A Quick Guide to Health and Safety Equipment in the Workplace.

When it comes to running a business you will also need a good health and safety model for all employees to follow. These are usually determined by risk assessments. 

Depending on the type of your business, these risk assessment will help you identify these possible risks, the individuals that could be most affected and what measures should be in place to minimise these risks. 

With a good health and safety structure comes the eduation of the different types of equipment, mostly required by all businesses. How to train individuals on how to use and to ensure they are given the right protective clothing to help them with their everyday tasks. 

In this article, I will be going over some of the more typical health and safety equipment. That you will more than likely find necessary in order to comply with the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974

Signage

It is important in any workplace to have the correct health and safety signs. 

These signs are crucial in letting your customers, employers and any visitors know what to do in the event of a crisis. I will quickly go other some of the more important ones. 

Wet floor signs – 

We have all been there when we have had that instant panic when you slip unexpectedly on a wet surface. Now in any public environment, when spillages happen the correct protocol would be to clean up the mess and then to put a wet floor sign in place. 

Now, this is to let people know that the floor is wet and to tread carefully. Also, this is to protect your own business from any lawsuits can surely follow should someone have an accident due to there being a wet floor and no sign being put down. 

Instructions – 

You will more than likely have seen various wall posters with instructions on them in your lifetime. Now, these instructions are crucial when it comes to the event of a crisis. You need to make all of those in the building aware of what to do in the event of a situation such as a fire, security threat etc.

Legislation signs – 

There are a number of legislative acts in place that correlate with workplace health and safety. Having these signs for people to peruse is vital in reminding them of the importance of the Acts put in place. One example of this would be a Health and Safety Law Act sign. Allowing employees, especially, the chance to educate themselves on an integral part of any workplace.

Location signs – 

These could be a number of different types. The most common would be the emergency exit signs, indicating where the nearest door to leave the building safely would be. Other signs could be indicating the location of the first aid box, fire equipment, assembly points etc.

Medical Supplies

Next moving onto medical supplies.

In any working environment, it is vital to have the appropriate medical supplies on site. To use in the event of an injury or emergency. 

Accident Book – 

When yourself or someone at work has an accident. The correct protocol to follow would write down the incident in an accident book. Highlighting what happened, who was affected and what steps were taken to help resolve the emergency. 

Accident books are key for keeping a record of anything that happens on the work floor that involves a human being. These records are useful when it comes to running a risk assessment and also for keeping legal records, should you have any lawsuits you need to tackle. 

First Aid box – 

When there are minor injuries in the workplace, you will need to have a first aid kit on hand. Most first aid kits will have; plasters, bandages, cleansing wipes, medical tape etc. 

The basics needed to help someone that might be suffering from a small injury until at least they seek medical attention should they need it.

Defibrillator – 

Otherwise, know as a Defib, these are used to shock a body when an individual has gone into arrest. Now not every workplace is required to have these. However, any places with a high risk of workplace health and safety incidents should. 

Defibs are not typically used and they require specialist training to use. Most cases a Defib is used as a last resort.

Ice and Heat packs – 

Some minor injuries will require relief from pain. This is where your typical ice and heat packs come in. Heat packs are generally used for increasing blood flow to help restore movement to any damaged tissues. 

Ice packs are used to help relieve pain. This pain can be from a sprain, muscle and bone injuries or burns. Both are equally crucial to have handy.

Foil blanket – 

A foil blanket is used to help keep someone warm when their body is losing heat fast. This could be due to hypothermia, intoxication or excessive perspiration. 

Fire Safety Supplies 

In the event of a fire, you should have the appropriate equipment on site to help alert and help diffuse the situation, at least until the fire brigade comes along to help fight the fire. 

With the risk of fires varying depending on the type of business. It is imperative to always be prepared.

Fire blanket – 

Fire blankets are very useful to have on site. Their use is to put onto small fires or around someone who is on fire themselves. Or has sustained fire-related injuries to minimalise the fire spreading. 

Fire blankets are completely fireproof and work by cutting off the oxygen supply to the fire. They should only be used for small fires and for on people. They will not protect you from fire if for example you wrap yourself up into one and run into flames.

Fire Alarms – 

Every working environment should have the correct fire alarms and smoke detectors. Fire alarms are usually manually operated. In the event of a fire being discovered, an individual should alert the rest of the building by locating the nearest fire alarm and engaging it. Smoke alarms pick up on any smoke levels and will sound out an alarm when the smoke reaches a certain level. 

The same principle works with sprinklers most are automatic that will turn on when certain conditions are met. This is usually when temperatures in a room get too hot. Sprinkler systems have shown to be very effective in putting out fires without the need for fire service. 

Also, the water damage from a sprinkler is significantly less than what would be caused by a hose stream. Making them an attractive choice for offices and high rise buildings.

Fire extinguishers – 

Every workplace should have at least one fire extinguisher on site. However, not everyone knows there are different types of fire extinguishers. So when choosing which would be best for your business.

You would need to consult your risk assessment and see which fires are more probable in your workplace and then find the correct fire extinguisher for the job. Failing to use the right fire extinguisher can, in fact, make matters worse.

In case of a fire caused by cooking oils, deep fat fryers etc (Class F) the only fire extinguisher that should be used is a wet chemicals extinguishers.

Clothing

In most jobs, you will be required to wear a uniform. This is especially the case when working in high health and safety risk working environments. These uniforms are put in place to keep employees safe when they are carrying out their daily tasks. 

As an employer it is your responsibility to educate on this protective workwear and also to provide it. 

Personal protective gear – 

This is used to help prevent injury or long term side effects to working in high-risk roles. Examples of this could be noise cancelling headphones when working with loud machinery. Or gloves when working with your hands in conditions that can be harmful to the skin, like working with corrosive chemicals. 

Personal protective gear should be provided to any members of staff that fall under a category of high health and safety risks from the work duties. 

Site safety equipment – 

This equipment is usually required in order to keep workers as safe as possible. Site safety equipment can vary from harnesses to prevent falling from great heights. This is particularly useful when it comes to working from heights e.g construction or window cleaning. 

Or another could be hard hats to protect heads from falling debris whilst on site. 

Workwear – 

With different jobs come different workwear required to be worn. In low risk working environments, you will more than likely find that there is a relaxed view of the required uniform. However when you work in places such as hospitals, in labs or on construction sites. All will have their own workwear and this is chosen to help minimise risks. 

Labs would be required to wear protective coats, goggles and gloves, especially when working with dangerous chemicals. Construction and road workers will be required to wear protective headgear, gloves, boots and in particular Hiviz jackets. 

These jackets are highly reflective making them detectable in darker working conditions. They may also need to wear goggles to avoid debris getting into the eyes of workers. 

The list goes on. Depending on the risks involved every individual should be assessed for the jobs they are required to do and be given the correct workwear to help protect them from any risks involved.

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