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Failure to manage health, safety and welfare

Hazard Knowledge

All employers have a duty to look after the health, safety and welfare of their employees at work and to ensure their operations do not adversely affect the health and safety of other people. This duty is qualified by the test of what is reasonably practicable and therefore not all risks need to be eliminated. Even when all reasonably practicable precautions have been taken to deal with foreseeable risks, harm could still occur. 

Employees also have a duty to take reasonable care of their own health and safety, and that of any other person, and to co-operate with their employer in protecting people from harm. Individuals should operate as an effective team member within safe systems of work and be competent and knowledgeable about hazard and risk; this will give personnel sufficient knowledge to carry out risk assessments. 

The majority of National Operational Guidance provides hazard and control measure information regarding specific activities or contexts. However, any working environment may present hazards including: 

  • Uneven or slippery surfaces 
  • Steep gradients or undulating ground 
  • Working at height 
  • Working near water or other liquids 
  • Adverse weather conditions 
  • Electricity 
  • Sharp objects including: 
    • Glass 
    • Metal 
    • Hypodermic needles 
    • Blades 
    • Plant thorns or needles 
  • Falling objects 
  • Obstructions 
  • Allergens including: 
    • Plants 
    • Food 
  • Ultraviolet (UV) exposure 
  • Hot objects or surfaces 
  • Munitions 

Hazards that are encountered in the working environment may increase the risk of physical injuries to personnel, or adverse reactions, including: 

  • Musculoskeletal injuries 
  • Cuts, bruises or abrasions 
  • Fractures or amputations 
  • Crush injuries 
  • Head injuries 
  • Puncture wounds 
  • Drowning 
  • Asphyxia 
  • Burns or scalds 
  • Anaphylaxis  

See: Striking the balance between operational and health and safety duties in the Fire and Rescue Service, HSE 2010

See: Fire and Rescue Authorities. Health, Safety and Welfare Framework for the Operational Environment