Workplace Health Safety & Welfare, Vehicles At Work, Plant Machinery & Equipment
Welcome to the fourth toolbox talk!
Here’s what we’ve covered so far:
A little note on how to do your toolbox talk (if you haven’t read our blog ‘What’s the deal with toolbox talks’ – for this additional health and safety tool to work well – you need to Keep It Simple, Stupid (KISS). By this we mean, keep your toolbox talks short (3-5 minutes), and only cover one thing at a time. Some of our toolbox talks might even be too long for you to cover in a single talk. If that’s the case, break it up, we won’t be offended! The length and detail of what you can cover depends on how fluent your staff are in ‘health and safety’, what industry you’re in and what the people you’re talking to do in their day to day work.
Enough chit chat, let’s get to the real deal.
Our fourth toolbox talk is on Workplace Health Safety & Welfare, Vehicles At Work, Plant Machinery & Equipment (yes, it’s a long one – you might want to split this one up)
Workplace Health Safety & Welfare
If you want people to be safe and healthy, the environment in which they work needs to be, *surprise*, healthy and safe. It’s a no brainer.
But what exactly does this entail? Let’s find out.
- Workstations should be suitable for the people using them – and for the tasks that are carried out at them. You need to think about the ergonomics of the workstation, and you need to make sure that all seated, as well as standing positions, have easy access to an emergency exit.
Make sure that your offices/ work spaces aren’t too crowded. Here’s the magic formula for calculating people per cubic metres:
The volume of the room / people working in it = >11 cubic metres.
- Whatever and wherever your workspace is, there should be clear ‘traffic routes’. If there are both people and vehicles operating in your workspace, make sure that there’s space for both and that one does not put the other in danger.
- Lighting should be sufficient for people to work and move about in safely. Make sure that work stations are appropriately lit, and that there are emergency lights. The emergency lights need to either always be on – or they need to come on automatically if the power sets out.
- When it comes to temperatures – you’ve got to nail the sweet spot that is thermal comfort. This is a combination of environmental factors such as heat and humidity, personal factors (clothes) and how physically demanding a job is. For offices where the activity is mainly sedentary – the minimum should be at least 16°C. If work involves certain physical efforts – the minimum should be at least 13°C.
- You’ve got to make sure the workplace is well- ventilated. Fresh air is good for you – end off!
- When it comes to waste disposal and general housekeeping – you should all treat it much like you would have your own home treated. Do the dishes, make sure spillages are wiped straight away etc etc.
There are four categories of safety signs, all of which are different colours.
Make sure your employees:
- Know how to do their job in a way that does not harm them, this especially applies to posture and ergonomics in the workplace.
- Know where to report if anything is broken, needs cleaned etc.
- Are aware of the housekeeping rules and know that they need followed.
- Can identify all four different kinds of safety signs and hazard warnings, and know what all the signs in the workplace means.
Vehicles At Work
Every year, people are hurt or killed from accidents caused by transport in the workplace.
There are usually three aspects to the vehicle at work dilemma:
Make sure you plan routes so that pedestrians and employees are safe from any vehicles, if possible – provide a one way system. Treat your site as the real world. This includes providing appropriate crossing points and textbook use of the highway code.
As with site safety, your vehicle should be treated as if it was driving in the ‘real world’. This means that all vehicles must be suitable for purpose as well as serviced on a regular basis.
Make sure that all staff that are using vehicles are trained to operate them specific and that their training is refreshed every 3-5 years.
Make sure your employees:
- Are aware of the dangers associated with vehicles at work
- Are only allowed to operate vehicles when properly trained and when training is up to date
- Know the in- house traffic rules
- Know where to give feedback and suggest improvements to traffic management
Plant Machinery & Equipment
Operating machinery can be dangerous, and even more so if employees do not know how to do so safely. Employees can be stuck and injured by moving parts and parts of the body can be drawn in or trapped between i.e. rollers.
If machinery is not well maintained, it can become unreliable. When the machine becomes unreliable, injuries are more likely to occur as predicting the moves of the machine becomes practically impossible.
As a manager, it’s your job to ensure that the the risks are identified and well managed, and that your staff are all trained appropriately for the job that they are doing.
Make sure your employees:
- Know how to, and the frequency of maintaining machinery
- Have a thorough induction that includes instruction on how to operate machinery, and where the emergency stop is located. Go through the machines one by one in your toolbox talk and remind everyone to wear appropriate PPE and where the instruction manuals can be found
- Know the house rules on operating machinery, as well as the manufacturer’s instructions
Need a health and safety expert to set you up to host your own toolbox talks?
We’ve been in the health and safety industry for years, and we know our stuff! If you’re struggling with how to approach toolbox talks, or how to plan yours – give us a shout and we’ll be happy to help you out!