Research suggests that most fires are preventable and unsafe human behaviour is most often the cause of these fires. This is why employees should be encouraged to take responsibility and adopt practices which help prevent fire in the workplace. Fire safety is also enforced and employers are required to prepare plans and procedures to protect against the associated risks. The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) is proactive in monitoring how employers manage these risks and what they do to protect the health and safety of the public.
In this article, we provide some general information about fire safety and the practices which help protect against the potential damage caused by fire.
Fire safety is a set of measures which reduce the potential damage caused by fire. There are four common fire safety principles which are recognised around the world:
However, there are three key actions which employees should know about that need to be taken in the event of a fire:
Let’s take a look at the key elements which enable a fire to start and spread.
Heat, fuel and oxygen complete the fire prevention triangle which explains how fires can start and spread. Fire needs all three of these elements to thrive and this is why removing one of these three can prevent a fire. This is also why a risk assessment needs to report on three different elements and consider how these elements might contribute to potential fire hazards in the workplace.
Heat is often generated through machines, systems and processes. Cooking is an obvious example in which heat is near constant and needs to be kept away from fuel. Let’s look at some examples of how employers can manage heat:
Oxygen is often used in manufacturing and creative processes. For example, oxygen gas is used for food packaging and food preservation. It is also used in flame cutting and welding and within decompression chambers as part of medical treatment. Pure oxygen can react fiercely with materials including rubber and textiles and then also the likes of grease and oil. In short, the presence of this oxygen makes it easier for a fire to start and grow and spread.
Some workplaces will have more flammable materials than others and these environments can present a much greater fire hazard. Fuel essentially contains flammable material which burns naturally in a standard atmosphere. These flammable materials need to be clearly labelled. In addition, great care should be taken when handling or moving these flammable materials.
The Health and Safety Authority in Ireland enforces an act which holds employers responsible for educating staff about these principles. Employees must therefore know these practices and be able to put them into practice in the event of a fire. There is also a requirement for employers to appoint a competent person to this role who properly understands the risks, practices and tasks that relate to fire safety.
“Competent” implies this person must be able to demonstrate their knowledge and ability but this appointment does not mean the responsibility of fire safety is out of the hands of the employer. Employers must do everything reasonably possible to ensure their staff are not exposed to the risks associated with fire safety. For instance, employers must also ensure there is safe access, emergency exits and no unsafe substances or articles in the environment.
In case you might be asking yourself, action is taken whenever deemed necessary and government statistics show the number of fire safety notices issued by the Health and Safety Authority in Ireland. Safety notices can be costly for employers but they also point to a moral concern which suggests the business is simply not doing enough to protect the safety of employees and members of the public.
According to the Health and Safety Authority in Ireland, employers must not only train and educate employees about fire safety but also carry out regular risk assessments to ensure these measures are understood. This involves checking that all staff have sufficient knowledge, training and supervision to protect against the dangers of fire and then record the findings from this assessment in a Safety Statement. Employers are therefore required to provide relevant fire safety courses for their employees and produce certificates of completion in the event of an inspection by the authorities.
Fire safety is extremely important and an area which employers cannot ignore for both moral and legal reasons. Fire poses a serious threat to the safety of employees and members of the public and the Health and Safety Authority will issue notices to any business that falls short of the requirements. Employers should make every effort to abide by the law and assess risks and provide access to training which informs on the importance of fire safety.
Please Note – The Fire Services Act 1981-2003 specifies that it shall be the duty of every persons having control of premises (i.e. owner or occupier) to ensure the safety of persons on the premises in the event of an outbreak of fire whether such an outbreak has occurred or not.
Myelearnsafety offers fully online Fire Safety Awareness courses. The eLearn fire safety awareness course is designed to help employers meet their legal requirement to provide information and training to staff regarding specific hazards. Fire safety is an essential part of any safety management system. The course, along with regular fire drills, will help ensure regulatory compliance.
To find out more, please check our Courses page.
Alternatively, should you need any additional information, please do not hesitate to let us know via email email@example.com
Manual handling is the leading cause of injuries and illness in the workplace. According to research, musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) account for most of these problems in Ireland. This is often as a result of repetitive strain injuries. A specific training is required to help protect employers and employees from the risks associated with incorrect manual handling.
But what is manual handling exactly and why else is it so important?
Manual handling refers to either supporting or transporting a load using bodily force and the use of the word “load” extends beyond inanimate objects to people and animals (e.g. lifting, pushing, pulling and carrying a load). If these type of actions are carried out without the correct body posture or procedure, there is always a risk of injury.
In fact, musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) such as muscle, joint or bone problems are the most common types of work-related illness. This means incorrect load handling is ahead of stress, anxiety and depression when it comes to the cause of injuries or illness among employees.
Manual handling courses are designed to teach people how to identify, approach and perform physical tasks in a way that reduces the risk of injury. It’s also important to know about the legal requirements that oversee health and safety in the workplace.
The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) is responsible for overseeing health and safety at the workplace in Ireland. There is also a piece of legislation, the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005, which attaches responsibilities related to manual handling to both employees and employers.
Simply put, employers are required to protect the health and safety of their employees as a result of what they do. While these employers need to undertake regular risk assessments, there is also a need to provide a relevant training. The training has to focus on areas including load, task and working environment. Failing to adhere to these requirements can result in severe formal enforcement action by inspectors on behalf of the HSA.
