Page 3: Health and safety legislation
Companies have overall responsibility for the health and safety of their employees and others. The responsibility of the company relates to creating and implementing the overall framework, e.g. the policies, procedures and training which create a good health and safety culture. However, under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, employees also have responsibilities. Employees’ responsibilities include:
- to take reasonable care of their own health and safety
- to take reasonable care not to put other people – fellow employees and members of the public – at risk by what they do or do not do in the course of their work
- to co-operate with their employer, making sure they understand and follow the company’s health and safety policies.
Safety management system
To carry out risk management effectively a company needs to have an overall safety management system. Portakabin has a safety management system that includes the following elements:
- a general statement of intent (commitment to health and safety)
- identification of who is responsible for H&S
- reporting structure (what H&S reports will be produced, by whom and for whom)
- arrangements for H&S (the actual details of H&S practice)
- identification of legal requirements and how these are being met
- objectives and targets (setting the internal standards to be achieved)
- monitoring and measuring (e.g. recording incidents to check objectives are met)
- periodic review for continual improvement (e.g. recording accidents/incidents to check incidents are closed).
One of the most important parts of the safety management system at Portakabin is the identification of where responsibility for H&S lies. Portakabin has put in place comprehensive documentation that clearly shows what employees are responsible for:
- Taking care of their own health and safety and that of fellow employees.
- Understanding the health and safety policy and carrying out their work safely.
- Ensuring that all protective equipment is properly used and looked after.
- Reporting any accidents/incidents or near-misses which might lead to injury.
- Using the correct tools and equipment in line with training and instructions.
- Co-operating with any investigation designed to improve health and safety.
- Setting a personal example when visiting the workplace or sites by abiding by local rules and wearing appropriate protective equipment.
- Promoting the company’s commitment to H&S at all levels.
- Knowing emergency procedures at the location where working.
Appropriate training is given depending on the individual person’s role. For example, a director will have training in legal duties and responsibilities; an operative will have training specific to the role, such as manual handling training. Portakabin employs full-time H&S professionals who are qualified at degree or diploma level specifically in health and safety.