Health and safety at work
The council is the enforcing authority for health and safety at work legislation at most private sector workplaces in the borough, for example offices, shops, warehouses and most service related businesses. Council premises, hospitals, construction and demolition sites, schools and factories are dealt with by the Health and Safety Executive.
The council's Health and Safety team carries out workplace inspections and can investigate reported accidents and complaints about health and safety. We can also give advice on health and safety to employers, employees and the public. We also carry out targeted project work such as the Residential Care Homes program.
Our officers are duly authorised and can show identification. They have the right to enter workplaces at all reasonable times and do not have to give prior notice. Following an inspection we will issue a written report to the duty holder and may serve enforcement notices or prosecute if appropriate. We have an enforcement policy that anyone can see, and follow; the Enforcement Concordat.
If you run a business or are the owner of a business you have a responsibility to ensure the health and safety of all your employees, customers and visitors. You must also look after the welfare of your employees while they are at work. Health and safety risks arising from work activity must be properly managed. This can be done by:
- carrying out risk assessments of what, in the work place, could cause harm to people so that a decision can be made as to whether the precautions in place comply with the law or whether more must be done to prevent harm
- making arrangements for implementing the health and safety measures as identified in the risk assessment process
- preparing a written health and safety policy if there are five or more employees
- appointing competent people to assist in the management of health and safety at work
- establishing emergency procedures
- informing, instructing, training and supervising employees on work place activities to identify risks present and the arrangements in place to control or reduce them
- co-operating with other employers sharing the same workplace.
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 lays down basic requirements for the workplace, and there are many sets of regulations covering specific issues such as electricity in the workplace and what to do about asbestos for example.
Information about any workplace health and safety issues can also be obtained from the HSE website or by contacting the health and safety team whose contact details are on the right hand side of the page.