Thursday the 21st May sees the return of National Waiters Day – a celebration of all front of house and service staff throughout the UK.
Over 2.5 million people are employed as service staff in the UK leisure and hospitality industry. National Waiters Day not only acknowledges their hard work and dedication it also acts as a publicity drive to inspire potential employees.
The event aims to quash the general perception that careers front of house are for the unskilled – when the reality is the complete opposite. To work front of house is a talent that not everybody is gifted with. Staff have to be everything to everybody. Consequently it is imperative that their well-being is looked after.
Employers’ health and safety responsibilities
It is an employer’s duty to protect the health, safety and welfare of their employees. Employers must do whatever is reasonably practicable to achieve this i.e. making sure that workers are protected from anything that may cause harm; effectively controlling any risks to injury or health that could arise.
Risk assessment should be carried out by a competent member of management, staff or external assessor. Their purpose is to spot possible health and safety hazards.
Businesses employing five or more people must also provide:
- an official record of what the assessment finds (plans must be put in place to deal with the risks)
- a formal health and safety policy which includes arrangements to protect staff health and safety
All employers, whatever the size of the business, must:
- make the workplace safe
- prevent risks to health
- ensure that plant and machinery is safe to use
- ensure safe working practices are set up and followed
- make sure that all materials are handled, stored and used safely
- provide adequate first aid facilities
- tell staff about any potential hazards, giving information, instructions, training and supervision as needed
- set up emergency plans
- make sure that ventilation, temperature, lighting, toilet, washing and rest facilities all meet health, safety and welfare requirements
- check that the right work equipment is provided and is properly used and regularly maintained
- prevent or control exposure to substances that may damage health
- take precautions against the risks caused by flammable or explosive hazards, electrical equipment, noise and radiation
- avoid potentially dangerous work involving manual handling (and if it can’t be avoided, take precautions to reduce the risk of injury)
- provide health supervision as needed
- provide protective clothing or equipment free of charge (if risks can’t be removed or adequately controlled by any other means)
- ensure that the right warning signs are provided and looked after
- Understand legal reporting obligations of accidents, illnesses etc.
Making the workplace safe and healthy
So that the work premises provide a safe and healthy place to work, employers should:
- make sure that workplaces are properly ventilated, with clean and fresh air
- keep temperatures at a comfortable level (a minimum of 13 degrees Centigrade where the work involves physical activity; 16 degrees Centigrade for ‘stinter’ like offices – there’s no maximum limit
- light premises so that employees can work and move about safely
- keep the workplace and equipment clean
- ensure that areas are big enough to allow easy movement (at least 11 cubic meters per person)
- provide workstations to suit the employees and the work
- keep the equipment in good working order
- make floors, walkways, stairs, roadways safe to use
- protect people from falling from height or into dangerous substances
- store things so they’re unlikely to fall and cause injuries
- fit openable windows, doors and gates with safety devices if needed
- provide suitable washing facilities and clean drinking water
- if necessary, provide somewhere for employees to get changed and to store their own clothes
- set aside areas for rest breaks and to eat meals, including suitable facilities for pregnant women and nursing mothers
- let employees take appropriate rest breaks and their correct holiday entitlement
- make sure that employees who work alone, or off-site, can do so safely and healthily
NDML Risk Management packages provide clients with the support, confidence and ability to independently facilitate health & safety management and employment issues. For more information or to try our risk assessment checklist visit http://www.ndml.co.uk/risk-management/
For more information about Employer’s responsibilities visit
The National Waiters Day race takes place on the 21st May 2015, 4pm, Hyde Park. For more information about the London event or events local to you, visit www.nationalwaitersday.com