Health & Safety News | Wessex Health and Safety

Protect Home Workers

August 19, 2020

As an employer, you have the same health and safety responsibilities for home workers as for any other workers.

When someone is working from home, permanently or temporarily, as an employer you should consider:

  • How will you keep in touch with them?
  • What work activity will they be doing (and for how long)?
  • Can it be done safely?
  • Do you need to put control measures in place to protect them?

    Lone working without supervision

    There will always be greater risks for lone workers with no direct supervision or anyone to help them if things go wrong.

    Keep in touch with lone workers, including those working from home, and ensure regular contact to make sure they are healthy and safe.

    If contact is poor, workers may feel disconnected, isolated or abandoned. This can affect stress levels and mental health.

    Stress and mental health

    Home working can cause work-related stress and affect people’s mental health.

    Being away from managers and colleagues could make it difficult to get proper support.

    Keep in touch

    Put procedures in place so you can keep in direct contact with home workers so you can recognise signs of stress as early as possible.

    It is also important to have an emergency point of contact and to share this so people know how to get help if they need it.

    Working with display screen equipment

    For those people who are working at home on a long-term basis, the risks associated with using display screen equipment (DSE) must be controlled. This includes them doing workstation assessments at home. There is no increased risk from DSE work for those working at home temporarily. So in that situation employers do not need to ask them to carry out home workstation assessments. During any period of temporary home working, employers need to regularly discuss these arrangements with their employees. If such work is adversely affecting the health, safety and welfare of their employees, they should take appropriate steps.

    However, employers should provide workers with advice on completing their own basic assessment at home. This practical workstation checklist (PDF) – Portable Document Format (PDF)– Portable Document Format may help them. There are some simple steps people can take to reduce the risks from display screen work:

    • breaking up long spells of DSE work with rest breaks (at least 5 minutes every hour) or changes in activity
    • avoiding awkward, static postures by regularly changing position
    • getting up and moving or doing stretching exercises
    • avoiding eye fatigue by changing focus or blinking from time to time

Signs of stress

If employees start acting differently, it can be a sign they are stressed. Managers should look out for signs of stress in teams and employees, listed below. Think about whether the stress could be linked to work pressure.

Acting early can reduce the impact of pressure and make it easier to reduce or remove the causes. If managers are worried that an employee is showing some of these signs, they should encourage them to see their GP. These signs can be symptoms of other conditions. If there is something wrong at work, and this has caused the problem, managers should take action.

Signs of stress in teams

There may be signs of stress in a team, like:

  • arguments
  • higher staff turnover
  • more reports of stress
  • more sickness absence
  • decreased performance
  • more complaints and grievances

Employers must assess the risks of work-related stress in their workplace and take action to protect employees.

Signs of stress in an employee

A change in the way someone acts can be a sign of stress, for example they may:

  • take more time off
  • arrive for work later
  • be more twitchy or nervous

A change in the way someone thinks or feels can also be a sign of stress, for example:

  • mood swings
  • being withdrawn
  • loss of motivation, commitment and confidence
  • increased emotional reactions – being more tearful, sensitive or aggressive

Employees can help look after their own stress levels at work – if you think you have a problem talk to your manager, a colleague or your GP.

First Aid At Work

March 13, 2019

Employers must make sure employees get immediate help if taken ill or injured at work.

The law applies to every workplace and to the self-employed.

You must have:

  • a suitably stocked first aid kit
  • an appointed person or people to take charge of first aid arrangements
  • information for all employees telling them about first aid arrangements

Assess your First Aid Needs

What ‘adequate and appropriate’ first aid arrangements are depends on the work you do and where you do it. You’re best placed to understand the nature of your work, so you should assess what your first aid needs are.

You must consider:

  • the type of the work you do
  • hazards and the likely risk of them causing harm
  • the size of your workforce
  • work patterns of your staff
  • holiday and other absences of those who will be first aiders and appointed persons
  • the history of accidents in your business

You might also consider:

  • the needs of travelling, remote and lone workers
  • how close your sites are to emergency medical services
  • whether your employees work on shared or multi-occupancy sites
  • first aid for non-employees including members of the public

You don’t have to write down your findings, but if you do, it will allow you to record how you’ve decided on your first aid arrangements.

