Horizon Platforms Blog

Common Workplace Health and Safety Questions Googled Each Month

In recent years standards for health and safety across the UK has only increased, leading to the UK being one of the safest countries worldwide for workers. Whilst reputable companies should provide rigorous health and safety training for staff and ideally have someone on hand to provide guidance, this doesn’t stop employees going to the internet for additional advice on safety at work.

Experts at Horizon Platforms wanted to look at what employees are searching for commonly on the web and have answered the most common questions asked relating to workplace health and safety to offer guidance to workers. Training Manager at Horizon Platforms, Ben Hughes, has offered the following answers to the questions below:

Why Are Non-Fatal Falls From Height So Dangerous?

Average UK monthly searches: 1,060

“Whilst only some falls from height result in loss of life, the non-fatal outcomes from falling from a height can all the same be extremely dangerous. Falling from heights is the highest risk of fatality in the workplace1 and can cause serious injury, even when the fall is under 2 metres. Broken bones, fractures and even spinal damage can be common risks of falling from a height.”

2 men working at height in a cherry picker

When is An Accident Book Required in the Workplace?

Average UK monthly searches: 1,460

“If you have 10 or more employees it is a requirement to have an injury book to report accidents and injuries in your workplace. Employers are required by law to record and report details of workplace injuries, in some cases a RIDDOR report is required (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations). HSE provides clear guidance for when and how to make these reports2.”

Who is Responsible for Health and Safety in the Workplace?

Average UK monthly searches: 8,970

“Whilst employees should be responsible within their workplaces and take necessary precautions, it is ultimately the employer who is legally responsible for enforcing health and safety rules. Some workplaces will have a dedicated Health and Safety Office whose job it is to oversee and enforce health and safety, they should be given the appropriate accredited training to ensure their knowledge is up to date.”

What is the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974?

Average UK monthly searches: 12,530

“The Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974 outlines the standards expected of workplaces for health and safety. It is an act of parliament from 2011 which legislates the formal definition of health, safety, and welfare laws in the UK.”

How Do I Stop Falling Asleep at Work?

Average UK monthly searches: 940

“If you are feeling tired it can be dangerous to work, depending on your job. You should never operate machinery or tools if you feel yourself falling asleep. Speak to your boss and explain if there are extenuating factors which are impacting your sleep outside of work that could affect your work performance. Going to bed earlier, avoiding caffeine and drinking plenty of water can help you drift off at night and get a lot of rest before work. Mental health support can be extremely beneficial if you are dealing with stress which is affecting your sleeping pattern. If you find yourself becoming tired and it is safe to keep working, try drinking ice cold water, turn down the temperature or open a window if you can and take a break if possible. But ultimately, if you can’t shake the tiredness or need to fall asleep, you should seek professional medical help. Don’t leave anything to chance.”

How Do I Manage Workplace Stress?

Average UK monthly searches: 49,950

“As a nation we are becoming better aware of the risks of workplace stress and the long-term impact it can have on people, such as accident risks and severe burnout, for example. Employers should be trained to spot the signs of severe workplace stress to mitigate risk before it gets worse. They should support employees and work with them to find appropriate solutions for the individual’s needs and breed a culture of support across the workforce. Employees should be honest with their line managers and raise any issues impacting their lives, either at home or in work. It is important to offer support and not be judgemental. Getting sleep, being kind to yourself, seeking help from friends, family, or charities, and learning to see the signs of when you have taken on too much can all help. Ask your employer if they can provide workplace training for stress management, as well as looking at solutions to the cause of your stress, such as reducing workload or reasonable adjustments to your role. Sometimes, the support at work isn’t enough as individual cases may be too complex, and this is when external professional help may be required.”

How Do I Safely Clean a Wet Floor?

Average UK monthly searches: 6,630

“I was surprised to see how many searches there are for this. But if you think about it, it is not a stupid question. For example, it’s important to use the right amount of water to not overly soak the floor, this can take longer to dry and cause risk of slips happening afterwards. Get a bucket of soap and water, rinse your mop thoroughly before tackling the floor and do your floor in sections, mopping in small sections to cover the ground as you go. Use a wet floor sign so you can alert other employees of the risk of a wet floor before you begin.”

Should I Work With Back Pain?

Average UK monthly searches: 2,980

“It’s important to listen to your body when it is telling you something is wrong. If you are experiencing sharp pain in your back or prolonged pain which hasn’t subsided after an hour you should not force yourself to work and should seek medical advice from a doctor or musculoskeletal specialist. Working with a pre-existing condition and ignoring the warning signs could lead to serious injury and future health problems.”

Can I Refuse to Lift Things at Work?

Average UK monthly searches: 880

“The answer to this may depend on your role and the circumstances and your job role. In theory there is no legal guidance around this. You may have taken a job where the job description requires some lifting as part of the job, although this doesn’t mean you should ignore health and safety guidance and lift things beyond your limits or in an unsafe environment. A risk assessment should be done, and proper processes followed to ensure you are able to lift what is being asked and your work isn’t ignoring safety procedures. If you are uncomfortable lifting something, speak to your supervisor or manager and discuss alternative options so you are not put in a situation you feel unsafe in.”

What’s the Recommended Noise Level at Work?

Average UK monthly searches: 260

“According to UK law, there is a legal limit on workplace noise levels. Hearing protection is required once noise volumes reach 85 decibels. It is the employer’s responsibility to monitor noise levels and provide the appropriate equipment for staff.”

Are you looking to hire reliable scissor lifts or cherry pickers? Need powered access training for you or your team to ensure safe working at height? At Horizon Platforms we offer a wide range of powered access platforms for hire and training courses in access platform safety, head to our pages for further information.


  1. https://www.hse.gov.uk/food/falls.htm
  2. https://www.hse.gov.uk/riddor/report.htm