Health & Safety Policy

Last updated April 2021

Introduction

Fighting Words Northern Ireland’s vision is to make life for children and young people as creative as possible through engagement with the arts, specifically the written word in all its forms.

It is committed to practice that protects staff, volunteers, artists, members of the public attending events – and in particular children - from harm and that creates safe and stimulating environments for arts activities to take place.

Principles

  • FWNI seeks to provide adequate control of the health and safety risks arising from its activities, both throughout the workplace and venues where activities take place for staff, volunteers, artists and members of the public and children alike.
  • FWNI actively encourages the promotion of good practice in Health & Safety procedures so that it can offer meaningful arts experiences of the highest quality for children in a safe and secure environment.

Aims

The aim of FWNI’s Health & Safety Policy and Procedures is to support the work of FWNI in delivery of programmes for children. The Policy and Procedure informs and guides those involved in projects and programmes run by FWNI. It ensures that appropriate procedures are put in place to safeguard the wellbeing of staff, artists, volunteers and members of the public.

Responsibilities

The policies of FWNI are established and overseen by the Board of Directors which delegates responsibility for implementation to the executive staff and, through line management, to other staff, artists and volunteers. No policy within the organisation operates in isolation and as such, other policies (e.g child protection) will influence the procedures addressed through this policy. FWNI’s staff and volunteers accept and recognise their responsibilities in relation to the appropriate regulations and legislation. FWNI will endeavour to carry out its responsibilities by:

  • Planning, controlling, monitoring and reviewing the organisation’s role in promoting, implementing and monitoring the effectiveness of this policy
  • Assessing the risk to the Health and Safety of all those working with the organisation and attending events so that the necessary preventative and protective measures can be identified and to eliminate bad practice
  • Establishing and maintaining safe working procedures among all those working with the organisation and attending events
  • Identifying Health and Safety training needs of staff and volunteers and to provide appropriate training to meet those needs
  • Promoting the health and welfare of all the staff, volunteers and artists working with the organisation
  • Developing Health and Safety awareness among all staff, volunteers and artists working with the organisation
  • Ensuring that all staff and volunteers familiarise themselves with all relevant Health and Safety documents
  • Developing effective Health and Safety communication and reporting of accidents and incidents within the workplace and venues where activities take place FWNI is committed to review of its policy and procedures by the Board of Directors at regular intervals, with reference to changes in practice and legislation.

Definitions

The laws most relevant to this document are:

  • Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2000, as amended
  • Health and Safety at Work (Northern Ireland) Order 1978, as amended.

Health & Safety Procedures

FWNI has agreed procedures for the implementation of all its policies. It has also established roles and responsibilities to ensure the policy is upheld.

The procedures are detailed in the following sections:

1. Responsibilities

2. Internal Procedures

3. Communicating the Policy

4. Management, Monitoring, Review and Reporting

5. Appendix: Public Policy Statement

Final responsibility rests with the Board of Directors, which delegates authority to staff as follows:

1. Responsibilities

Day-to-day responsibility for ensuring this policy is put into practice is delegated to the Development Officer.

1.1 Organisation

FWNI agrees to:

  • Provide information, instruction and supervision for all staff, artists and volunteers regarding Health and Safety as necessary
  • Ensure that adequate Risk Assessments for all activities will be available
  • Consult with all staff and volunteers on matters affecting their Health and Safety

1.2 Staff and volunteers

All staff and volunteers agree to:

  • Co-operate with supervisors and managers on health and safety matters
  • Not interfere with anything provided to safeguard their health and safety
  • Ensure that no action or omission on their part might put a risk to the Health and Safety of themselves or others
  • Take reasonable care of their own health and safety
  • Report all health and safety concerns to the appropriate person.

2. Procedures

2.1 Information and instruction

The Health and Safety Law poster is displayed at the FWNI premises. General Health and safety advice and copies of this policy are available from the Development Officer. Detailed Health and Safety advice is available from the Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland.

2.2 First Aid

The Development Officer will ensure that relevant staff undergo First Aid Training when appropriate and at regular intervals. A First Aid box is situated in the FWNI premises. The Development Officer will be responsible for upkeep of all First Aid boxes.

2.3 Emergency procedures

All staff and volunteers working from the premises will be made aware of the emergency 6 evacuation procedures. Fire Extinguishers are regularly checked and are the responsibility of the landlord. The Fire Alarm is regularly tested and is also the responsibility of the landlord.

2.4 Reporting

All accidents and cases of work-related ill health are to be recorded in the accident book/pro forma report form provided. The accident and incident record book is kept at the premises. In the event of a serious incident, the Health & Safety Executive will be informed as appropriate. The FWNI Board will be notified of incidents arising (see section 4.3).

2.5 Venues

The Development Officer is responsible for ensuring that FWNI’s staff and volunteers working at locations under the control of other employers are given relevant health and safety information.