Appoint someone to take charge of first aid

An appointed person is someone who is in charge of your first aid arrangements. This includes looking after the equipment, facilities and calling the emergency services.

You can have more than one appointed person and they don’t need to have any formal training.

An appointed person must always be available whenever people are at work.

What to put in your first aid kit

The contents of your first aid kit should be based on your first aid needs assessment. As a guide, where work activities are low-risk (for example, desk-based work) a minimum first aid kit might contain:

  • a leaflet with general guidance on first aid (for example, HSE’s leaflet Basic advice on first aid at work
  • individually wrapped sterile plasters of assorted sizes
  • sterile eye pads
  • individually wrapped triangular bandages, preferably sterile
  • safety pins
  • large and medium-sized sterile, individually wrapped, unmedicated wound dressings
  • disposable gloves

This is a suggested contents list.

If you are buying a kit look for British Standard (BS) 8599. By law, your kit doesn’t have to meet this standard but you should check it contains what you’ve identified in your needs assessment.

Maintaining or replacing contents of a first aid kit

Check your kit regularly. Many items, particularly sterile ones, are marked with expiry dates. Replace expired items, disposing of them safely. If a sterile item doesn’t have an expiry date, check with the manufacturer to find out how long it can be kept. For non-sterile items without dates, you should check that they are still fit for purpose.

First Aiders and Training

You might decide that you need someone trained in first aid, sometimes known as a first aider.

There are no hard and fast rules on how many trained first aiders you should have. It depends on the nature of your work and its location.

First aiders are trained by a competent training provider in:

  • emergency first aid at work (EFAW) – at this level they’re qualified to give emergency first aid to someone who is injured or becomes ill while at work
  • first aid at work (FAW) – qualified to EFAW level but can also apply first aid to a range of specific injuries and illnesses

First aid training

Use the findings of your first aid needs assessment to decide:

  • if you need someone trained in first aid
  • what’s an adequate and appropriate level of training
  • how many people you train

Keep training up to date with regular refresher courses.

If you would like a quote for any First Aid Training please get in touch. Wessex Health and Safety can provide training to cover all of your First Aid training requirements.

5 Simple Rules for Effective Incident Report

January 9, 2019

Incident reporting is essential. No matter what steps are taken, training is given and precautions are taken, there will always be an element of accidents and incidents that occur in any environment. Whether it be tripping, slipping, dropping things, scratching cars, stubbing toes, falling from a height, being hit by an opening door, TVs falling off walls…things happen. The way in which organisations then handle such eventualities can be quite reflective of the inner workings of the organisation itself:

Is a company still stuck in the 80s using an Incident Reporting book kept in reception gathering dust and presenting a GDPR nightmare?

Has the company moved into the late 90s or even 00s and record things using Excel spreadsheets? (Did you know Excel is turning 33 this year?!)

Is the company bang up to date with modern solutions allowing for efficiency and increased access and uptake of procedures?

Do you know where your company falls on the scale above?


Whatever system you choose to use to manage your incident reporting, make sure that all of your employees have access to the system. From your office staff to your field sales team, the people in the manufacturing plant down the road and the contractors coming on site. Everyone should know how to appropriately report incidents that occur while under your care.

Is there an app you want them to use?

If you still use a book where is it kept and who is responsible for it?

Do you require any additional evidence such as photos or witness statements?

Is there a requirement to tell anyone after an incident has been reported? What if people are travelling on business, what does that mean for reporting an incident?


Any solution you use should be relevant and adaptable to your individual needs. Every organisation is different so why should anyone assume one product is suitable for everyone? Make sure your own areas of concern are covered – for example; you don’t need a fancy vehicle incident reporting function if you don’t have any company vehicles…but you might need a personal injury graph to see whereabouts most bodily injuries occur…

Does your current solution meet the individual needs of the organisation?

Who in the business NEEDS to be informed about different types of incidents?

What happens if there are RIDDOR reportable incidents – is there suitable data in your current system to meet all of the requirements?

Do the reports reflect the information needed or are they reporting on unnecessary elements which could potentially be wasting crucial time which could be better spent elsewhere?


