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Five steps to implementing a dog-friendly office policy

1. Check formalities

There will be some situations where dogs are not appropriate. For example, in a kitchen, or a manufacturing site where there is a risk of contamination. However, in many cases there will be no legal reason why a dog cannot be in the workplace. That said, check whether or not there are any restrictions outlined in the organisation’s insurance policies and rental agreements. For example, having an animal in the car might invalidate some car insurance policies, and some rented work spaces might specifically state that dogs (with the exception of assistance dogs) are not permitted.

2. Include in the risk assessment 

Any dogs on the premises will need to be considered as part of the employer’s duties under health and safety legislation. A risk assessment will need to be carried out and it is important that any hazards are identified, as well as any options for harm and risk mitigation. Dogs will also need to be incorporated into the fire safety risk assessment, for example to ensure that they are not blocking emergency exits, and to detail what to do in the event of a fire. Contact us if you wish this option to be added to a risk assessment.

3. Pet-proof the workplace

There will be some logistical considerations if dogs are to be allowed in the office. For example, will the office need cleaning more regularly? Is the office ventilated sufficiently? There might be some no-go areas for dogs (office kitchens, for example) or alternatively, specific areas that are reserved for dogs and pet-loving employees. Other considerations might be ensuring that bins have lids, and that desks are equipped with a means to secure a dog lead.

4. Create a code of conduct

A clear policy will help alleviate concerns over dogs in the office. Issues to consider include the following.

  • Making it clear that the dog’s owner is legally and financially responsible for any damage (to people or property), for example by ensuring that they have appropriate third-party insurance.
  • Having a probationary period for any pets to ensure that the dog is happy in the work environment, and that their presence and behaviour is not unduly distracting.
  • Setting ground rules about what constitutes acceptable behaviour, it is unlikely to be acceptable for a dog to rush around, bark, or be over-protective of their owner. Bear in mind, it might be necessary to have ground rules for other employees, too.
  • Setting out any requirements for welfare responsibilities, such as feeding, how frequently bedding is changed, and where food is kept.
  • Requiring up-to-date vaccinations, regular treatment for ticks and mites, and not allowing dogs into the office if they are ill.
  • Outlining that the owner is responsible for the dog at all times, and what should happen if the dog needs to be left for any period of time.
  • Only having dogs in the office when appropriate, for example, not if their owner is in an all-day meeting and cannot provide the necessary attention.
  • Considering whether there should be a rota, or other means of limiting the number of dogs in the workplace.
  • Setting rules on whereabouts the dog can be, including, for example, whether they are allowed in when staff with allergies or phobias are also present.
  • Making it clear what happens if any rules are broken.

5. Make sure you have staff support

Finally, before allowing dogs to work, check that it is supported by other members of staff. As well as gauging general support levels for any change in policy, it is important to understand if any staff have a reason for not wanting a dog nearby. It is also imperative to have a clear policy for dealing with staff concerns and complaints.

Conclusion

Having dogs in the office does not need to be a cause for concern if proper steps are followed and there is a clear policy in place. Although it might take time to set up, in the long-term it is likely to lead to happier pet-owners and an overall improvement to the workplace and staff morale.

All we need to do now is get a dog!

Contact us should you require a risk assessment or to discuss the blog in more detail.

 

Poor Housekeeping

Industrial CleaningSlips, trips and falls remain the highest cause of workplace injuries reported to the HSE.

It’s for this reason that good housekeeping should be at the top of your health and safety agenda.

Human factors

Carrying out certain work activities, such as cleaning or maintenance, pose a greater risk of temporary slips, trips and falling hazards.

However, even with robust training and experience—anyone can slip up. So use physical controls and suitable and sufficient safety systems of working to mitigate risk.

You should always consider vulnerable groups such as children, the elderly and the visually impaired when attempting to mitigate risks.

Young workers, new starters or persons with a limited understanding of English are more at risk of accidents due to a lack of understanding of controls / signage and / or instruction.

Environmental factors

Environmental factors can often significantly affect the likelihood of a slip, trip or fall.

Factors such as (but not limited to):

  • Lighting – A poorly lit environment or excessive glare will make it much harder for a person to assess their environment and spot potential hazards
  • Noise – Noise can distract and draw an individual’s attention away from localised hazards as they move around
  • Weather factors – Snow or leaves in autumn can physically conceal potential hazards on the ground or create hazards themselves

So where do I start?

