Today on Stray FM’s business hub we are talking about something that every single workplace in the UK, if not the entire world, has to take into consideration.  We are talking about Health and Safety, and from Craven Safety Services I have two people in the studio who are going to help us run through. We’re going to head very shortly into our virtual workplace, but first of all we need to introduce yourselves, and tell us what you do for Craven Safety Services.

Hi, I’m Liz Preston, I’m the managing director of Craven Safety Services.

Hi, I’m Ian Williamson, I’m a Health and Safety advisor for Craven Safety Services.

Now just before we came on, you were particularly saying that Health and Safety sometimes is hard to make sexy, but it is important isn’t it. Why is it something that we need to make sure that we’re on top of in workplaces?

It’s very important, obviously, everybody’s got a duty of care to look after all their employees, visitors and each other really.

I suppose you don’t want all your workforce to be off with injuries, that’s not going to do the business any good at all is it?

No, it’s something that would certainly hit your production and your productivity generally, but also it’s the sort of thing that can harm morale as well. If people are being injured and hurt at work then you know people might not want to work for you.

What sort of companies do you tend to work with most?

We can work with any type of business really, a lot of offices, call centres, the construction industry, manufacturers.

And you mainly cater for the Craven area?

We do, but we are finding that we are going further afield now, so we can actually go nationwide.

So we’re going to have a bit of a virtual walk around, then we’re going to be coming to a workplace which could sound very similar to your workplace if you’re listening. What room shall we head into first Liz, I’ll let you decide which room we’re going to go to first.

I think we should go into the kitchen first.

Okay, off we go to the kitchen. What are some of the most common things that you might find that would be an issue, in the world of health and safety.

Certainly electrical equipment; it’s very common for people to overload extension leads in the kitchen. You have a lot of high-powered energy sapping equipped like kettles and microwaves and they can be plugged into extension leads and overload the extension leads, which can cause them to overheat and this could cause a fire. PAT testing is recommended – PAT testing is Portable Appliance Testing.

Do you do PAT testing or do you get somebody else to come in to do that?

No, we don’t offer PAT testing but we have someone that we recommend and that we use ourselves.

Anything else in the kitchen?

I think in the kitchen as well, there may be a cupboard full of cleaning chemicals, that type of thing, which obviously should be locked away. A lot of the times as well, people don’t have a COSHH assessment that’s been done. It’s like a risk assessment basically on the product, what to do in the event of emergency, so if anybody splashes anything in their eye for example. Another issue might be obviously if you have been using your cleaning products and you’ve mopped the kitchen floor, for example, then just bobbing a wet floor sign up, just to warn people, and the next person that walks in doesn’t slip and fall.

Okay, right, are we done in the kitchen? Then should we head off? We’ll come back later to it to grab our lunch from the fridge, but we shall leave the kitchen and head out into a space that I guess most places would have, and it’s the office. Desks, computers, we have photocopiers, we have printers, a whole lot. What are some of the most common issues that you would find in an office space?

Access can be an issue sometimes, literally getting around the office, so then you can cram desks in, and it can be hard to get around. You should ideally leave at least a meter between desks and access ways, so people can get around and obviously keeping this, things like fire escapes, clear it will be very important.

Okay, another issue is making sure that your work station is set up correctly. You see a lot of places where the screens are in the wrong position and obviously making sure that people are taking regular breaks as well, away from the screen.

Whenever people are taking a break one of the places where they may want to go is the toilet, so as unglamorous as this is, Liz and Ian from Craven Safety Services shall we go into the toilet together?

So these are actually the employers sanitary conveniences.

Very official title there, I like that. So what’s going on in the toilet then, do you don’t have to describe everything to us he was in here there are some parts that don’t need discussing, but what should you be looking out for?

I don’t think there’s too much going on in the toilet we need to be too concerned with, again probably is just the slip signs if you’ve mopped the floor, if they’ve been cleaned, and also making sure that there aren’t any cleaning products just behind the loo that aren’t locked away or had an assessment done on them really.

I think it’s also important, depending on the size of your office and how many people you have, that you have enough.

One toilet for 500 people is not quite going to cut is it.

No, definitely not. Right let’s leave the toilet then and how about we head outside.

There are laws on smoking, some sites have a policy of not smoking at all on site, including the outside areas. Really an employer should be looking to provide a smoking area if possible.  In winter making sure that the paths and roadways are gritted, obviously at night time you want to make sure you’ve got some lighting, some exterior lighting, so that people could find the way to their cars or at least find their way off site.

We’ve had our walk around our virtual office, thank you very much for keeping me company. Just remind us why this is important, because if you are running a company, you’re running a business, you feel you’ve got a million things to do on your list; why health and safety, why should that be important and why should they come to Craven Safety Services to have you look around their not virtual workplace?

Well, Health and Safety is obviously a legal requirement, you can get yourself into a lot of trouble, there’s high fines and even imprisonment in some cases, and obviously keeping everybody safe at work’s a massive thing to do, it’s good for staff morale, that everybody can see that you actually seem to be doing something.  Here at Craven Safety Services we try and do a very simple, structured approach to your Health and Safety so we would come in, assess everything. I’ll tell you what you need to do, not try and over sell you anything, or get you to do something that’s not necessary.  We just focus on what you need to do and then the most simplest way to actually get that done for you.

Am I’m a right in thinking you also offer some training as well, so people who have to lift heavy things, or you know need to know first aid you can you can sort all that out as well.

Yes, we offer a variety of courses like Manual Handling, Fire Safety Awareness, a little bit of training is required to make sure everybody knows what they’re doing and working safely.

So, what should happen first and if there’s somebody out there thinking I don’t know if I’m on top of mine to be honest and they want to get in touch with Craven Safety Services, what should they do?

You could visit our website which is cravensafetyservices.co.uk or you can just pick up the phone and give us a call, all our contact details are on the website, we’re on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, all the social media.  We do actually offer a free mini audit, so if anybody just wants us to come along, no obligation, we’ll come and sit down for half an hour to an hour with you, have a look at everything that you’ve got in place and give you some recommendations for the way forward.

Fantastic Liz and Ian, thank you very much.