FWNI will ensure that:

  • First Aid boxes will be made available at all venues where FWNI activities take place
  • A trained First Aider will be present at all venues where FWNI activities take place
  • Any accidents or incidents that occur during FWNI activities or events will be recorded on an event sheet
  • A Risk Assessment, specific to the event, will be carried out in conjunction with the venue, which will record any action required to ensure the safety of all staff, volunteers, and members of the public, and particularly children
  • Staff and volunteers are aware of all emergency escape routes from individual venues where events take place and that this information is passed onto mentors and members of the public attending said events
  •  All staff, volunteers, and contractors comply in full with the venue Health and Safety Policy and Procedures.

2.6 Events

FWNI staff and volunteers will observe the following in the planning, preparation and running of all events.

Staff (particularly Event Managers) and volunteers will ensure that:

  • They have read and observed the Risk Assessment
  • They are aware of the location of the First Aid Box and location and name of the designated first aid person for the event
  • There are no unsupervised children at the event and that the space is safe in accordance with FWNI’s Policy on the Protection and Safeguarding of Children and Vulnerable Adults
  • They are aware of the emergency evacuation procedures and routes and group leaders acting in a supervisory role/audience (as appropriate) have been notified
  • Fire exits are clearly marked and not obstructed
  • They are aware of the access for disabled people
  • Directional signage to the location of the event is in place
  • They are aware of the location of the toilets
  • The room temperature is acceptable and stable and there is adequate ventilation
  • Everyone observes no smoking within the venue
  • All floors are clean and dry
  • Any equipment, props or sets do not obstruct the audience accessing, during and exiting from the event
  • All personal belongings of staff, volunteers and the audience are safely stored and do not encroach on the event space
  • Any equipment is removed, as necessary, rubbish is cleared away at the end of the event and the space is returned to its normal state.

2.7 Dealing with Risks, Hazards and Incidents

FWNI recognises that despite all due care, risks, hazards and injuries can and will arise.

A risk is where a member of staff, volunteer, artist or member of the public are placed in a potentially unfit environment

Should a risk come to the attention of, or be identified by, staff and/or volunteers, the following procedures must be followed.

Assess the level of the risk, examples are;

Low - where cabling has become exposed or any object / equipment are creating a potential hazard

  • Assess the situation, for all low level incidents volunteers will report to a member of staff/ Event Managers where they are to enforce protective measures needed to ensure the safety of others (maintaining minimal disruption)
  • Ensure that all staff, volunteers and members of the public are within a safe environment
  • Record incident details, include what happened, when and where it occurred, who was present and any action taken as a result.
  • Report the incident to FWNI’s Health and Safety Officer at the first opportunity

Moderate - where the original risk assessment has changed significantly

  • Notify FWNI’s Health and Safety Officer and Venue Manager if applicable
  • Ensure that all staff, volunteers and members of the public are within a safe environment
  • FWNI’s Health and Safety Officer will then assess the situation and enforce protective measures needed to ensure the safety of others (maintaining minimal disruption)
  • FWNI’s Health and Safety Officer will record incident details, include what happened, when and where it occurred, who was present and any action taken as a result.
  • FWNI’s Health and Safety Officer will report the incident to FWNI’s Board of Directors, and the incident outcomes

High - the building or venue have become unsafe

  • Notify FWNI’s Health and Safety Officer and Venue Manager if applicable
  • Ensure that all staff, volunteers and members of the public are within a safe environment
  • FWNI’s Health and Safety Officer will then assess the situation and enforce protective measures needed to ensure the safety of others (maintaining minimal disruption)
  • FWNI’s Health and Safety Officer will record incident details, include what happened, when and where it occurred, who was present and any action taken as a result.
  • FWNI’s Health and Safety Officer will report the incident to FWNI’s Board of Directors within a 24 hour period including the incident outcomes

A hazard is where a member of staff, volunteer, artist or member of the public are placed in an environment where a identified object or equipment could cause damage of injury

Should a hazard come to the attention of, or be identified by, staff and/or volunteers, the following procedures must be followed.

Assess the level of the hazard, examples are;

Low - where cabling has become exposed or any object / equipment being used is faulty or broken

  • Assess the situation, for all low level incidents volunteers will report to the member of staff where they are to enforce protective measures needed to ensure the safety of others (maintaining minimal disruption)
  • Ensure that all staff, volunteers and members of the public are within a safe environment
  • Record incident details, include what happened, when and where it occurred, who was present and any action taken as a result.
  • Report the incident to FWNI’s Health and Safety Officer at the first opportunity

