You are a full-time worker at a busy retail store selling shoes and shoe care products. The store is open 09.00 – 18.00 Monday – Saturday, and 10.00 – 16.00 on Sundays. It is located within a large shopping centre.
There are four other full-time workers, two part-time workers covering weekends, and a new store manager who joined the team 3 months ago. The previous store manager left the role 6 months ago. You have been employed at the store for 10 years. Temporary workers are usually employed by the store during busy seasonal sale periods on a short-term contract, ranging from a couple of days to a couple of weeks.
On the second floor of the building there is a stockroom with a high ceiling that is accessed by stairs from the back of the store. Within the stockroom there is floor-to-ceiling shoe racking to optimise space. The racking is designed in a way that allows quick retrieval of stock, so customers are not left waiting for too long. The previous store manager did not like having customers being kept waiting and workers still feel under pressure to get to customers quickly. Often, two or three customers are served at the same time during busy periods, so workers tend to fetch multiple boxes of shoes from the stockroom in one trip to save time and energy. Although the current store manager works on the shop floor, they spend most of their time at the cash register serving customers.
To help improve serving time, the previous store manager implemented your suggestion of placing popular items on racking near the front of the stockroom. Shoes that have been tried on by customers and not bought, are returned to the stockroom immediately and put back in their original place.
In the stockroom, a small lockable step ladder and step stool are shared between yourself and other workers so that stock stored on higher shelves can be reached safely.
Sundries such as shoe polish, laces, and shoe protector products, are expected to be offered and sold once a customer decides to purchase a pair of shoes. The sales targets around this are set by the store manager and a small commission is earned by the workers for any sundries sold.
In a previous role, you completed a National General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety. Because of this, the previous store manager involved you in some health and safety matters from time to time, such as risk assessments and an informal induction for new temporary and permanent workers. Most of the advice you give before new workers start comes from your own experience, such as showing them how to handle heavy stock, as there is nothing official written down. You also try to spend a day with new workers before leaving them on their own, but this is not always possible. You have noticed that the current store manager is not health and safety aware and occasionally they have delegated health and safety responsibilities to you like the previous store manager did.
You enjoy your job as you get to meet a variety of customers, and it involves plenty of exercise going up and down the stairs to get different shoe sizes and styles. You often joke that you save money on a health club membership as ‘this job is your gym workout’.
Many of your colleagues choose to wear fashionable footwear such as heels, opened-toed shoes and unlaced trainers to work. You used to wear nice, fashionable shoes during work hours, but due to aching feet and calves, not to mention a few near-miss trips down the stairs when carrying boxes, you have decided to wear flat shoes only. You mention this to the current store manager who says they will check and update the risk assessment when they have time.
Seasonal changes in stock, and recent employment of temporary workers, have left the stockroom in a mess. The stock has been put in the wrong place or left on the floor, making it harder to find. You tell the current store manager that, over the last few years, you have observed many near misses in the stockroom. Some of these near misses include shoe boxes falling from a height, trips over boxes not put away properly, and the use of broken step ladders. You also have some ideas on how to make the stockroom safer and how to utilise the space better.
The current store manager asks you where they could find information on near misses. You assumed that the previous store manager would have dealt with them, as you were never asked to become involved. You are not even sure if all workers know that any near misses should be reported, as this information is not something you have been told to give during the induction. You also suggest that these should have been recorded. This leads you onto the subject of having information written down to show new workers. You explain that everything you tell the workers is from memory, and you are never sure if you have remembered to tell them everything they need to know.
A few days later an accident occurs involving one of the workers. A customer comes into the store with two children and chooses several shoes in different sizes for the children to try on. The worker serving the customer is flustered, as the children are crying and the customer is obviously in a hurry. The worker rushes down the stairs with several pairs of shoes, in an attempt to help the customer decide on their purchase quickly. Carrying 4 boxes of shoes, they trip halfway down the stairs, turning their ankle, which results in rapid swelling and tenderness.
You go to help the worker, picking up one of the worker’s heeled shoes and the damaged boxes of shoes that fell down the stairs. Although untrained, both you and the current store manager treat the injured worker as best as you can. You help them into the staff room and sit them down. The current store manager goes to get a glass of water for the shaken worker, who is in pain from the injuries, while you go to look for a first-aid box. You cannot find a first-aid box, but find an empty accident book in the cupboard, and a risk assessment dated 2 years ago on the store manager’s desk. You ask the worker what happened and you record this in the accident book. You think that the accident was due to the worker carrying too many boxes at one time down the stairs, and the fact that the worker was wearing heels.