Whatever your system is, it is no use to your organisation if your employees don’t know about it. Look at your communication methods and make sure you receive support to get your employees using your chosen system. All too often great systems are implemented by the board or one department but not communicated internally so no one else knows about it…make sure you consider the wider teams and how to make sure they are as well informed as you are.

If a visitor were to walk into your organisation and fall over in reception while someone from the IT team happened to be walking by. Would the employee from the IT department know how to report the incident, who to report it to and critically what information from the visitor would be required?

Is the system for reporting so complicated that when faced with an actual incident it would simply add to the anxiety of the individual?

Have you considered something as simple as putting a poster up in the canteen or bathrooms – the places where people spend down time – actually letting them know about what to do if they trip on their way out of the door?

Are your employees open to reporting incidents or do they fear repercussions / accusations?


Using any system is simple if you know how to use it, especially if you are the one that created, implemented or instigated the system in the first place. Make sure that everyone else who needs to know has a suitable level of training. For example, all staff may need to know how to report an incident, but only some of them will need to be involved in the management of the incident, for example reporting to the HSE or at a Board Level and taking steps to prevent re-occurrences etc.

It is worth considering what would be the easiest way to train your employees on your Incident Reporting system – Do they respond to: Videos, Webinars, Newsletter pieces, Incentives, Classroom training, e-Learning courses, peer training, team by team training….?

If the person who administers your Incident Reporting system was suddenly unavailable or decided to travel round Africa for 2 months, would anyone else in the organisation know how to take over the system or is it so bespoke and convoluted that only one person will ever be able to get the value out of it that you require?

Is your system based on standard principles but has been personalised to your own needs or is it a system put together by an individual and been built on over years?


You should be constantly evaluating your systems to make sure they are the best solution for you at the current time. Incident reporting systems are no different. Processes, technologies, laws, best practices, requirements change all the time. You need to constantly assess to make sure you are not falling behind the curve and relying on potentially out of date, but familiar, ways of working.

When was your system last updated?

Have you seen something in an industry publication or heard something at a conference that made you feel embarrassed of your own system or methods of working?

If you are using or considering a software solution, how is your provider keeping ahead of the competition and importantly keeping your data safe?

If your current system isn’t a system you would recommend to anyone in a similar position to yours then why are you even using it?

Stress At Work

November 27, 2018

Employers have a legal duty to protect employees from stress at work by doing a risk assessment and acting on it.

What is stress?

HSE defines stress as ‘the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them’.

Employees feel stress when they can’t cope with pressures and other issues. Employers should match demands to employees’ skills and knowledge. For example, employees can get stressed if they feel they don’t have the skills or time to meet tight deadlines. Providing planning, training and support can reduce pressure and bring stress levels down.

Stress affects people differently – what stresses one person may not affect another. Factors like skills and experience, age or disability may all affect whether an employee can cope.

There are six main areas of work design which can effect stress levels. You should manage these properly. They are:

  • demands
  • control
  • support
  • relationships
  • role
  • change

Employers should assess the risks in these areas to manage stress in the workplace.

Signs of stress

Stress is not an illness but it can make you ill. Recognising the signs of stress will help employers to take steps to stop, lower and manage stress in their workplace.

How to help

The earlier a problem is tackled the less impact it will have. If you think that an employee is having problems, encourage them to talk to someone, whether it’s their line manager, trade union representative, GP or their occupational health team.

Help for line managers to have simple, practical conversations with employees which can help prevent stress is available in our Talking Toolkits PDF.

To protect employees from stress at work, employers should assess risks to their health. These example stress risk assessments may help.

You may need to develop individual action plans for employees suffering from stress. HSE’s Management Standards may also help you to identify and manage the six causes of stress at work.

Causes of stress at work

There are six main areas that can lead to work-related stress if they are not managed properly. These are: demands, control, support, relationships, role and change.

For example, employees may say that they:

  • are not able to cope with the demands of their jobs
  • are unable to control the way they do their work
  • don’t receive enough information and support
  • are having trouble with relationships at work, or are being bullied
  • don’t fully understand their role and responsibilities
  • are not engaged when a business is undergoing change

Stress affects people differently – what stresses one person may not affect another. Factors like skills and experience, age or disability may all affect whether an employee can cope.