Moderate - where any cuts / abrasions or any trips / slips have occurred

  • Establish the immediate care needs of the injured party and enact appropriate first aid or emergency medical procedures
  • Notify FWNI’s Health and Safety Officer and Venue Manager if applicable • Ensure that all staff, volunteers and members of the public are within a safe environment
  • FWNI’s Health and Safety Officer will then assess the situation and enforce protective measures needed to ensure the safety of others (maintaining minimal disruption)
  • FWNI’s Health and Safety Officer will record incident details, include what happened, when and where it occurred, who was present and any action taken as a result.
  • FWNI’s Health and Safety Officer will report the incident to FWNI’s Board of Directors, and the incident outcomes

High - where any serious injury has occurred or any equipment/ object has fallen

  • Establish the immediate care needs of the injured party and enact appropriate first aid or emergency medical procedures
  • Notify FWNI’s Health and Safety Officer and Venue Manager if applicable
  • Ensure that all staff, volunteers and members of the public are within a safe 11 environment
  • FWNI’s Health and Safety Officer will then, assess the situation and enforce protective measures needed to ensure the safety of others (maintaining minimal disruption)
  • FWNI’s Health and Safety Officer will record incident details, include what happened, when and where it occurred, who was present and any action taken as a result.
  • FWNI’s Health and Safety Officer will report the incident to FWNI’s Board of Directors within a 24 hour period including the incident outcomes
  • FWNI’s Health and Safety Officer will record and report any incident under the RIDDOR (NI) 1997

3. Communicating The Policy

FWNI will communicate its policy practically, publicly and in the promotion of good practice.

3.1 Practical Communication

FWNI will draw attention to its policy on its website. It will make the public aware of its principles and procedures. Where appropriate, it will provide supplementary information for distribution to parents and carers who attend FWNI events. Host organisations such as venues will be notified of the policy and where appropriate will be provided with notices for display and other relevant literature (e.g. risk assessments, proof of insurance cover). The contact details of the Health & Safety Officer will be supplied to relevant external companies, staff, artists, etc.

3.2 Public Communication

FWNI will make information on its policy and procedures available through its website via a public policy statement (see Appendix). Where appropriate, it will carry literature relating to its policy for distribution to members of the public. It will also be open to enquiries, concerns and complaints about issues relating to health & safety. Staff at events and projects will carry copies of relevant policy documents and literature with them and pro forma report forms should they be required. All literature will detail the contact information of the Health & Safety Officer.

3.3 Promotion of Good Practice

FWNI will stipulate that other organisations it is affiliated with have Health & Safety policies in place and are implementing those policies. Through induction, training and the provision of written information on issues relating to Health & Safety, FWNI will instill good practice in its permanent and freelance staff, artists and volunteers.

4. Management, Monitoring and Review

FWNI is committed to managing the implementation of this policy and procedure in full and ensuring that it is reviewed regularly and amended as necessary. The Board and management undertake this to ensure that health and safety is paramount within all areas of the organisation and that the well-being of staff and employees is upheld.

4.1 Responsibility for Management

Final responsibility for the policy will rest with the Board of Directors of FWNI. The daily and ongoing management of the policy will be undertaken by the FWNI Development Officer. Staff involved in recording and reporting procedures will take on the responsibility for the 'on-the-ground' implementation of the policy in the absence of the senior management. All other employees and volunteers regardless of their length of contract or duties will have a responsibility to adhere to the organisation's Health & Safety policy and follow all procedures as required.

4.2 Monitoring

  • Induction and training (including any health and safety training) will be recorded for all staff and with each new intake of project-based staff.
    • FWNI will keep detailed and accurate records of any reported accidents or health and safety concerns and comply with all requirements to supply information as appropriate.
    • FWNI will keep a record of comments and suggestions for improvements that can be made to its procedures and its communication of policy, from employees, individuals and host schools/organisations.
    • FWNI will be pro-active in gathering information on changes in law and practice and disseminate these/review procedures as appropriate.
    • FWNI will retain all relevant records and will hold confidentiality as a primary consideration.

4.3 Review and Reporting

FWNI will review its policy annually alongside other company policies. This will be undertaken at Board level with a report compiled and delivered by the Director. The review will take into consideration:

  • Any issues that have arisen during the year from the implementation of the policy.
  • Any incidents reported and their implications for changes to be made.
  • Comments and suggestions from any source.
  • Changes in legal responsibility or recommended practice.
  • Issues arising from outside the sphere of health and safety (e.g. changes in other legislation).

Any amendments required to policy and procedures will be discussed and approved at a Board meeting.

5. Appendix: Public Health & Safety Policy Statement

FWNI actively encourages the promotion of good practice in Health & Safety procedures so that it can offer meaningful arts experiences of the highest quality for children in a safe and secure environment.

It is also committed to practice that protects staff, volunteers, artists, members of the public attending events – and in particular children - from harm and that creates safe and stimulating environments for arts activities to take place. FWNI has a written policy and procedures that is regularly reviewed and legally compliant.

If you require further information about FWNI’s Health & Safety policy and procedures or have a concern to report, please contact the Health & Safety Officer, Emily DeDakis on 028 90991038 or emily@fightingwords.co.uk.