All employers have a legal duty to assess the risks to their employees and others who may be affected by their operations, such as visitors, contractors and members of the public.

This will help to find out what needs to be done and where to control any risks.

This should be a five step approach:

  1. Look for housekeeping issues in your workplace – remember to review the whole workplace, including infrequently used areas and any outdoor areas.
  2. Decide who may be harmed and how – remember to include any vulnerable groups such as the elderly, young workers, or anyone with a disability
  3. Think about the risk – are mitigation’s already in place and are they adequate?
  4. Record your findings – if you don’t record it how do you prove you’ve considered it?
  5. Review your assessments regularly – If there have been changes to the workplace then the review should ensure that both current precautions and management arrangements are suitable and sufficient or that further controls may be required.

NOTE: Risk assessments should be reviewed at least once annually.

An organised approach

A good management approach and robust systems will help identify any deficient areas, help you decide any action points, note when actions have been completed, and check that the steps taken are actually effective.

A good system should include:

  • Planning – This will identify key areas and set timely goals for any improvements that may be required. If you fail to plan then you plan to fail
  • Organisation – Employees should be involved in all stages of the process, they are your experts.
  • Control – Regular checks should be made to ensure working practice and process work and are being followed
  • Monitor and Review – Any accident investigations and inspection reports are key. Near miss and minor accidents will also assist in highlighting any trends / problem areas. The monitor and review should include management arrangements.

Remember – A clean and tidy workplace is a safer working environment for those affected by its activities.

Contact us for further support.

 

Health & Safety of Sedentary Workers

Sedentary lifestyles are commonplace among office workers, but to make matters worse, a large portion of employees don’t feel encouraged to lead an active lifestyle.

Top Tips on Managing the Health & Safety of Sedentary Workers

Sedentary working increases the risk of developing certain health problems and can have a long-term impact on employees’ psychological wellbeing.

As an employer, you are responsibility for the wellbeing of your employees. Here’s a few guidelines on how you can effectively manage the health & safety of your sedentary workers:

  1. Encourage gentle exercise and walking throughout the day to improve circulation
  2. Ensure any employees that are seated for most of the day take regular breaks
  3. Consider rotating tasks such as filing, photocopying, or even making a coffee
  4. Train key staff on how to use an AED, and how to perform CPR
  5. Get consent to share medical information with relevant managers and first aiders
  6. Encourage all staff to drink water to combat dehydration—this can exacerbate any existing medical conditions, particularly in sedentary roles

Contact us should you require assistance 

Potential Circular Saw Safety Mistakes

Potential Circular Saw Safety Mistakes

It is statistically shown that more severe, debilitating injuries occur from the table saw than any other woodworking machine or power tool. When it comes to handheld woodworking power tools, the circular saw may take that crown as the most dangerous.

Safety Equipment

While using a circular saw always remember to wear the safety equipment. Never forget things like

  • Wearing a dust mask.
  • Using hearing protection.
  • Wearing safety glasses.
  • Avoid loose-fitting clothing.
  • Don’t wear any kind of jewellery.
  • Don’t let your hair stay loose.

These common safety protections will reduce the chances of accidents. Don’t take them too lightly. They sound silly, but one of the most major facts of the circular saw safety guard.

1) You’re Placing the Saw Upright, Not on It’s Side
Oh no, I am definitely guilty of making some of these Circular Saw mistakes! Take a look to make sure you're operating your circular saw power tool safely and effectively! #HomeImprovement #DIY #PowerTools #Safety #AButterflyHouseOh no, I am definitely guilty of making some of these Circular Saw mistakes! Take a look to make sure you're operating your circular saw power tool safely and effectively! #HomeImprovement #DIY #PowerTools #Safety #AButterflyHouse

If put down incorrectly, the user could get injured. Do not put the saw down before it has stopped moving. Place the saw on its side, and you’ll avoid this problem entirely.

2) When Carrying the Saw, Your Finger Is on the Trigger

I feel like this one is obvious once you think about it, but not something we ever stop and actually think about. If your finger is on the trigger and you trip and fall, you might press the trigger and start the saw, which would probably have bad consequences. Find another way to carry your saw.

3) You’re Supporting Your Piece on Both Sides

This seems like a good idea. If your piece is supported and clamped on both sides, then nothing will fall to the floor when you’re done cutting. I suppose that logic is technically correct, but you’ll rarely be able to finish cutting without encountering kickback. The two pieces sag toward the middle as you finish the cut, pinching the blade and causing kickback.

