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Kevin Rowe

Who is responsible for health and safety in the workplace?

Who is responsible for health and safety in the workplace?

Every year, many people are injured or suffer ill health due to hazards in the workplace. According to the Health and Safety Executive, in 2021/22 1.8 million people were suffering from a work-related illness and 565,000 workers sustained an injury at work.

Effective health and safety practices and an appropriate workplace culture help to protect people from work-related hazards. It is essential that both the employer and employees understand their roles and responsibilities with regard to health and safety at work.

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The Importance of COSHH Assessments

The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Act oversees occupational health and safety involving hazardous substances. While the name ‘COSHH’ is well known in many industries, it is often unclear who is legally responsible for implementing and complying with COSHH regulations on a day-to-day basis.

The delegated responsibility can be especially unclear when employees work off-site, or if an employee fails to follow control measures in place. As such, it is critical that all those involved in working with hazardous substances understand their duties and responsibilities in order to remain COSHH-compliant.

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Fire Regulations - January 2023 Update: What You Need to Know

Following the Hackett review and the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, the government has continued to enact additional fire safety legislation. As a result, the regulations governing day-to-day fire safety rules have been amended.

The Fire Safety Act 2021 (FSA 2021), which went into effect in England in May 2022, is now fully operational in both Wales and England.

The Fire Safety Regulations apply only to multi-occupied residential buildings in England and impose new rules for:

  • Non-high-rise buildings - for example, fire safety instructions must be provided to residents
  • Buildings over 11 metres - for example, annual checks of fire doors must be performed
  • Buildings over 18 metres - for example, floor plans must now be provided to Fire and Rescue Services

What does the Fire Safety Act 2021 say?

The FSA 2021 expands the scope of the Fire Safety Order to include the safe maintenance of the building’s structure, exterior walls (including cladding, windows, doors, and balconies), and individual flat entry doors between private premises and the communal elements of multi-occupied residential structures.

The new Act says that fire risk assessments must be undertaken and updated as needed to ensure that control mechanisms are in place to guarantee that the building can be safely occupied.

The FSA 2021 and its accompanying regulations will provide a clearer route for legal action and punishment against any Responsible Person who fails to meet their duties. Penalties for violations of fire safety regulations include unlimited fines and/or imprisonment. Average fines for fire safety violations have skyrocketed in the aftermath of Grenfell, so it is vital that the Responsible Person understands their responsibilities and can ensure the highest fire safety standards are met.

Know the Responsible Person's (RP) duties

The notion of a "Responsible Person" (RP) is not new; the RP of a business already has certain responsibilities under the current Fire Safety Order. The RP is the person who is accountable for the safety on-site under the new regulations.

The RP is typically the premises owner, but in residential complexes, it can also be any other person in charge of the communal areas or the outside of the property.

New duties for the Responsible Person

Any changes in duties for the RP will depend on the type of building in which they operate. As such, the new responsibilities depend on if the RP is in:

Multi-occupied residential buildings with two or more sets of domestic premises.
  • Provide relevant fire safety instructions to residents, including instructions on how to report a fire, and what a resident must do once a fire has occurred, based on the evacuation strategy for the building
  • Provide residents with information relating to the importance of fire doors in fire safety
Buildings above 11m
    Provide fire door information and fire safety instructions
  • Conduct annual checks of entrance doors to flats and quarterly checks to all fire doors in common areas
Buildings of at least 18m or seven or more storeys
  • Provide fire safety training, fire door information, and fire door inspections
  • Install and maintain a secure information box in the facility, which must include the Responsible Person's name and contact information, and hard copies of the relevant floor plans
  • Maintain current digital floor plans for the local Fire and Rescue Service and keep a copy in the Information Box
  • Send information on the design and materials used in the external wall to the local fire department, along with specifics about any dangers and mitigating measures performed

To guarantee compliance with the Fire Safety Regulations, systems must be in place by January 23, 2023. Ensure that your premises are fully compliant with the latest regulations by reading through the Fire Regulations January 2023 Update.

Supplying Unilin’s ambitious build with safety flex barriers

Supplying Unilin’s ambitious build with safety flexbarriers

At the tail-end of 2022, SafetyBuyer had the pleasure of helping Unilin, a Liverpool-based flooring business, to move into a new warehouse. Unilin produces sustainable and high-quality wood-based flooring solutions for the construction and interior sector. The company’s global reach extends to over 100 locations, driven by some 8,200 employees to produce floor covering, panel and insulation material. 


For an organisation of this size, growth is constant, and this requires the highest level of planning and strategy. Further, when growth means developing and constructing new operational buildings, safety must be held at utmost priority. 


As such, when continued expansion demanded the development of a purpose-build warehouse, Unilin reached out to Safety Buyer to provide construction safety equipment of the highest standard. With our experience in delivering products to ensure safe and seamless construction for projects at any scale, we were delighted to help.