By talking to your employees and understanding how to identify the signs of stress, you can prevent and reduce stress in your workplace.

Help for employees on stress at work

Spotting signs of stress

If you are stressed you may notice changes in the way you think or feel, for example:

  • feeling negative
  • being indecisive
  • feeling isolated
  • feeling nervous
  • being unable to concentrate

You may act differently, for example:

  • eat more or less than usual
  • smoke, drink or take drugs ‘to cope’
  • have difficulty sleeping

If you are feeling signs of stress at work, it is important to talk to someone, for example your manager. If you talk to them as soon as possible, it will give them the chance to help and stop the situation getting worse.

If the pressure is due to what your line manager is doing, find out what policies are in place to deal with this. If there aren’t any, you could talk to your:

  • trade union representative
  • employee representative
  • HR department
  • employee assistance programme/counselling service if your company has these or
  • GP

Many employees are unwilling to talk about stress at work, because of the stigma stress has. But stress is not a weakness, and can happen to anyone.

What your employer must do

Your employer has a legal duty to assess the risks to your health from stress at work and share the results of any risk assessment with you. Your employer may follow HSE’s Management Standards approach, which help identify and manage the main causes of stress at work.

Help with stress caused by non-work issues

For help outside work, these organisations have useful websites or helplines you can phone for advice in confidence.

Risk at Work – Personal protective equipment (PPE)

September 25, 2018

Employers have duties concerning the provision and use of personal protective equipment (PPE) at work.

PPE is equipment that will protect the user against health or safety risks at work. It can include items such as safety helmets, gloves, eye protection, high-visibility clothing, safety footwear and safety harnesses. It also includes respiratory protective equipment (RPE).

Why is PPE important?

Making the workplace safe includes providing instructions, procedures, training and supervision to encourage people to work safely and responsibly.

Even where engineering controls and safe systems of work have been applied, some hazards might remain. These include injuries to:

  • the lungs, eg from breathing in contaminated air
  • the head and feet, eg from falling materials
  • the eyes, eg from flying particles or splashes of corrosive liquids
  • the skin, eg from contact with corrosive materials
  • the body, eg from extremes of heat or cold

PPE is needed in these cases to reduce the risk.

What do I have to do?

  • Only use PPE as a last resort
  • If PPE is still needed after implementing other controls (and there will be circumstances when it is, eg head protection on most construction sites), you must provide this for your employees free of charge
  • You must choose the equipment carefully (see selection details below) and ensure employees are trained to use it properly, and know how to detect and report any faults

Selection and use

You should ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who is exposed and to what?
  • How long are they exposed for?
  • How much are they exposed to?

When selecting and using PPE:

  • Choose products which are CE marked in accordance with the Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 2002 – suppliers can advise you
  • Choose equipment that suits the user – consider the size, fit and weight of the PPE. If the users help choose it, they will be more likely to use it
  • If more than one item of PPE is worn at the same time, make sure they can be used together, eg wearing safety glasses may disturb the seal of a respirator, causing air leaks
  • Instruct and train people how to use it, eg train people to remove gloves without contaminating their skin. Tell them why it is needed, when to use it and what its limitations are

Other advice on PPE

  • Never allow exemptions from wearing PPE for those jobs that ‘only take a few minutes’
  • Check with your supplier on what PPE is appropriate – explain the job to them
  • If in doubt, seek further advice from a specialist adviser


PPE must be properly looked after and stored when not in use, eg in a dry, clean cupboard. If it is reusable it must be cleaned and kept in good condition.

Think about:

  • using the right replacement parts which match the original, eg respirator filters
  • keeping replacement PPE available
  • who is responsible for maintenance and how it is to be done
  • having a supply of appropriate disposable suits which are useful for dirty jobs where laundry costs are high, eg for visitors who need protective clothing

Employees must make proper use of PPE and report its loss or destruction or any fault in it.

