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Building a safe and inclusive workplace for everyone

Building a safe and inclusive workplace for everyone
Alastair Barrett
Alastair BarrettWhat No Safety Services Ltd

Posted: Thu 6th Jun 2024

Ensuring the health and safety of your employees is good business practice.

A safe working environment reduces accidents, injuries and illnesses, which means less downtime and absenteeism for your staff. It also improves morale, productivity and can help you attract and retain top talent.

Health and safety must not be used as an excuse to justify discriminating against certain groups of workers. Some common groups of workers may have specific health and safety needs and here's how you can ensure that your workplace is safe for everyone.

Disability

The Equality Act 2010 protects people with disabilities from discrimination in the workplace. This includes discrimination in relation to recruitment, training, promotion and redundancy.

As an employer, you have a responsibility to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate the needs of disabled workers. This could include providing adapted equipment, changing working hours or modifying the working environment.

The following are some examples of how you can make your workplace more accessible for disabled workers:

  • Install ramps and level access points

  • Widen doorways

  • Provide adapted workstations

  • Install hearing loops and alarms that use strobe lighting

  • Offer flexible working hours or homeworking arrangements

Gender

Men and women are more likely to experience different workplace hazards. For example, women are more likely to be employed in caring roles, which can involve the risk of manual handling injuries. Men, on the other hand, are more likely to be employed in construction or manufacturing, which can involve exposure to hazardous substances.

It is important to carry out risk assessments that take into account the gender balance of your workforce. This will help you to identify and control the risks that your employees face.

Watch this webinar to discover how to create an inclusive mission:

New workers

New workers are at particular risk of injury in the first six months of a job. This is because they may be unaware of the existing or potential risks in their workplace. They may also be reluctant to raise concerns for fear of being seen as incompetent.

It is important to provide new workers with a thorough induction programme that includes health and safety training. This training should cover:

  • The risks associated with their job role

  • The safety procedures that are in place

  • How to report accidents and injuries

You should also buddy new workers up with more experienced colleagues, who can help them to stay safe on the job.

Age

The workforce is ageing and this means that employers need to be aware of the health and safety risks that older workers may face. For example, older workers may be more susceptible to slips, trips and falls. They may also have pre-existing medical conditions that could be exacerbated by work.

Here are some tips for ensuring the safety of older workers:

  • Carry out regular risk assessments to identify potential hazards

  • Offer training on manual handling techniques

  • Promote a healthy and safety culture in your workplace

  • Be flexible with working arrangements, such as offering older workers the option to work part-time or to take breaks more frequently

Race and migrant workers

Migrant workers may not be familiar with the health and safety regulations in the UK. They may also have difficulty understanding safety instructions if English is not their first language.

It is important to provide migrant workers with information on health and safety in their own language. You should also ensure that they are aware of their rights and responsibilities under the law.

Here are some tips for ensuring the safety of migrant workers:

  • Provide health and safety information in a variety of languages

  • Offer translated safety inductions

  • Encourage migrant workers to raise concerns about health and safety

Ensuring the health and safety of all your workers is essential

By following these tips, you can create a safe and inclusive workplace for everyone.

It is also important to have a clear health and safety policy in place. This policy should set out your commitment to health and safety and should outline the procedures that you have in place to manage risk.

You should also consult with your employees on health and safety matters. This will help you identify potential hazards and develop control measures that are effective.

By working together, you can create a safe and healthy workplace for all.

Relevant resources

Alastair Barrett
Alastair BarrettWhat No Safety Services Ltd

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