Annual review of your practice safety statement
As dental professionals mark 12 months since returning to routine dental practice, Dr Jane Renehan of Dental Compliance Ltd reminds dentists that the Government’s Covid-19 Return to Work Protocol (May 2020) placed an emphasis on the significance of having an up-to-date practice safety statement.
The Government designated the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) to oversee and inspect implementation of the protocol in places of employment. Many dental practices have received a visit from a HSA inspector in the last year.
A safety statement represents the commitment by employers to safety and health in their workplace. It should influence all work activities, both clinical and non-clinical. Employers and their employees have a responsibility to manage hazards identified in their practice safety statement.
Jane advises: “Your safety statement will always be site specific to your premises as no two dental practices are the same. It should contain your unique action plan to safeguard the safety and health of employees, patients and others who attend your practice”.
The safety statement demonstrates that an employer has put in place arrangements for the specific hazards identified on their premises. Each hazard is risk assessed and an action is recorded to eliminate or control the problem. In summary, Jane recommends:
- employers should revisit their practice safety statement and associated risk assessments at least annually, or sooner if there is a significant change in circumstances;
- employers should ensure that the safety statement is brought to the attention of all employees at least annually;
- employers should train staff on how to manage the unique risks in their particular workplace; and,
- employees should be reminded that they have a legal responsibility to abide by this training, thus ensuring their own safety and that of others in the practice.