'Elf & Safety

Don’t be a victim

risk assessment f f 4 4 aUTUmn 2016 ELF & SAFETY f watcH f out For f f 'Elf & Safety' Take time despite all the pressures to make sure your business operates smoothly and accidents are avoided Accidents can increase at Christmas, so check that significant risks are assessed and staff and managers are aware of their responsibilities f The build-up to Christmas is a busy time of year and can be a barometer of how well a business will do in the year ahead. With so much to do, firms may find it difficult to prioritise health and safety, so here are a few ideas to help sleigh the Christmas Grinch! stock levels Storeroom and shop-floor walkways must be kept clear of stock to remove slip or trip risks. Locate heavier items at waist height, to make lifting easier. Keep fire exits clear in case of emergency. unless you have a magic sack like Santa, the capacity of your stockroom has limits decide what they are and keep levels sensible. lighting darker nights mean staff and customers need adequate light to see what they are doing: l Check inside lighting in walkways, stockrooms and work areas l outside, check lighting around footpaths, bin stores and car parks l Make improvements wherever possible temperature Workplaces should be kept at a comfortable temperature typically 16C or above. If they are not, staff may be tempted to bring in their own appliances. Heating systems must be checked and maintained by a competent person. A Gas Safe engineer should check gas appliances annually. If appropriate, fit a carbon monoxide (Co) detector. f documentation Its not just Santa who has to review a list to see who is naughty and nice safety policies and risk assessments often need a tune-up too. Accidents can increase at Christmas time, so check that significant risks are assessed and staff and managers are aware of their responsibilities. outside slips and trips These hazards are definitely on the naughty list. Slips and trips are very common accidents, so clear up fallen leaves and wind-blown litter regularly, and decide on a gritting policy. Where this is not your responsibility, liaise and agree actions with your landlord. For further information, check out this Health and Safety Executive (HSE) advice for icy conditions and winter weather. Clear rainwater gutter blockages and fix leaking roofs. There should be procedures/ controls in place to clear up a wet floor; suitable matting may be used to control water carried into buildings on feet, and wet floor signs are always helpful. christmas decorations Putting up decorations may require working at height. Make sure that ladders and other equipment used are fit for the task and in good condition. Take a look at HSE work at height advice. Before plugging in lights, check their condition. Is the cabling in good repair? Are any bulbs missing? If using them outside, are they designed for this purpose? Remember not to overload extension leads. f f Credit: Stuart Powell Images: Zsuzsa Goodyer fire safety Avoid draping decorations around heat sources. Lit candles must not be left unattended or near to flammable or combustible materials. Try the West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) website for good advice to small and medium-sized enterprises on fire safety matters. If you have time, check the HSEs 12 safety myths of Christmas but most of all, have a merry Christmas and a prosperous and safe new year. For further information please contact your local Trading Standards Service