Monitor and review

  • Check regularly that PPE is used. If it isn’t, find out why not
  • Safety signs can be a useful reminder that PPE should be worn
  • Take note of any changes in equipment, materials and methods – you may need to update what you provide

Types of PPE you can use


Chemical or metal splash, dust, projectiles, gas and vapour, radiation

Safety spectacles, goggles, face screens, faceshields, visors

Make sure the eye protection chosen has the right combination of impact/dust/splash/molten metal eye protection for the task and fits the user properly

Head and neck

Impact from falling or flying objects, risk of head bumping, hair getting tangled in machinery, chemical drips or splash, climate or temperature

Industrial safety helmets, bump caps, hairnets and firefighters’ helmets


  • Some safety helmets incorporate or can be fitted with specially-designed eye or hearing protection
  • Don’t forget neck protection, eg scarves for use during welding
  • Replace head protection if it is damaged


Noise – a combination of sound level and duration of exposure, very high-level sounds are a hazard even with short duration

Earplugs, earmuffs, semi-insert/canal caps


  • Provide the right hearing protectors for the type of work, and make sure workers know how to fit them
  • Choose protectors that reduce noise to an acceptable level, while allowing for safety and communication

Hands and arms

Abrasion, temperature extremes, cuts and punctures, impact, chemicals, electric shock, radiation, vibration, biological agents and prolonged immersion in water

Gloves, gloves with a cuff, gauntlets and sleeving that covers part or all of the arm


  • Avoid gloves when operating machines such as bench drills where the gloves might get caught
  • Some materials are quickly penetrated by chemicals – take care in selection, see HSE’s skin at work website
  • Barrier creams are unreliable and are no substitute for proper PPE
  • Wearing gloves for long periods can make the skin hot and sweaty, leading to skin problems. Using separate cotton inner gloves can help prevent this

Feet and legs

Wet, hot and cold conditions, electrostatic build-up, slipping, cuts and punctures, falling objects, heavy loads, metal and chemical splash, vehicles

Safety boots and shoes with protective toecaps and penetration-resistant, mid-sole wellington boots and specific footwear, eg foundry boots and chainsaw boots


  • Footwear can have a variety of sole patterns and materials to help prevent slips in different conditions, including oil – or chemical-resistant soles. It can also be anti-static, electrically conductive or thermally insulating
  • Appropriate footwear should be selected for the risks identified



  • Oxygen-deficient atmospheres, dusts, gases and vapours

Options – respiratory protective equipment (RPE)

  • Some respirators rely on filtering contaminants from workplace air. These include simple filtering facepieces and respirators and power-assisted respirators
  • Make sure it fits properly, eg for tight-fitting respirators (filtering facepieces, half and full masks)
  • There are also types of breathing apparatus which give an independent supply of breathable air, eg fresh-air hose, compressed airline and self-contained breathing apparatus


  • The right type of respirator filter must be used as each is effective for only a limited range of substances
  • Filters have only a limited life. Where there is a shortage of oxygen or any danger of losing consciousness due to exposure to high levels of harmful fumes, only use breathing apparatus – never use a filtering cartridge
  • You will need to use breathing apparatus in a confined space or if there is a chance of an oxygen deficiency in the work area
  • If you are using respiratory protective equipment, look at HSE’s publication Respiratory protective equipment at work: A practical guide

Whole body

Heat, chemical or metal splash, spray from pressure leaks or spray guns, contaminated dust, impact or penetration, excessive wear or entanglement of own clothing

Conventional or disposable overalls, boiler suits, aprons, chemical suits


  • The choice of materials includes flame-retardant, anti-static, chain mail, chemically impermeable, and high-visibility
  • Don’t forget other protection, like safety harnesses or life jackets

Emergency equipment

Careful selection, maintenance and regular and realistic operator training is needed for equipment for use in emergencies, like compressed-air escape breathing apparatus, respirators and safety ropes or harnesses.

Are lunch-breaks important for staff health?

August 22, 2018

It has previously been reported that only 30% of UK employees take lunch away from their desk, with a quarter of desk-diners working and half browsing the internet – but is this a healthy practice?

By dining at their desks, employers will  believe they are clawing back a precious hour of the working day — but is this really the case and is it doing more harm than good? Research from retailer of dinner sets Oldrids & Downton claims it is having a negative effect.

The impact of desk-dining

Health is a priority for both employees and employers alike — naturally, staff members will like to stay in good health, while it’s in an employer’s best interest to minimise sick days by promoting the welfare of employees.