Training is mandatory when manual handling in a particular role involves a risk of injury. If an employer is unsure as to whether or not such training is needed, it is usually best to stay on the safe side and proceed with this training for staff.
Manual handling training helps prevent injuries in the workplace. It teaches employees to avoid tasks in which they might incur an injury. It also helps employers establish health and safety measures to protect against injuries in general.
The implications of related injuries is significant for both employer and employee. Such injuries are common and can happen in any type of workplace. The cause might be things like bad posture, heavy labour or repetitive movements. This last one is especially important to note. Many injuries are caused over time by tasks which require the repetition of a particular action. Such tasks are often the cause of musculoskeletal disorder (MSD).
For example, it is often the case that employees will need to move, lift or carry items as part of their daily work schedule. These actions usually involve stretching, bending or twisting. Without the appropriate training, an individual is likely to perform these tasks incorrectly. This is why musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) is such a big problem for employers and the number one reason employees need to take time off work as a result of illness.
HSA officials frequently carry out inspections and take enforcement action whenever necessary. This can result in unplanned costs to train employees or improve aspects of health and safety in the workplace. However, the cost of ignoring the importance of manual handling training lies elsewhere.
As a result of injuries and illness, employers often need to bear significant costs due to absenteeism, overtime and loss of productivity. The training of replacement staff can result in further costs. There is also the risk of having to pay compensation to the employees. As for the injured person, their inability to do the job as normal can have long-reaching consequences. Such consequences can affect the health, mobility or future job prospects in the same industry.
Legislation requires employees to take care of their own health and safety. In addition, they must follow systems of work according to the instruction provided. Individuals are also responsible for reporting possible hazards and informing managers about incidents using the proper channels. Meanwhile, Employers need to carry out risk assessments on regular basis. Suitable equipment should be used to reduce the need for human touch. When physical handling is required, employers must provide manual handling training for their employees.
This training is designed to ensure participants are properly trained in the safe practices and principles of manual handling. The course should abide by legislation and provide sufficient guidance and education to ensure the best possible health and safety measures are in place.
You will find diagrams, videos and practical guides within manual handling training and this course should be designed to meet legal requirements by a qualified tutor. The course content should enable employees to describe techniques for manual handling and recognise hazardous situations, while understanding the law and their own responsibility to health and safety.
Participants will usually complete an online theory course for manual handling before arranging for a practical session which takes them through an assessment for safely lifting, pulling and carrying objects in the workplace.
Now, are you an employer in need of manual handling training for your staff? Maybe you need some training yourself? MyElearnSafety offers a Manual Handling Awareness Course that fully adheres to the legal requirements in Ireland for health and safety in the workplace.
The Environmental Health Association of Ireland (EHAI) recommends that where a childcare service provides food to children, relevant staff are required to have food safety training.
The childcare provider needs to have a HACCP (Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Point) Food Safety System in place.
Your food safety management system allows you to identify and control any hazards that could pose a danger to the preparation of safe food. It helps you to:
According to the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI), If you are responsible for developing and maintaining your business’s HACCP based procedures then you must undertake adequate training in the application of HACCP principles.
The Food Safety (HACCP) Level 1 course is ideal for those with no previous experience, with light food handling duties and/or performing low-risk duties (such as waiters, baristas, caregivers, kitchen porters, deli shop assistants, etc.).
This is the recommended level for all food handlers, or those working in a kitchen setting, who do not have management responsibility for HACCP.
Food Safety HACCP Level 3 defines food safety skills for management and is aimed specifically towards Catering Managers, Supervisors, Executive and Head Chefs within the Hospitality Industry, Industrial and Institutional Catering Units, along with the Health Sector, Retail Sector and Delis.There should be at least one food worker with Food Safety HACCP Level 3 on duty in a food premises.
Managers, Owners, need to be able to manage HACCP systems. They should also have a good understanding of how to implement a HACCP Programme for their workplace. All food businesses are required by law to have a food safety management system in place based on the principles of HACCP (Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Point).
Contact Myelearnsafety, HACCP Food Safety Training Consultants can be contacted for free HACCP Food Safety Advice and Guidance.
Telephone the office @ 01 278 1938 – As for Shane or Cormac
Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) is a system meant to ensure that food products are not a risk to human health. It is a tool to assess hazards and establish control systems that focuses on prevention.
Interestingly NASA developed and used the approach for production of safe foods for manned space flights.
Procedures based on HACCP principles are mandatory for most business operators placing food or feed on the EU market. Since 1998 it has been a legal requirement for all food businesses in Ireland to have a food safety management system based on the principles of HACCP.
EU food law places full responsibility for safe food on the food business operators. In accordance with EU law all food businesses are, therefore, obliged to implement own-check systems. This own-check system must build on the principles of HACCP.
The following principles are covered under these hygiene rules:
Food handlers must be supervised, and also instructed and/or trained in food hygiene based on the level of activity they are involved in.
If you are responsible for your business’s HACCP system then you must undertake adequate training in the application of HACCP principles.
You can learn how to develop and implement an effective food safety system, incorporating Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) via online learning giving certification which is recognised nationally by employers and environmental health officers.