The current store manager has no idea how to deal with the accident and asks you to find out what action needs to be taken. You tell the current store manager that you have filled in the accident book and think the accident should be reported and investigated further.
A short while later the injured worker is sent to a hospital. They also have some pain in their hand as they tried to grab the only handrail on the right of the stairs as they fell. The current store manager was later informed the worker sustained a fracture to their ankle and sprained their wrist. The worker’s ankle is in a plaster cast and they have been advised to rest their ankle as much as possible for 6 weeks to allow it to heal fully.
After this accident, the current store manager is keen to get health and safety ‘right’ as they are worried about the financial impact if more accidents occur. They also want to make sure there is not a repeat accident. You recommend that the current risk assessment should be revised, as part of an overall review of any existing policies and procedures. This includes updates, if necessary. The current store manager asks for your help in revising the current risk assessment, with a particular focus on slips, trips, and falls. Because of your previous involvement in risk assessments, you feel you are able to help, and that it would be useful to get some other workers involved.
Task 1: First-aid arrangements
|Because of the recent accident, the current store manager has decided to review the first-aid arrangements in the store.
|What should be considered so that first-aid needs are realistic and proportionate for all workers?
|Note: You should support your answer, where applicable, using relevant information from the scenario. You do not need to include specific first-aid equipment.
First aid arrangements which are required in the workplace are:
- In the scenario, I went to find a First Aid kit to help the injured worker. However, it was not present. Therefore, the store manager must provide all workers with a first aid kit facility.
- In the scenario, there was no professional first aider appointed. Therefore, a specialized first aider must be immediately appointed.
- In the scenario, Workers didn’t have proper training regarding the application of first aid. Therefore, workers must be properly trained to be useful without an appointed first aider.
- The manager must make sure that all the first aid equipment is placed in a well-known place easily accessible by all workers.
- There is no emergency room to treat the injured worker in the scenario. Therefore, a sanitized and well-lit emergency room should be allocated, which should be easily accessible from all locations.
- First aiders should also be trained to treat slip and trip accidents as the store encounter frequent slip and trip accidents.
- As the store usually employs temporary workers, a proper training program must be introduced to train these workers.
- As the store is two-floored, the first aid facility must be available on both floors.
- An emergency transport system should be introduced to carry the injured workers to the nearest hospital.
- Instruction on using a first aid kit must be mounted on the wall.
- In a situation resulting in non-workers and the general public’s injury, they should be provided with first aid treatment.
- First Aider should be hired after checking his competence, experience, relevant documentation, and certificates.
- A proper communication system should be installed, and phone numbers of the nearest hospitals should be displayed on walls which are to be contacted in case of emergency.
- After using First Aid equipment, they must be replaced by a new one.
- As trip accidents often occur at the store resulting in leg and foot injuries, Stretchers and Wheelchairs should be made available.
Task 2: Management failures and control measures
|(a) Based on the scenario only, what management failures could have contributed to this accident?
|(b) The store manager decides to hold an emergency meeting with all workers.
|Based on the scenario only, what immediate actions could be discussed in this meeting to help prevent a repeat of the accident?
|(c) What long-term administrative control measures could the employer carry out to help avoid a repeat of this accident?
Management failures contributing to the accident are:
- In the scenario, Senior leadership, i.e., the manager, is not aware of his health and safety responsibility. He didn’t supervise the work of the workers. Thus, workers followed unsafe practices, which resulted in the accident.
- In the scenario, the management introduced no proper dress code due to which workers wore fashionable footwear such as heeled shoes, which also contributed to the accident.
- In the scenario, no proper risk assessment is carried out for two years which is the main failure of management contributing to the accident.
- In the store, the records of the past accidents and near misses are not kept, which contributed to the accident.
- There is no training for the workers about carrying out work professionally, which resulted in the accident.
- Induction training provided to the recruits is very poor. There are no written induction training principles and are completely driven by memory.
- Management is only concerned with satisfying their customers and don’t keep them waiting. No attention is provided to the health and safety of workers.
- No health and safety policy and written documents were present, which was a big failure in management.
- No Personal Protective Equipment and first aid facilities were provided to the workers. If provided, the accident may not have resulted in an ankle fracture.
- No attention was given to ergonomics, due to which many workers felt pain and aches. Similarly, the workload on the worker was great, due to which he was stressed out, and the accident resulted.
Immediate actions that could be taken include:
- Proper shoes should be provided instead of heeled shoes to the workers.
- PPE should be provided to all the workers, which may protect the workers from getting a severe injury.
