Many employers skipping their legal duties

Workplace safety

A recent survey has revealed that many employers are falling foul when it comes to providing employees with sufficient occupational health and safety (OSH) guidance.

The study* – which questioned 2,000 UK employees who worked in businesses with five or more workers – uncovered that nearly two thirds (65%) of employees hadn’t been given any documents setting out their employer’s OSH policies when they started employment.

By law, all businesses that house five or more employees must issue new starters with operations manuals or employee handbooks.

Of those that didn’t deny receiving any OSH-related documents, 27% said the information they did receive didn’t go into enough detail about their role, the hazards they could face and how to deal with them.

Other alarming findings from the report include one in five employees not knowing how to report a hazard or accident, and a further 32% needing to refer to the business’ procedure document before doing so.

At risk

Even when employers had distributed operations manuals or employee handbooks, it wasn’t enough – almost half (48%) of the survey’s respondents admitted to ignoring the documents.

Concerningly, almost one quarter (23%) of males confessed to not following the correct safety procedures as set out by their business, with slightly more (27%) 18 to 34-year-olds admitting the same – putting not only themselves at risk, but their colleagues too.

Lee Mills, Director of Health & Safety at Citation, commented: “Health & Safety is about choices.  You can have the best management system in the world but if employees choose not to follow it then it can go wrong.  Human beings are time saving machines (no-one ever shows you the long way of doing a job) and hence over the years, short cuts creep in and people ignore risk assessments because usually they get away with it…until they don’t.”

“This is why you need to continually remind people of the safe way of undertaking a task and send the message in different ways.  A good way of doing this is using toolbox talks regarding real-life incidents to reframe and educate people.”

Are you cutting corners?

Here at Citation, we’re experts at all things Health & Safety. If you need help with your business’ Health & Safety policies or accident reporting – or anything else for that matter, get in touch today.

*Conducted by WorkMobile.

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