Daily Safety & Hazard Reviews

Only use a professional if you need a specialised risk assessment. A daily check by staff is more relevant, cost effective, engages staff and promotes self-responsibility.

Hazards and Risks

Hazard Vs Risk Review

A hazard review is a process of identifying potential hazards in your workplace.

Risk Review or a Risk assessment is a formal assessment of that hazard and how likely it is to result in actual harm.

The process is:-

  • Identify hazards
  • Risk assess so you can prioritise which ones need attention first
  • You fix the problem, or take action to reduce the risk

Simple example to illustrate stages:

  • Hazard: We spot a loose corner on a carpet
  • Risk: Someone could trip and injure themselves
  • Immediate action:. We tape it down as a temporary measure, this minimises the risk
  • Fixing the problem: Tradesman fixes the loose carpet, this eliminates the risk
Actual Vs Potential harm

A hazard is something that is likely to cause harm, and a potential hazard is something that might cause a harm, the key difference being “likely” Vs “might”.

This might be obvious to most managers, but when staff don’t understand the difference, they tend to overlook potential hazards.

Who’s responsible

The smart answer is that “We are all responsible” and our own safety depends on the actions we take or issues we ignore. The theory and practice often differ, and it is not uncommon to find everyone thinking someone else is taking care of it.

Legally, it is the responsibility of the employer to establish a set of safety standards and procedures; provide the tools and equipment to keep people safe; and provide adequate training to staff.

External contractors Vs In-house

External contractor come in at fixed intervals, whereas your staff are experiencing the risk every single day.

It is far more effective that staff are taught to be aware and observant of potential risks, and in the critical place to spot, prevent and avoid the risk in the first place.

Most routine business activities can be monitored in-house in a cost effective manner.

An external contractor is only useful where specialist knowledge and expertise is required.

Workplace Risk Assessments and Hazard Reviews

These are just jargon to describe a formal approach to the thinking about what could go wrong even with every day actions such as the risk of getting scalded when putting on a kettle or tripping over toys lying on the floor.

The tools you need are:-

  1. Common sense
  2. Being observant
  3. Taking action
Employer's liability claims

An employer’s liability claim requires the employee to demonstrate a breach of duty of care.
This is usually when you are in contravention of any government guidelines or advice regarding safety at work or travel.

Examples:-

  • Sending an employee to an area affected by the safety issue
  • Not providing essential equipment or guidelines
  • Making an employee come to work after exposure and infecting others

Avoid this risk by having up to date risk assessments and up to date safety guidelines.

Best Practice with Safety & Hazards

Daily Safety Reviews

Teamwork reduces risk, and all staff need to be trained to be observant and proactive in spotting and fixing hazards around them.

Your biggest asset in spotting hazards and minimising risk are the people closest to the task, as they have the most intimate understanding of what can go wrong.

The most common failing is a lack of Daily Safety Checks by staff

Explaining Risk Reviews to staff

Many people feel unqualified to carry out risk assessments.

Here is how you can overcome this:-

As this question at a training session: Have you crossed a road in the last few days?
Usual answer will be “Yes”

Then explain this in risk assessment terms:-

  1. This is what you did. You checked the crossing and traffic lights, looking left and right for traffic
  2. Then you crossed the road when it was safe
  3. This was the biggest risk assessment you could have done because your life depended on getting it right.
  4. You do risk assessments like this every single day, even able to teach a 5 year old, but we don’t think of it as a formal risk assessment.

Everyone, who hasn’t been run over by a bus, is capable of doing such risk assessments

Gamify Hazard Reviews

Walking around to look for loose cables and trip hazards is not the most exciting of tasks for staff.

Mundane tasks can be turned into something more interesting with an element of fun and competition.

Get a large box of chocolates and let people win chocolates based on the number of hazards they spot, with special prizes for fixing things on the spot and the “best hazard spotted”.

This is more than a fun competition, what you are achieving is building team spirit, participation, and common sense of responsibility without having to be “managerial”.

Check Your Insurance

You are vulnerable to claims if you did not take reasonable precautions or you acted in a negligent manner with regard to safety.

Check your insurance in these key areas:

  1. Public liability : Your liability to the public
  2. Employer's Liability: Your liability to your employees
  3. Professional/Medical Liability: Care liability for malpractice or negligent treatment
  4. Business interruption: Disruption or closure due to unexpected events

Risk in making an insurance claim

  1. Your excess per claim might not make it worth making a claim
  2. Your premium may be increased next time
  3. Your insurer may decline to renew next time based on claims history

Note: Care Homes are increasingly seen as high risk and many insurers are looking for a reason to get out

Effect of COVID on Insurance

Most likely COVID related claim types:-

  • Business Interruption
  • Negligence/Infection due to

Be aware of staff being able to claim against you for them getting infected in the workplace.
Don't expect a business interruption claim to be easy, most insurers are refusing claims due to "Forced closure of business by authorities"

Post-COVID Insurability Risks

  1. Care homes and Domiciliary care are increasingly at risk of being refused cover
  2. Many insurers are refusing COVID cover for Public and Employer's liability
  3. If you are formally refused cover, you will have immense difficulty getting any cover from anyone else

Add extra focus on prevention measures, daily safety and reasonable precautions


Instant Solution: Risk Assessment

 

Go to My Toolkts and look for these under Evidence Toolkits (Section 6 - Safety)

  • 6 Hazard Management
  • 6 Hazard Reviews

These Toolkits help identify Hazards and Risk Assess your findings

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