- New workers can be introduced so that the load on each worker is decreased.
- A second handrail must be introduced to the steps.
- Housekeeping is improved as it created mess and chances of trips were there.
- The workload of workers is reduced as it results in fatigue.
The employer should carry out the following administrative measures to stop the repetition of this accident:
- As there was no safe system of work at the store, he must develop a safe work system so that all the workers perform their work properly.
- As there was no supervision, the accident resulted; therefore, the work should be properly supervised so that no worker could perform unsafely.
- Lack of training and instructions resulted in the accident; therefore, they must be provided.
- They could change the location of the warehouse from the top floor, thus reducing the exposure of the workers to the hazards.
- Accidents must be investigated, recorded, and reported which didn’t take place at the store.
- Proper risk assessments must be introduced as it was absent at the store.
Task 3: Reporting the accident
|(a) Why must this recent accident be reported by the employer to the competent authority?
|(b) How could investigation of previous near-misses have helped prevent this accident?
|Note: You should support your answer, where applicable, using relevant information from the scenario.
This recent accident should be reported to competent authorities because:
- It is the legal requirement to report it to the top management and external authorities.
- The root causes can be properly investigated, and the issue can be addressed.
- It will show the competence of management and helps promote a positive health and safety culture where everyone fulfills their responsibilities.
- It will prevent the accidents from occurring again.
- It will show that management is concerned with workers’ safety and thus boosts staff morale.
- It will encourage the manager to carry out risk assessments, and thus other types of accidents can also be addressed, thus saving resources and time.
Investigation of near misses is important because:
- If the previous near misses at the store had been investigated properly, the immediate causes could have been identified.
- If the previous near-misses at the store had been investigated properly, the root causes could have been identified.
- If the previous near-misses at the store had been investigated properly, their recurrence could have been stopped by addressing the issue, and the worker’s accident may have been stopped.
- If the previous near-misses at the store had been investigated, a proper record would have been formed, which would help the workers in their induction training.
- It is also the legal requirement to investigate an incident.
- Many insurance companies also demand an investigation report of the incident.
- If the previous near-misses were investigated, it would have boosted the morale of workers at the store.
- If the previous near-misses at the store had been investigated properly, all the shortcomings of risk assessment could have been addressed, and the accident may have been prevented.
- If the previous near-misses at the store were investigated, the health and safety culture of the store would have improved.
- The investigation also provides data that can be used to determine trends and patterns of the accidents and near misses
- If the previous near-misses at the store were investigated, all the risks and hazards at the store which had the protentional to cause harm could have been removed.
Task 4: Role and responsibility of the manager
|Within the health and safety management system, the role of a manager has specific health and safety responsibilities.
|(a) Comment on the effectiveness of the current store manager’s role and responsibilities in relation to health and safety management.
|Notes: You should focus on roles and responsibilities and not the health and safety management system. You should support your answer, where applicable, using relevant information from the scenario.
|(b) How can the health and safety competence of the current store manager be improved?
The role of the health and safety manager was extremely poor:
- It was the responsibility of the manager to conduct a risk assessment and risk profiling properly. However, he failed to do so.
- It was his responsibility to develop a safety policy and implement it. However, there was no safety policy at the store.
- It was his responsibility to provide PPE and a proper dress code to the workers. However, he failed to give these. Thus, workers wore fashionable footwear at the store.
- It was his responsibility to provide proper training to the workers; however, there was no training program at the store.
- His responsibility was to make sure that the first aid facility was present. However, there was no first aid kit at the store.
- His responsibility was to investigate accidents properly and near misses; however, no investigation occurred at the store.
- His responsibility was to follow safety rules himself and make an example for his juniors. However, he was unaware of his role.
- It was his responsibility to consult the workers regarding safety. However, he neglected the worker’s recommendation regarding risk assessment.
- It was his responsibility to allocate proper resources to safety issues; however, there was no first aid equipment, no training, and no security staff at the store.
- It was his responsibility to establish a safe work system recorded in writing. However, no such document was present at the store.
The competence of the manager can be improved:
- By receiving proper training regarding the investigation of an accident.
- By receiving proper training regarding how to conduct a risk assessment.
- By receiving proper training regarding how to conduct safety inspections
- By developing leadership qualities within him. If he follows health and safety rules and regulations and set examples for workers working under him, safety can be improved.
- His competence will improve greatly by developing good communication skills and communicating health and safety rules and regulations to the other workers without any barriers.
- By improving his management skills and supervising the work of other workers, the competence of the manager and the safety environment can be improved greatly.
