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Why Health and Safety is important

West Lothian Council is committed to ensuring the health, safety and wellbeing of all its employees, customers and others who visit or work on our premises.

Employer Responsibility

As an Employer we care about the wellbeing of all our staff. We are committed to maintaining the quality of our health and safety at work responsibilities through continual communication and raising awareness.

As an Employee the benefits to you are a safe, secure pleasant working environment.

Employee Responsibility

It is your duty to take reasonable care for the health and safety of yourself and others whilst working for WLC and to cooperate with managers to ensure good standards of health , safety and welfare continue to exist.

We want all employees to come to their workplace and return home without the fear of being injured or of suffering ill health as a result of their work.

West Lothian Council - Accident Statistics

4, 273 health and safety incidents were reported during the year April 2018- March 2019.

Feedback from staff is that a new online system has made it easier to report incidents and raised an awareness of what to report.

The top categories of incidents recorded were:

  • Physical or verbal assault 
  • Being hit by a moving, falling or flying Object
  • Manual Handling.

Incident reporting - Near Misses/RIDDOR

Throughout the Council many of you will have experienced situations where you thought "that was close" or "I never thought or expected that to happen". Statistics have shown that for every single fatality in a workplace there are approximately 10 serious injuries, 30 minor injuries and 600 near miss incidents reported.  

634 near miss incidents were reported within WLC during the year.   

We reported 36 RIDDOR incident to the Health and Safety Executive. These involved serious accidents that resulted in injuries such as fractures, dislocations and over 7 day absence's to council staff, members of the public, contractors, clients, residents, etc.

It's important that near misses are reported because action can then be taken by managers to prevent an injury from occurring in the future by the implementing suitable controls measures.

Sphera

"Sphera" (formally known as RIVO) is WLC Health and Safety Management system which was introduced in 2016. 

The system allows all staff to record work place incidents / accidents / near misses / Dangerous Occurrences and Occupational Diseases by a link located within the Council's intranet homepage.

It also allows all health and safety information e.g. risk assessments, safe systems of work, COSHH assessments and audits to be created, stored and accessed.

The introduction of Sphera provided WLC with a system which is easy to use, robust and it helps support each service in managing their health and safety risks.

What can you do to help WLC be a safer place?

Regularly visit the Health, Safety and Welfare page on the Staff Intranet. Keep yourself abreast with any new developments.

Ensure you read all information regarding Risk Assessments and Safe Systems of work in your workplace that are relevant to you.  If you need more information ask your line manager.

Personal Safety

These are the precautions we take to ensure the personal safety of employees whilst at work. More detailed information can be found on the Staff - Intranet,https://intranet.westlothian.gov.uk/article/29248/Personal-Safety-at-Work-Guidance-issued-May-2018

Lone Working

Lone working can be described as any work task that is specifically intended to be carried out by an unaccompanied person, without direct supervision or immediate access to another person for assistance.

Devices are issued to staff who work alone and where a risk assessment has been completed. These devices provide employees with 24 hour access to a call centre and an emergency response if required.

If you have been issued with this device, you MUST use it as per training and guidance for you own personal safety.

Usage of all devices is reported monthly to Heads of Service. Each service has employees who are trained to provide advice and guidance for all users of the devices. For help and guidance on the use and management of the devices please https://intranet.westlothian.gov.uk/article/37801/Lone-Worker.

Work Related Violence

Work related violence is an incident in which an employee is abused, threatened or assaulted in circumstances relating to their work. This can either be from a colleague or anyone that you deal with as part of your work.

We are better placed to help you and implement control measures to protect employees if all instances of violent behaviour are reported.  This information helps to identify additional preventative actions and can also show if a trend is developing.

Unacceptable Actions 

Defining Unacceptable Actions

Behaviour is not viewed as unacceptable just because a complainant is forceful or determined. However, the actions of complainants who are angry or excessively demanding may result in unreasonable demands on services or unacceptable behaviour towards councillors or employees. It is these actions that are considered unacceptable and the aim is to manage this through this policy. These actions can be grouped under four broad headings:

  • Aggressive or Abusive Behaviour
  • Unreasonable Demands
  • Unreasonable Persistence
  • Managing unacceptable customers' behaviour

Employee guidance

Dealing with unacceptable behaviour can be complex but help if available and employee guidance is available - https://www.westlothian.gov.uk/article/11829/Unacceptable-Actions

Whistleblowing

The Council's Disclosure of Information by Employees (Whistleblowing) Policy is a statement of the council's commitment to good governance. The Policy is designed to help create an environment in which employees understand their responsibilities, and management can demonstrate their accountability. The council's policy on whistle-blowing is designed to encourage workers to raise concerns about wrongdoing or malpractice within the council.

Any employee may become aware of serious wrongdoing in the council or have information regarding malpractice. The disclosure of such matters is clearly in the public interest and the council has outlined the steps an employee should take to bring serious situations to the attention of the council. This policy and the accompanying user guide have been designed to provide guidance to employees on reporting incidents of malpractice or wrongdoing thoroughly, discreetly and in a confidential way.

Visit the council's and scroll down to the Whistleblowing section for more information.