The planning stage

From the moment of the initial enquiry, SafetyBuyer assisted by providing information about its services and expertise. Unilin used our contact form to detail its plan for a new-build warehouse in Liverpool. It was clear that this project would require thorough planning and careful adherence to regulations to ensure that safety would be maintained at the highest possible level throughout. 


A vital aspect of a warehouse build is the constant presence of moving machinery and personnel. This can result in a high risk of accidents unless a project is carefully planned and appropriate safety equipment is employed effectively. For such builds, impact protection barriers are the perfect choice to help regulate the flow of traffic within the site, protect vulnerable piping and other essential indoor equipment, and ensure that pedestrians are kept clear from vehicle routes. SafetyBuyer has impact protection barriers for both indoor and outdoor use, and the modular aspect of the Flex barriers allows for a tailored layout to suit their floorspace and ensure staff are protected throughout the site.


For a build of this size, the need for efficiency and meticulous attention to detail was critical to ensure the smooth continuation of operations throughout construction. As such, safety is held paramount, to ensure that the build can be completed on schedule without any increased risk of accidents or injuries.


The client identified the necessary product to aid their safe expansion. From there, our in-house technical experts provided help in ordering all the correct components for Unilin’s specific needs. 

The supplying of goods

In order to meet the required safety standards for construction projects and keep everyone on-site safe, project planners must perform a thorough risk assessment and consider which pieces of safety equipment may be the most appropriate. Failure to consider all the possible risks involved can result in an employee injury, which can delay construction and might lead to operational repercussions. 


As such, in-depth telephone conversations were held to fully identify Unilin’s requirements. We also analysed the design and dimensions of the site, using a survey plan supplied by the client. 


The technical team accounted for all the factors that might pose a risk to safety and the measures that must be taken to mitigate these. After careful consideration, we prepared a quote, alongside scale drawings for the proposed specifications and layout of the modular Flex barriers, for a final agreement and sign-off. 


We supplied the goods directly to the site for installation by the capable Unilin team. In order to ensure the product was installed correctly and the fitting met the necessary safety requirements, we also conducted a technical support call to assist the on-site team. This also ensured that the team could test the equipment and ensure it performed properly.


As a result of our help, there were no on-site accidents during construction.

Our range of impact protection barriers

Assisting Unilin’s project and aiding in maintaining the safety of the new-build warehouse construction project was a fantastic opportunity, of which the team at SafetyBuyer is happy to have been a part. 


SafetyBuyer has long supplied safety barriers to organisations that wanted to ensure the total safety of a construction site or other workplace. You can view our entire range of impact protection barriers here.


If you are carrying out an ambitious build or construction project and require safety equipment, speak to a member of the SafetyBuyer team who can advise you on what you need to ensure optimum on-site safety. Call us on 0800 043 0161 or fill out our contact form here.

COSHH in Care Homes

The significance of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) in nursing homes should never be underestimated. Over 1.8 million individuals working in the UK suffer from a work-related disease, according to the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE), costing firms an estimated £18 billion every year.

COSHH regulations are a collection of laws that delegate safety responsibility to employers. The rules emphasise the need for risk assessments and management mechanisms in the workplace to limit exposure to hazardous chemicals and keep employees and customers safe from harm or injury. 

Here, the experts in COSHH at SafetyBuyer define COSHH and explain why it is so important in care homes. We shall also go over employer and employee responsibilities for COSHH compliance, as well as where hazardous compounds are most likely to be found in nursing homes.

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The Best COSHH Storage Cabinets for Compliance

All companies must try to prevent workplace accidents, but workplaces that use hazardous chemicals also have to follow the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health's (COSHH) requirements. This legislation means that if activities require the use of hazardous substances, appropriate storage and spill control measures must be offered. 

Your organisation should adopt solutions at the greatest level of compliance to guarantee that staff remain safe during everyday operations, whether that means implementing absorption solutions, secure storage choices, or spill control equipment...

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What COSHH Means for Your Business's Practices

The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) is the law that governs occupational health and safety when handling hazardous substances. On work premises, however, it is not always clear who is legally responsible for putting COSHH into practice and adhering to it on a daily basis.

It is crucial that everyone involved in an organisation is aware of their duties and responsibilities in order to maintain COSHH compliance. The liability for enforcing COSHH can also be less clear when employees work off-site, or if an employee disregards control measures put in place to protect them from the harm posed by hazardous substances.

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COSHH Items Every Business Should Own

Companies must strive to prevent workplace accidents and adhere to the health standards set by the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH). If daily activities involve hazardous substances, they must provide adequate storage and spill control solutions relevant to hazardous substances. To ensure that your employees are protected from the possibility of dangerous spillages read the guide below on COSHH items every business should own.