Task 5: Induction training
|The current store manager has asked you to compile an induction pack to help ensure that information given to all new workers is consistent.
|Based on the scenario only, what information should you prioritise in this induction pack?
Information on the induction plan should include:
- Workers didn’t know about emergency procedures in the store, so I wall Include emergency procedures in training.
- Workers were unaware of hazards, risks, and their controls in the store, so I will also include it in training.
- There was no culture of reporting incidents and accidents in the store, so I will also include it in training.
- Training regarding Safe movement inside the store will also be included.
- As no consultation of workers took place at the store, training will also include consultation arrangements.
- All the workers should be educated regarding their Responsibilities.
- No risk assessment has been carried out in the store for 2 years, so training will also include Introduction to risk assessment procedure.
- It should also include information about the location of first aid equipment.
- Housekeeping issues must be addressed in the training as it created a mess at the store due to the arrival of new stock.
- A safe system of work and safe practices must be properly addressed in training, as the workers at the store didn’t know how to work properly.
Task 6: Morality in managing health and safety
|Comment on the store’s health and safety morals.
|Note: You should support your answer, where applicable, using relevant information from the scenario.
Health and safety morals in the store were very bad.
- After the accident, the manager kept a keen eye on health and safety issues because he was concerned with the financial impacts of more accidents. He was still not concerned about his worker’s morally wrong health.
- In-store, more attention was given to sales and customer satisfaction rather than workers’ health and safety, which was morally wrong.
- Workers tend to fetch multiple boxes of shoes in one trip to save time and energy, risking their safety and others, which was morally wrong.
- It was the manager’s responsibility to check the safety arrangements of the store; however, he spent most of the time at the counter, which was morally wrong.
- It was the job requirement of the manager to be well aware of health and safety. However, he was unaware and transferred his work to me, which was morally wrong.
- There was no formal induction training program to train recruits to risk their morally wrong lives.
- There was no written documentation on how to lift heavy stock, risking workers’ lives, which was morally wrong.
- The manager replied that he would check the risk assessment when he had a morally wrong time, even on my advice.
- There is no first aid facility at the store, which is the moral responsibility of the manager to provide.
- The emergency room’s presence was also the manager’s moral responsibility, which was also not present.
- The provision of PPE and proper dress code, including appropriate shoes, was also the manager’s responsibility, which was also not provided.
- It was the moral responsibility of the manager to record near misses, and thus this accident would have been prevented.
- Similarly, it was the moral responsibility of the manager to carry out proper risk assessments and address the safety issues. However, no risk assessment has been conducted in 2 years.
- It was the manager’s moral responsibility to provide proper training to the workers about carrying out the work properly. However, no training was provided.
- It was the moral responsibility of the manager to report the incident to the external authorities, including the injured worker’s family. However, no report took place.
- I picked up one of the workers’ heeled shoes and damaged boxes of shoes from the ground, which may have caused another person’s trip, which was morally right.
- I picked up one of the worker’s heeled shoes and damaged boxes of shoes from the ground, which may have caused another person’s trip, which was morally right.
- I assisted and helped the injured worker move to the staff room, which was right.
Task 7: Determining organisational factors positively influencing behaviour at work
|(a) Based on the scenario only, what organisational factors might have negatively influenced health and safety behaviour at the store?
|(b) Based on the scenario only, what individual human factors might have negatively influenced the behaviour of the injured worker?
Organizational factors negatively influencing health and safety behaviour at the store are:
- There was no health and safety culture at the store; thus, both the manager and the workers were unaware of their safety responsibilities and didn’t give attention to safety issues.
- The management didn’t show any commitment and leadership regarding safety at the store.
- At the store, no resources were allocated to safety issues. There was no first Aid facility, first aid staff, PPE, proper dress code, and emergency room to treat injured workers.
- At the store, communication was very poor, and health and safety messages were not conveyed to workers properly.
- No proper training regarding health and safety was provided to the workers at the store. Thus, they all were unaware of their safety responsibilities.
- At the store, work patterns were not well defined. The workers’ workload was huge, resulting in confusion and poor performance, thus resulting in the accident.
Individual human factors which might have negatively influenced the behaviour of the injured worker are:
- The injured worker was not competent. He lacked knowledge, experience, and training.
- The worker had a very introverted personality and was not suitable for this job.
- The worker’s attitude was very unserious towards the job. He was wearing heeled shoes.
- He didn’t properly perceive the threat associated with his job because he didn’t receive proper training. Also, he was in a hurry.