Engineering workshops are common in businesses all over the UK. The machines in such workshops are used for a large range of tasks. These include welding, sawing, cutting, grinding, drilling, painting, radiography and bending. There can be many risks associated with carrying out these activities. Making sure good workshop health and safety practices are followed is vital.
Engineering workshops can be hazardous environments. You must perform proper risk assessments and pass the findings into health and safety policy. Our guide to the law on workshop health and safety will help you understand the law, how to record accidents, and also carry out a risk assessment.
The Law on Workshop Health & Safety
There are range of requirements to create safe workshops. In order to follow health and safety laws and create good safety practises in your workshop you must:-
- Create a written health and safety policy for an engineering workshop with five or more staff.
- Keep this policy updated.
- Produce a Risk Assessment.
- Make the local HSE (Health and Safety Executive) inspector aware that your workplace is an engineering workshop.
- Display a current employers’ liability insurance certificate if there are employees.
- Display a Health and Safety Law poster or give staff a Health and Safety Law leaflet.
- Notify the authorities of any injuries, adverse events and occupational diseases.
- Make staff aware of any risks that may affect health and safety.
- Make staff aware of any health and safety information and training
HSE Inspectors enforce the law. They may arrive at an engineering workshop without prior notice. Inspectors may wish to inspect health and safety arrangements or investigate accidents.
Accidents sometimes happen no matter what workshop health and safety measures are in place. Managers or supervisors must Record and Report Accidents and learn from them.
An emergency plan can help deal with workplace accidents. A plan can be vital when there may be a need to rescue staff, deal with emergency services, and when there are risks to the public.
How to Create Workshop Emergency Plans
A plan should take the form of a series of emergency procedures and be an overview of what an accident or emergency might look like. In your plan you should:-
- Look at what type of accident or emergency might happen.
- Decide who should raise the alarm and how.
- Work out what to do in an emergency, and draw up a plan that helps the emergency services find you and understand the layout of the workshop.
- Establish places of safety in the event of an accident.
- Arrange for any necessary rescue equipment and emergency lighting to be put in place.
- Create emergency exits and make sure there are enough of them.
- Mark the exits clearly and ensure they remain free of obstructions.
- Make sure staff know who is in charge during an emergency.
- Arrange for some members of staff to have first aid training.
- Label all switches and valves that shut down a workshop.
- Make sure staff are fully aware of the emergency plan procedures & conduct drills and training.
- Take into account the needs of staff who may have disabilities.
There may be a variety of potentially Hazardous Substances within an engineering workshop. If so, it may be wise to take HSE advice on the full requirements of health and safety law and good practice.
Workshop Risk Assessments
To avoid accidents in the first place, the managers and supervisors of engineering workshops must conduct risk assessments.
There are a number of basic steps that act as a guide to the risk assessment process:
- Identify where the risks lie in the workshop.
- Work out who is at risk of harm and in what way.
- Assess the risks and compare these to the precautions that are currently in place: are these suitable or not?
- Make a written record of all findings if the workshop has five or more staff.
- Conduct regular reviews of the risk assessment and change it if needed.
Once the risk assessment in the work area has been completed, it should be used to help you understand how to carry out health and safety inspections at work. By identifying risk, you can inspect equipment and tools to make sure the workshop stays as safe as possible.