In June 2017, a fire ripped through a 24 storey building in West London, killing 72 people and injuring more than 70 others. Grenfell Tower was home to around 500 residents, and this tragedy put health and safety practices in the spotlight.
Reasons for the Grenfell tragedy
The cheaper cladding that covered the outside of Grenfell Tower added to the speed with which the fire spread. In addition to this, the building's smoke extraction system was not working, and firefighters struggled with the water supply due to the lack of a 'wet riser'.
Could this tragedy have been avoided had tougher fire safety measures been in place when the tower was refurbished?
It goes without saying that when it comes to health and safety in business, ensuring the well being of employees should be a top priority for all employers. After all, the consequences of getting it wrong are just all too devastating.
Of course, there are health and safety regulations in place that all businesses need to adhere to, but some follow them better than others.
Putting Health & Safety practices first
- Hire a health & safety officer to inspect your work building
A full inspection is important but don't try to do this independently. A registered health and safety officer will be better qualified to detect any potential hazards or risks with the structure and layout of the building. If any risks or hazards are identified, you are then in a position to start the process of rectifying them.
- Create an emergency action plan
Creating an emergency plan will help you control and eliminate any potential hazards in the workplace by informing your employees of the steps you are taking to improve health and safety at work. Keep first aid kits in a communal and easily accessible area and ensure your employees are fully aware of your fire drill procedure.
- Maintain records and keep a health & safety logbook
By keeping records of any first aid, treatment administered, the dates inspections took place, and the outcome, you will be better positioned to identify trends in any potential unsafe work conditions or procedures.
- Hold regular meetings with your employees
Having meetings with your staff will allow them to voice their opinion or raise any concerns they may have.
- Offer health & safety training to your staff
Training should be at the core of your health and safety initiative. It should be compulsory for all employees, especially if there is a risk of potential injury associated with a particular job. The training should include any hazards and risks they may be likely to face in their work environment and implement emergency procedures and provide a full explanation of all the measures that your company has in place to eliminate potential hazards.
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