Health and Safety Policy

1.HEALTH AND SAFETY

General

We are all responsible for our own safety and each other’s, including customers and members of the public.

We have less than 5 employees, so we don’t have to have a formal Health and Safety Policy.

These notes are here to help you take care of your own health and safety. We want you to let us know when you think there might be a risk.

Applicability

a.If you are freelance worker or contractor, you are responsible for your health and safety when working at your premises. Make sure that the equipment you provide is safe to use and that you use it safely.

b.You must check the health and safety policy and rules where you are working. You will need to comply with them.

c.If your work base is at our premises, we are responsible for safety on our premises.

In case of:

•Fire: See your local noticeboard to make sure you know what to do if a fire starts.

•Accidents: Enter any accidents, ‘near misses’ and injuries sustained at work into the Accident Book. Get the entry counter - signed by a manager.

2.SMOKING AND VAPING

Smoking is strictly forbidden on our premises. You may only smoke in places where this is specifically allowed even when you are outside.

HEALTH AND SAFETY POLICY UNDER 5 STAFF

If you want to ‘vape’ you need to check the local policy, since some places will not allow it (in line with the smoking rules) and others will.

All debris resulting from smoking or vaping (where permitted) must be properly disposed of in rubbish bins and not left on the ground or elsewhere.

3.WORKING ON A COMPUTER

Screen breaks and lighting

You should make sure you have sufficient screen breaks if you are working at a computer screen. The current standards and more information can be found here. You are usually able to organise your own work to do some paper based work or phone based work so that you can take the appropriate breaks. If you can’t do this let us know. Normally you don’t need to take a work break to give yourself a screen break, but you can combine the two if you are approaching a work break.

If you need glasses, make sure you have the right ones for working on a computer screen (ask your optician). If you are our employee, you can ask us to pay for them.

Make sure your lighting does not bounce off your screen and cause glare. Make sure you have adjusted your display settings to something you can easily read (size and brightness). If you don’t know how, check your computer manual.

Work station

You should adjust your chair so that you can sit comfortably without bending your wrists, or your back or your neck in order to type or to see the screen. More information can be found here.

4.BREAKS AND MOVING AROUND

Workers are supposed to have a 20 minute break every six hours. Make sure you schedule regular breaks so that you do not risk your health or safety by spending too long sitting hunched over a screen.

Back and posture problems

Back problems are one of the biggest risks for office and computer based workers.

Have a look at this, which also includes some handy posture tips and exercises.

5.LONE WORKING

If you are working on your own you should be aware that people need to know where you are.

Out of the Office

If you need to visit homeworking premises, you should consider:

•Is that a safe or appropriate location?

•Would you be better off meeting in a coffee shop or other more public location?

•Make sure that a trusted friend or colleague (a ‘safe contact’) knows where you are, who you are meeting, and when you are due to leave that meeting

•Phone or text that person to let them know you arrived and when you are leaving

•Ask your safe contact to contact you and double check you are alright if you do not make your scheduled calls.

•Do not simply disappear. Most of the time your over runs will be simply that, but if you are hurt, injured, or worse, someone has to know where you were in order to be able to report you missing or send help.

Home working

•If you work from home, do not automatically give out your home address or landline number.

•While the majority of people you deal with will be perfectly OK, it is not a good idea of have people turning up at your house unannounced even if it is just because they think it is an office address.

Deliveries

If you need to give your home address for deliveries, you do not have to identify it as your home address – just your delivery point.

Lifting

Office work doesn’t usually involve a lot of heavy lifting. But if you are moving your filing cabinets around, make sure you use proper equipment or at least one strong friend.

Stationery deliveries can be heavier than you think. Do not lift more than you can safely carry. If your delivery is large or bulky, split the load into smaller amounts, get someone to help you, and where necessary use lifting equipment.

6.EQUIPMENT

Office equipment is usually electrical. We are responsible for the safety and testing of the equipment we provide and you are responsible for equipment you provide.

For more informationon PAT testing and inspection intervals click here.

If you see something that is an obvious hazard let us know immediately.

•Keep your drinks well away from computer keyboards – coffee and keyboards don’t mix very well

•Make sure any cables or wires are not a tripping hazard. Do not run them between the wall and a desk or a laptop unless they are near each other, or if using an extension lead, unless the lead is secured/taped so that it is not loose for people to trip over.

•If using an extension lead use multi - point with surge protection and a circuit breaker so that it will trip quickly if anything goes wrong.

Shredders

Make sure you read the safety instructions for any shredder you are using. In general, don’t use it with lose hair or jewellery that can get stuck in it.

•Don’t open it to unjam it without turning off the power at source.

•Do not overload it

•Do not walk away and leave the power on when it is jammed – some of them can catch fire

Read the manual for full health and safety instructions.

Phones

Use a headset. Don’t cram the phone up under your neck, which can lead to severe pain and postural problems later on. Do not turn the volume up beyond the ‘damage hearing’ line on your phone. If you can’t hear in your working environment without turning up the volume on your phone, use a noise cancelling headset (or to move to somewhere quieter).

7.STRESS

We all thrive on different amounts of stress. If you find yourself getting a bit overwound, have a chat to us to see if we can vary your workload or deadlines. Sometimes the problem doesn’t start at work but with things outside work, but even so that can mean we can’t cope with work situations which we once coped with easily.

Stress can vary from a ‘bad day’ to a serious health condition and you should not ignore the signs that this is something more than a bad day. If you are feeling stressed it is not a sign of weakness or something to be ignored but a signal that there is something you need to change.

We can’t offer all the answers, but if we can help we are willing to talk about it. For more information on workplace stress click here.