Lunch gives employees the chance to get away from their desk, stretch their legs and escape the office environment. Sitting for long periods has been linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes and even some types of cancer. It can also cause back problems.

Likewise, the inability to get away from desks prevents staff members from escaping the pressures of work, if only for an hour.

Behind musculoskeletal problems, work-related stress is the second most common cause of ill health in employees, accounting for 37% of all health issues at work and 45% of all lost working days.

Taking a lunchbreak, regardless of its length, can help to boost employee productivity — ending the myth that working through lunch helps employees do more. This is strengthened further when accompanied by a nutritious lunch, which will give workers the right nutrients and fuel for the rest of the day.

Clearly, employers should be leading by example and encouraging their staff to take the lunch breaks they are entitled too.

Expectations from employers

Employers are legally required to provide workers over the age of 18 with:

  • Rest breaks (such as lunch breaks)
  • Daily rest (11 hours between working days)
  • Weekly breaks of either 24 hours uninterrupted per week, or 48 hours each fortnight.

A 20-minute rest break must be given to employees working for six hours or longer.

Employers should take breaks in the middle of the day, and be allowed to spend their break away from their workstation.

The importance of lunchbreaks for workers

Respondents to the survey found that on the whole, taking a proper lunchbreak made them feel happier and more positive. Taking a lunchbreak gives workers time to:

  • Get things done. Taking a proper lunch will allow you to catch up on life administration or run some errands, giving you more time in the evening to relax.
  • Eat a nutritious lunch. Your lunchbreak gives you a brilliant opportunity to take in essential nutrients to keep you going for the rest of the day.
  • People with an hour-long lunch have time on their side to sneak in a lunchtime workout during their lunch, but even with the minimum 20 mins you can take a stroll, up your step count and enjoy some fresh air.

Encouraging employees to take their lunch-breaks

So how do you encourage staff members to take their lunchbreak, minimising stress and boosting morale?

Try the following:

  • Lead by example: If your employees see you working through lunch, they may feel like this is expected of them too.
  • Create a workplace environment that encourages employees to take breaks.
  • Designate a space in your workplace – such as a kitchen or dining room – that employees can go to to get away from their desks.
  • Supply healthy snacks to encourage a culture of healthy eating to accompany a healthier attitude to taking breaks.
  • Provide distractions from phones and screens. If you have room in your designated break space, include light reading materials (magazines and newspapers) and other forms of entertainment, so workers can relax free from screens in a dedicated environment.
  • Encourage additional breaks. There are stressful moments in everyone’s jobs, so make it clear to employees that if they need to take an extra break for some fresh air, they can – and that their lunchbreak will be unaffected.

Health and Safety for Older Workers

January 30, 2018


Today’s workforce is likely to contain a higher proportion of older workers because of factors such as increased life expectancy, removal of the default retirement age and raising of the State Pension Age, which means that many people will need, and want to continue working.

Employers have the same responsibilities for the health and safety of older employees as they have for all their employees.

These pages will help employers take older workers into account when considering how to meet their responsibilities.

Dispelling the myths

Health and safety should not be used as an excuse to avoid employing older people. A separate risk assessment is not required specifically for older workers.

Research that has been carried out on age and employment is listed in the resources and useful links section of this guidance and includes the following findings:

  • That instead of being unfit to work due to ageing and ill health, 62 per cent of over 50s describe themselves as feeling as fit as ever, with structural and (other people’s) attitudinal barriers thwarting their ability to stay involved.
  • Some employers can have stereotyped views of the abilities and attitudes of older workers.
  • That key elements of cognitive performance important for workplace health and safety, such as intelligence, knowledge, and use of language, do not generally show any marked decrease until after the age of 70.
  • Where decline in cognitive abilities such as working memory and reaction time does occur, there is evidence that safe performance of tasks is unlikely to be affected, as older individuals can generally compensate for them with experience, better judgement and job knowledge.
  • Strong evidence that, although speed of learning tends to slow with age, older workers can generally achieve a good standard in learning and performing new skills, given additional time and practice.
  • Little conclusive evidence that older workers have an increased risk of occupational accidents than younger workers. However, while older workers are generally less likely than younger workers to have occupational accidents, accidents involving them are likely to result in more serious injuries, permanent disabilities or death, than for younger workers. Older workers may experience more slips, trips and falls than younger workers, and recovery following an injury may take longer.

