Health and Safety for Locksmiths
What is Health and Safety?
Health and safety or ‘H&S’ is a vital and important discipline with regulations that prevent people from being harmed in the workplace or by the work conducted. H&S is essentially about the precautions taken to ensure a safe working environment, both mentally and physically.
What is Occupational Health and Safety?
Occupation health and safety or OHS relates to all health, safety, and wellness in the workplace. Within OHS, there are laws and regulations designed to improve the workplace for workers, customers, and other stakeholders.
Stakeholder: Anyone that might have an interest in the business.
Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
This part of legislation is the primary regulations that all businesses much abide by. This act sets out the general duties which:
- Employers have towards their employees and the members of the public
- Employees have to one another
- Self-employed have towards themselves and others.
How Does the H&S Act 1974 Apply to a Locksmith?
Working as a Locksmith, you will most likely be self-employed. Therefore, it is your duty under the 1974 act to ensure, so far as reasonably practical, that all those concerned in a situation including yourself are not exposed to risks of health and safety. Put simply, you must conduct yourself in a way that does not cause risk or harm to yourself, a customer, or anyone else present in the situation.
If, in circumstances that are reasonably practical, there is a situational that an undertaking might affect the health and safety of everyone affected, then there is an obligation to notify those affected of such and provide safety instructions. For example, if drilling a lock can create metal shavings that are dangerous to the eyes, then the person drilling must be wearing protective equipment in accordance with H&S regulations and notify all others in the close proximity of the danger and to take precautions.
Health and Safety Work Regulations 1999
These regulations outline how employers must assess and mange risks to their employees and others that may occur due to the work being conducted. It also outlines how it is an employee’s duty to work safely in accordance with their training and any safety instructions given to them.
How Does H&S Work Regulations 1999 Apply to a Locksmith?
As a self-employed Locksmith, you will need to conduct a risk assessment for yourself and any customer that you may attend to, this will help guide you to the correct procedures you need to take whilst onsite and compared to the training that you received when you trained to become a Locksmith.
What is a Risk Assessment?
A risk assessment is the process where any hazards are identified and linked to any risks are analyse and evaluated. An important distinction to make is between a risk and a hazard; a hazard is anything that can cause harm, including work accidents and emergency situations. A risk however is the chance that a hazard could occur.
Potential Safety Risks for Locksmiths
When you consider occupational safety for Locksmiths, the work which a Locksmith carries out can be hazardous so there are a few safety risks to consider.
Many different Locksmith jobs can produce metal shavings which can be very hazardous should they get in eyes, under nails or embedded into skin. Not only can it be painful but cause detrimental health effects. Metal shavings can be sent flying when carrying out a lock change or when completing a range of different Locksmith jobs so ensuring that you are prepared for this occupational hazard will help to ensure that health and safety is upheld.
We have already discussed that metal shavings should be considered when thinking about hazards but they can also produce another hazard – Lead. Inhaling lead can have serious effects on your health and thus are an important hazard to consider.
Similar to metal shavings, splinters are another hazard which can be dismissed but when overlooked can be painful and even lead towards inflammation or infection. Splinters can be embedded superficially or into soft tissue and need to be removed immediately, ultimately, they can just be an irritant but should be something to consider when thinking about occupational hazards.
Precautions to Take Whilst on the Job
Much like in every industry it is important to take precautions to prevent injuries and harm to not only yourself but also colleges and customers. For example, it is a requirement for those on a building site to be wearing high visibility clothing and a hard hat to reduce the risk of injury and to increase their visibility to others. It is here where a risk assessment is vital to ensure that everyone maintains safe and the risk is a low as it reasonably can be.
Locksmith Protective Equipment
In order to take the proper precautions whilst on site to ensure health and safety there are a few elements of protective equipment that we suggest any Locksmith should have.
The use of safety glasses ensures that your eyes are protected against any flying debris that may come from cutting, drilling, or installing. There are many different versions of glasses available which offer a variety of protection.
Cut Resistant Gloves
To protect the skin of your hands and nail beds, having a pair of cut resistant gloves ensures that your hands are protected whilst also allowing for easy freedom of movement. This ensures that when using equipment that could potentially be dangerous your hands are protected or likewise protects against metal shavings.
Protective clothing is the easiest way to give extra protection to the most sensitive and most at risk parts of the body. Reinforced elbows and knees ensure that when whilst manoeuvring, working, and kneeling the clothes last.
It is recommended by the Health Safety Executive that all work places over 5 employees should have a delegated First Aider to meet the health and safety requirements duties, however as a Locksmith you will most likely be on your own so at the very least, we suggest carrying a fully stocked first aid kit on board your Locksmith van so that your are prepare should you get injured.