4) You’re Standing Directly Behind Your Saw/Cut

If kickback occurs, the saw will fly right into you. Stand a little to the left or right, therefore if kickback occurs, you wont be directly hit by the saw.

5) You’re Cutting with Dull Blades

This increases the likelihood of kickback. Enough said.

6) You’re Setting the Saw Depth Too Deep
Oh no, I am definitely guilty of making some of these Circular Saw mistakes! Take a look to make sure you're operating your circular saw power tool safely and effectively! #HomeImprovement #DIY #PowerTools #Safety #AButterflyHouse

This is bad for a couple reasons: A) The more saw that needs to go through the wood, the harder the saw has to work. The harder the saw has to work, the more likely it is to kickback. Keeping the saw at the appropriate depth therefore reduces kickback. B) The deeper the saw, the more the blade will be exposed. This increases the likelihood that it will come in contact with a human appendage.

Oh no, I am definitely guilty of making some of these Circular Saw mistakes! Take a look to make sure you're operating your circular saw power tool safely and effectively! #HomeImprovement #DIY #PowerTools #Safety #AButterflyHouse

The appropriate saw depth is 1/4″ more than the piece you’re cutting. Any deeper, and you’re setting is too deep!

7) You’re Wearing Gloves

Yes, wood has splinters, and gloves seem like a good idea. But they increase the risk of your hands getting caught in the saw, so they are a big no-no when operating any power tool.

I hope there was at least one thing on this list you learned about operating a circular saw, and the circular saw safety mistakes people commonly make. If so, make sure to subscribe to my email list; I plan to do a whole sequence of posts for all sorts of power tools, so make sure you don’t miss out!

Tips

  • Always remember to wait for the circular saw blade to stop. When it stops completely, only then you can do whatever you want to do with it. 
  • Never forget to check the whole set of the circular saw you’re going to use for cutting any element. Make sure that all of its parts are working properly.
  • Don’t forget to check the material you’re going to cut. Check carefully if there’s any screws or nails already on the material. If so, remove them before starting to cut.
  • Keep the blade always safe by leaving the blade guard to pivot.
  • Don’t act over smart. Keep maintaining a perfect balance of your full body and also on the cutting board.
  • Use both hands while cutting with a circular saw so that you get more comfort and stability.
  • Always remember to consult the new manual whenever you’re going to replace the saw equipment.

Contact us if you wish to discuss this topic.

 

What Should be in a First Aid Box

The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 require first-aid equipment to be provided as required and state that it should be easily accessible. The minimum requirement is to provide a first-aid box, clearly marked and containing essential first-aid equipment.

There is no defined list of mandatory contents in the regulations. What you include in each box should be determined by your first-aid needs risk assessment.

Reference may be made to the national standard, BS 8599-1:2019 Workplace First-Aid Kits. Most first-aid kits for sale on the market comply with this standard but you are free to include different contents as dictated by your local needs.

Reference might also be made to the example list included in the guidance on the regulations published by the HSE. Appendix 2 of L74 First-Aid at Work states that typical first-aid box contents in a low hazard environment will include:

  • 20 individually-wrapped sterile plasters
  • two sterile eye pads
  • two individually-wrapped triangular bandages, preferably sterile
  • six safety pins
  • individually-wrapped, sterile, unmedicated wound dressings (two large and six medium-sized)
  • at least three pairs of disposable gloves
  • a first-aid leaflet.

It is advised that the choice of gloves is made with reference to the risks of allergies caused by some latex gloves. Latex-free or nitrile (synthetic rubber) gloves are available.

Scissors or shears, cleansing wipes and a contents list (for restocking purposes) are also commonly included in first-aid boxes. HSE’s Basic Advice on First-Aid at Work is a good example of a leaflet to include.

L74 recommends that tablets and medicines should not be kept in the first-aid container.

The size, number and placement of your first-aid boxes will also be determined by your first-aid needs assessment. Considerations will include the number of employees, remoteness from emergency medical support, and the category of hazard identified in the workplace environment.

Boxes should be placed around the premises where they will be needed most and where they can be accessed easily.

Any vehicles run by the organisation should have a first-aid travelling kit on board (see L74 for details).

First-aid boxes should be regularly checked and restocked or replaced as necessary. Many items in a first-aid kit will have a limited shelf-life and should be checked to ensure they are still in date.

If you require first aid training, email us for approved suppliers.

If you have any queries, please contact us.