Guidance for employers

Older workers bring a broad range of skills and experience to the workplace and often have better judgement and job knowledge, so looking after their health and safety makes good business sense.

You should:

  • Review your risk assessment if anything significant changes, not just when an employee reaches a certain age
  • Not assume that certain jobs are physically too demanding for older workers, many jobs are supported by technology, which can absorb the physical strain.
  • Think about the activities older workers do, as part of your overall risk assessment and consider whether any changes are needed. This might include:
    • allowing older workers more time to absorb health and safety information or training, for example by introducing self-paced training.
    • introducing opportunities for older workers to choose to move to other types of work.
    • designing tasks that contain an element of manual handling in such a way that they eliminate or minimise the risk.
  • Think about how your business operates and how older workers could play a part in helping to improve how you manage health and safety risks. This might include having older workers working alongside colleagues in a structured programme, to capture knowledge and learn from their experience.
  • Avoid assumptions by consulting and involving older workers when considering relevant control measures to put in place. Extra thought may be needed for some hazards. Consultation with your employees helps you to manage health and safety in a practical way.

Further information

Guidance for older workers

As an employee, you have a duty to take care of your own health and safety, and that of others who may be affected by your actions.

You must cooperate with your employer and other employees to help everyone meet their legal requirements.

If you have specific queries or concerns about your health and safety or if you are experiencing difficulty in carrying out your work, you should raise this with your employer.

Further information

The law

Under health and safety law, employers must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable This means balancing the level of risk against the measures needed to control the real risk in terms of money, time or trouble. However, you do not need to take action if it would be grossly disproportionate to the level of risk. , the health and safety of all their employees, irrespective of age.

Employers must also provide adequate information, instruction, training and supervision to enable their employees to carry out their work safely.

Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (MHSWR)

Under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, employers have a duty to make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the workplace risks to the health and safety of his employees. This includes identifying groups of workers who might be particularly at risk, which could include older workers.

Equality Law

Discrimination in respect of age is different from all other forms of direct discrimination in that it can be justifiable if it is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate end, such as considering changes to work that may be needed to ensure older workers can remain in the workforce.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) provides information and further advice on age discrimination link to external website.

Resources and useful links

Fire Assembly Points: 5 Things You Should Know

July 27, 2017

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 states that “emergency routes and exits must lead as directly as possible to a place of safety” and that procedures for serious and imminent danger must enable the persons concerned to “immediately proceed to a place of safety in the event of their being exposed to serious, imminent and unavoidable danger”.

So what do you need to remember about fire assembly points to keep your staff safe in the event of a fire?

Here’s our top five points to keep in mind:

  • Assembly points outside of the building should be clearly indicated. These points will be designated in consultation with your fire risk assessment, and the routes to them should be signposted with correct notices. Ensure all signage is unobstructed and easy to see, and that staff are aware on joining the company where their designated fire assembly point is.
  • For larger sites, a well-formulated procedure should be in place to handle the evacuation of hundreds of people safely, ensuring they are moved through various exit points to a single assembly point.
  • Where assembly points are sited is important. Consideration needs to be given to distance from the main building, and ease of accessibility by disabled people.
  • Providing a sheltered, illuminated assembly point can be a good idea depending on the type of people who would be evacuated. For example, a care home may have vulnerable people who would benefit from shelter in the event of forced evacuation in poor weather.
  • It is important that employees and other persons visiting the building are advised which assembly area they must use in the event of evacuation. For employees, this should form part of their induction to the company. For visitors, it is good housekeeping to advise where the nearest exit points and assembly point is.

Having a well-thought out fire safety evacuation policy is of upmost importance in ensuring the safety of your employees and site visitors. A comprehensive fire-risk assessment will look at your existing evacuation procedures, ensuring you comply with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order.

If you have an existing fire risk assessment, this should be reviewed every 12 months, and a new one should be completed every three years. For new sites, you should have a fire risk assessment completed within 3 weeks of opening.

Not had a fire-risk assessment completed recently? Simply contact for a quote.