4 and 5 on the National Framework of Qualifications. Within Youthreach, and the National Learning Network.
Speaking at a seminar to mark the occasion was Chief Executive of the Health and Safety Authority, Dr. Sharon McGuinness. She said that the success of the programme comes from the wide recognition that safety, health and welfare is a core concern within employment. Young people need to be aware of their rights and responsibilities around safety, health and welfare at work.
Dr. McGuinness said;
“Young people, as new recruits, are at a higher risk of workplace injury than their more experienced colleagues. Their lack of experience, combined with being new to the world of work can leave them exposed and vulnerable to workplace accidents and injuries. They need a good common sense grounding in what it means to look after themselves and those around them in the workplace. The Choose Safety programme supports young people to develop a ‘safety first mind-set’ before they reach the workplace. This also makes a lot of sense for employers who are responsible for managing workplace safety and health and recruiting these young people.”
Choose Safety consists of safety, health and welfare programme texts for teachers and students. These are supplied, free of charge to schools/further education settings. It includes a free elearning course ‘Get Safe – Work Safe’ which can be found at https://hsalearning.ie. The programme is coordinated locally by the 21 fulltime Education Centres, and is rolled out from Kilkenny Education Centre. Certificates of completion can be awarded as well as online digital badges for any units completed.
Margaret Maxwell, Director of Kilkenny Education Centre said;
“Choose Safety gives students the opportunity to explore core principles of health and safety as it applies in their current or future work experience or workplaces. These are essential life skills for young people and the Education Centre network is committed to promoting this most valuable programme in schools. Choose Safety is designed to assist teachers in delivering key senior cycle skills such as good communication, critical thinking, working with others and being personally effective.”
Schools/FE centres wishing to participate in the Choose Safety programme should contact their local education centre. Or the HSA at: firstname.lastname@example.org or Kilkenny Education Centre at email@example.com or 056- 056-7760202.
If your workplace has a fridge, a microwave, or a kitchenette of any type, food safety rules apply to you. If your work has ever held a potluck, food safety rules apply to you. If your workplace has ever ordered in food, food safety rules apply to you. If you bring a lunch to work, food safety rules apply to you. Essentially, food safety rules ought to be followed anywhere that there is food! Below are ten rules for food safety. These are general tips that apply to all workplaces.
Keep raw food separate from cooked foods to avoid cross-contamination. If raw food is spilled, or comes in contact with cooked food, clean it up and discard cooked food.
Know the Danger Zone! Bacteria can grow in temperatures between 40F and 140F, so keep hot food hot (above 140F) and cold food cold (below 40FC)!
Place raw food on the bottom of fridge. Avoid having raw food thaw and rip on other refrigerated items by placing raw food on the lowest shelf.
Wash fresh fruits, vegetables, and bagged salads and spinach. Washing produce ensures that harmful pesticides or raw food bacteria are removed before consumption.
Clean your work fridge out from time to time. Removed outdated products, questionable looking items, and any Tupperware that looks like a science experiment.
Keep the work refrigerator cool (below 40F). Install a thermometer in the fridge to be sure.
If you work has a microwave, be sure to keep it clean and free of debris. Have all employees cover their food when microwaving to prevent food from splattering.
To avoid harmful bacteria growth after a pot-luck lunch, ensure that all left overs get packaged up separately, and refrigerated right away.
If your work has a barbeque and hosts cook-outs for staff, ensure that meat is grilled to the appropriate internal temperatures. Have a meat thermometer on hand.
After preparing your lunch, heating a dish for a pot-luck or a BBQ, or dishing out some ordered food, ensure that proper clean up and disinfecting of all prep areas is completed.