How to ensure the health and safety of your staff

October 2016

Health and safety is a priority at Emerald Facility Services and all our staff are trained before commencing employment with us.

Daily Office Cleaning
All office cleaning staff are trained in basic health & safety carried out by our fully trained Area Managers.

Industrial Cleaning
The Industrial Cleaning team are very experienced staff with full knowledge of all industry regulations and are trained in health and safety. The team undertake extensive training in specialist cleaning processes, so they are equipped to work within hazardous environments. (Safe Pass, working at heights, manual handling, mobile scaffold tower training.

Window Cleaning Staff
Our abseil cleaning operatives are highly qualified to IRATA standards and are supervised by IRATA Level 3 technicians. Before commencing work with Emerald, all our operatives are independently safety trained and certified by an independent consultant. Ongoing refresher courses are carried out with our abseil cleaning team focusing on new emerging techniques within the industry.

A risk assessment is carried out before commencing any window cleaning assignment and then we agree the method or combination of methods to commence the work in conjunction with our clients.

So what can you do to ensure the health and safety of your staff?
In 2013 the Health and Safety Authority reported that 46 people were killed in work-related accidents compared to 48 in 2012. The top industries for fatalities included the agriculture sector with 16, the construction sector recorded 11 deaths and fishing had 4 deaths. Most of these accidents can be avoided by implementing good Health & Safety procedures in your organisation.

Under Section 19 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 (the 2005 Act) every employer shall identify hazards, assess risks and have a written risk assessment, including any unusual or other risks. To comply with Section 19, employers are required to carry out risk assessments and to record these in the Safety Statement.

Weigh up the risks in your office
You have to assess your risks and, if you employ more than five staff, record the results of your assessment. The benefit of carrying out a risk assessment is to help identify the main things in your business which could cause harm and implement a plan to prevent that harm from happening.

Keep your office space tidy
It may seem obvious but the benefit of a tidy office cannot be under estimated – staff are more productive, reduces the risk of fire, removal of trip hazards and a cleaner and tidy office leads to a healthier environment for staff.

Conduct fire drills for all staff
As part of the Safety, Health & Welfare at Work Act 2005, employers are required to have a fire safety risk assessment conducted. This should include fire prevention, fire detection and warning and emergency escape and fire fighting. As part of this fire drills must be conducted on a regular basis.

Gather ideas from your team
Get you employees engaged in the health and safety process as this will raise employee’s awareness of safety, increase buy in from staff and generate ideas that will complement existing health and safety procedures.

Reduce staff stress to reduce accidents
As part of risk assessments, employers should identify where stress is a hazard. If stress is a hazard, a risk assessment process called ‘Work Positive’ is available from the HSA. Work Positive is a comprehensive risk management process that incorporates a risk assessment covering the major causal factors associated with workplace stress. - See more at the Health & Safety website.

The theme for European Safety Week 2016 is Healthy Workplaces for All Ages. So what can you do as an employer?

- Taking a holistic, life-course approach with employees; By tailoring work to individual needs throughout the working life, these risks can be dealt with, resulting in a safe and healthy working environment for all.

- Carry out diversity sensitive risk assessment, tailoring work to individual needs.

- Mainstream OSH into active ageing policies;

- Create better coordination between human resources and OSH departments;

- Effective rehabilitation and return-to-work systems.

Emeralds strong safety record is a testament to the focus we place on health and safety. We understand that it is vital that all staff are properly trained in this area to ensure a safe working environment for all.

Contact Katherine Kelly Business Development Manager to discuss health and safety at Emerald Facility Services and your daily office cleaning requirements on 8712510.

How to ensure the health and safety of your staff