Whether you are looking for spill containment equipment, secure storage options, or absorbent solutions, your business should implement solutions at the highest level of compliance, that ensure workers remain safe throughout daily activities.

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COSHH - What Does it Stand For?

COSHH stands for the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH). It is a set of laws established to safeguard workers against ill health and harm when handling substances and materials that pose health hazards. These regulations have been in place since 2002, when they were introduced under the auspices of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). To put the COSHH regulations into effect, a business must carry out a COSHH risk assessment, focusing on the dangers of common substances and risks of ill health posed by the specific substances they use in their work.

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Fire Extinguisher Regulations in the Workplace

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RRO) rules that appropriate fire-fighting equipment, including portable fire extinguishers, must be provided where there is any risk of fire. This law governs all fire safety regulations in England and Wales for non-domestic premises.

According to the RRO, business managers and owners who have been designated as responsible persons (RP) are in charge of creating and maintaining a fire management plan and conducting a fire safety risk assessment. Below, the experts in workplace fire safety at SafetyBuyer outline the fire extinguisher regulations in the workplace.

Who is accountable for adhering to fire safety regulations?

You may be delegated the role of RP if you are any of the below at a non-residential property, including the workplace:

  • An occupant
  • An owner
  • A landlord
  • An employer
  • Any other person in charge of the property, such as a risk assessor, facilities manager, building manager, or building managing agent

If you are a business owner or employer, you should have delegated the role of RP, and you are required to make everyone else on the premises aware of who holds it.. The RP should be trained and educated on the fire extinguisher regulations, starting with understanding what the different fire extinguishers types are.

Types of fire extinguishers

Fire risks can be distinguished into six classes:

  • Class A - flammable substances made of carbon, such as paper, wood, or fabrics
  • Class B - combustible liquids, such as paraffin, gasoline, diesel, or oil (but not cooking oil)
  • Class C - combustible gases such as butane, propane, or methane
  • Class D - metals that burn, such as lithium, magnesium, or aluminium
  • Electric spark symbol - fires brought on by electrical equipment
  • Class F - fats and cooking oils

The above types of fire can be extinguished with the below extinguishers types:

  • Class A - water, water mist, foam, dry powder, and wet chemicals
  • Class B - water mist, foam, dry powder, CO2, some wet chemicals
  • Class C - dry powder and water mist
  • Class D - specialist dry powder
  • Electrical - some CO2, foam, and water mist
  • Class F - wet chemical and water mist

What number of fire extinguishers do I need at the workplace?

Unless the workplace is extremely small, in which case one Class A fire extinguisher may be allowed, the standards require a minimum of two Class A fire extinguishers on each storey of a building. Fire extinguishers of this class typically come in volumes of three or six litres of foam or nine litres of water, however, additional sizes may also be required, depending on the nature of the materials present at the workplace - for example, the need for CO2 extinguishers for electrical fires.

Fire extinguishers must be visible and easily reachable. To encourage people to move away from the fire, you should place fire extinguishers near exits and fire alarm call points.

Commissioning fire extinguishers

A competent individual must commission fire extinguishers on-site - this is generally an individual with the BAFE fire extinguisher qualification - or equivalent - from a fire protection company with third-party certification.

Maintenance and servicing

Extinguishers need to be kept in good functioning condition. The RP should perform monthly inspections and the extinguishers must be serviced once a year by a qualified individual.

The basic monthly inspection includes checking that it is:

  • In date
  • Has not been tampered with
  • In operating order
  • Has the right weight and pressure
  • Has the proper signage and positioning

The service and inspections should be recorded on the service label on the side of the canister and advice should be given regarding refilling, replacement, or the need for any additional extinguishers. Keeping a permanent record of all fire extinguisher servicing, maintenance, and inspections is mandated by law.

Fire risk assessments

The fire safety risk assessment is essential and is applicable to all enterprises, no matter how small, as many parts of the law are not prescriptive. RPs should hold fire drills, and teach personnel how to use extinguishers correctly and where they should be placed. In addition to injury and death, failure to protect staff by providing appropriate equipment could result in legal action and denial of insurance payouts.

You can use the BS5306 guidelines to determine which fire extinguishers to use and where.

Equip your workplace with leading fire safety solutions

Every workplace must have the correct fire extinguishers and fire safety solutions. Find our entire range of fire safety equipment here - including fire extinguishers and extinguisher stands and brackets.

Safety Signs
Safety Signs
First Aid
First Aid
PPE & Workwear
PPE & Workwear
Fire Safety
Fire Safety
COSHH & Spill Control
COSHH & Spill Control
Floor Safety
Floor Safety
Pedestrian & Traffic
Pedestrian & Traffic
Custom Site Boards
Custom Site Boards