Essentials of health and safety at work

Publication date: 
August 2009
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This book explains the essentials of health and safety at work, what the law requires and helps employers put it into practice. It is packed with sound advice which covers a broad range of workplace hazards. It also includes practical steps that protect people from harm and at the same time protect the future success of your business.


Contains this hierarchy for H&S improvements:

Starting with the best and most effective, the ways to deal with risks are:

  • Get rid of the risk altogether. For example, avoid the need to work at heights by moving things to ground level, stop using highly flammable chemicals if you don’t really need them, or change the layout of work so vehicles like lift trucks do not need to go through areas where there are pedestrians.
  • Swap for a lower risk. For example reduce the weight of things that need lifting, or use pedestrian-operated pallet trucks instead of lift trucks.
  • Separate the risks from people. For example put barriers between pedestrians and traffic, put guards on dangerous machinery, or use fixed pipes to pump dangerous liquids along rather than manual carrying and pouring.
  • Give people rules, procedures, training or personal protective equipment. These rely on people always being careful and never making mistakes.

Note that in a cycling context, H&S practise would recommend removing cars first, then lowering car speeds, then separating cars from the cyclists, and only as a last resort use training, helmets or high-viz clothing.