Point of fact – there are only hard HSE questions if you don’t have an answer for them. And this is not advisable when your actions (or inactions) can lead to injury or loss of life. Have a look at the following sample list of ‘hard’ HSE questions. If your answers resemble the solutions we have provided, then every HSE question will more than likely have an easy answer. Simple.
- How can we be sure our health and safety is under control?
Answer: Because we have five or more employees, we have a written health and policy statement, and have conducted all the necessary risk assessments.
- What are the chances of slipping or tripping at work?
Answer: We have implemented the following measures to minimise the risks of trips and falls at work:
- We clean all spills immediately
- All spills and wet areas are clearly marked
- Debris from floors is immediately mopped or swept
- Obstacles are removed from walkways, which are also kept free from clutter
- Mats, rugs and carpets that don’t lie flat are secured
- File cabinets and storage drawers are always closed
- Cables that cross walkways are always covered
- Walkways and working areas are well lit
- Faulty switches and used light bulbs are replaced as soon as possible
- We have changed or modified all surfaces in order to minimise slips and falls.
- Proper footwear for staff exposed to oily or wet floors has been supplied.
- Are we still working with asbestos? If so, are the proper protective measures being taken?
Answer: Asbestos is now highly regulated, even banned, in many countries. But asbestos was a very popular material in the last century so there may be a chance that employees could work in an environment where asbestos exposure is a real risk. If this happens, we have put the required safety processes in place that mean we have adequately identified where asbestos may be present and have controls to prevent potential exposure. We also have a written work plan available and will only use an approved asbestos contractor to carry out any dangerous work.
(If you are unsure of your organisation's status with regard to the presence of asbestos, please visit https://www.maacenter.org/ for more information.)
- How do you plan to protect employees working at heights?
Answer: We have a written fall protection plan in place that covers all the potential risks and the protective measures we have available to our employees.
- How are we protected when we work with hazardous substances?
Answer: We regularly monitor possible exposure to any and all hazardous substances (for instance we carry out air monitoring and medical examinations), and take (or will take) the necessary protective measures if exposure is above the action level.
- How do you deal with staff that suffer from sprains, strains and pains?
Answer: We have trained each employee the correct way to lift and carry loads. We have noticed this has proven valuable in preventing many of the above types of injuries.
How are you protecting desk-based employees who may suffer from back pain and eye strain?
Answer: We have consulted with ergonomic specialists that have helped us correctly design each work station. This should largely reduce these types of problems.
- What is your policy for noise in the workplace?
Answer: We have supplied the correct PPE to employees and ensure noise levels are kept below the legal maximum (usually 85 decibels).