Workplace Health and Safety Advice for Employers

16 April 2019

All Irish employers have workplace health and safety obligations under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005. This act is the primary piece of workplace health and safety legislation in Ireland. In addition to the 2005 Act, there are a wide range of industry specific health and safety regulations in the workplace to consider depending on what type of business you operate.

Employers who fail to ensure the highest workplace safety standards expose their business to the risk of heavy financial penalties and even criminal sanctions.

It's vital, therefore, to safeguard your business against health and safety claims by ensuring you comply with the law.

Why is health and safety important in the workplace?

Many employers underappreciate how strong health and safety management can improve their bottom line.  Some of the key benefits of safety in the workplace include:

  • Reducing your business’s exposure to the costs of ill-health.
  • Reducing the risk of costly workplace accidents.
  • Reducing the need for legal advice and incurring legal fees.
  • Improved reputation as an employer.
  • Lower insurance premiums.

Likewise, if you don’t take personal safety in the workplace seriously, you increase your business’s exposure to the following risks:

  • Injury, disease or other harm to employees.
  • Staff fatalities in extreme circumstances.
  • High absence rates.
  • Low workforce morale.
  • High staff turnover.
  • Sever financial penalties.
  • Reputational damage.
  • Prohibition/improvement notices or prosecution by the Health and Safety Authority.

Not many businesses can afford a serious health and safety prosecution and this is why it’s so important to have robust health and safety management systems in place.

Risk assessment

Under the 2005 Act, employers have two key documents to bear in mind as part of their health & safety obligations. These are:

  • the health & safety risk assessment, and
  • the safety statement.

The risk assessment is a three-step process that involves identifying hazards, assessing the risks and putting control measures and safety procedures in the workplace in place. 

The information gathered during the risk assessment is then used to develop a safety statement which is a written action programme for safeguarding the health and safety of people using the workplace.

This document will identify safety issues in the workplace and include information about basic safety rules in the workplace.

The results of your risk assessment should be carefully considered and you should document all relevant health and safety measures in the workplace in your safety statement.

Creating a strong health and safety workplace culture

There are clear benefits for promoting a strong health and safety culture in the workplace. A healthy and safe workforce are much more likely to be productive than a team that does not feel safe in their working environment. This is why it’s vital for management and business owners to ensure that improving safety culture in the workplace is one of their key strategic aims.

If staff see that management do not take health and safety matters seriously, this can have a detrimental impact on your business. Companies that have a strong commitment to health and safety management are more likely to enjoy overall business success.

Need our help?

Health and safety management is an important part of running a successful business. Let Peninsula guide you through the health and safety processes and documents you need to promote a strong health and safety culture in your workplace.

Peninsula clients enjoy 24/7 access to health and safety support specialists. And if you’re not yet a client, you can still enjoy a free advice call from one of our health and safety experts. Simply call us on 0818 923 923.

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