Health and Safety Made Simple
1. Appoint a competent person
As an employer, you must appoint a competent person or people to help you meet your health and safety legal duties.
A competent person should have the skills, knowledge and experience needed to help you manage health and safety in your business.
You could appoint (one or a combination of):
- one or more of your workers
- someone from outside your business – Using a consultant or adviser
If your business or organisation doesn’t have the competence to manage health and safety in-house use a consultant. But remember, as the employer, managing health and safety will still be your legal duty.
2. Prepare a Health & Safety Policy
The law says that every business must have a policy for managing health and safety.
A health and safety policy sets out your general approach to health and safety. It explains how you, as an employer, will manage health and safety in your business. It should clearly say who does what, when and how. If you have five or more employees, you must write your policy down. If you have fewer than five employees you do not have to write anything down, but it is useful to do so. You must share the policy, and any changes to it, with your employees.
Your policy should cover three areas.
Part 1: Statement of intent
State your general policy on health and safety at work, including your commitment to managing health and safety and your aims. As the employer or most senior person in the company, you should sign it and review it regularly.
Part 2: Responsibilities for health and safety
List the names, positions and roles of the people in your business who have specific responsibility for health and safety.
Part 3: Arrangements for health and safety
Give details of the practical arrangements you have in place, showing how you will achieve your health and safety policy aims. This could include, for example, doing a risk assessment, training employees and using safety signs or equipment.
3. Risk Assessment
As an employer, you’re required by law to protect your employees, and others, from harm.
Under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, the minimum you must do is:
- identify what could cause injury or illness in your business (hazards)
- decide how likely it is that someone could be harmed and how seriously (the risk)
- take action to eliminate the hazard, or if this isn’t possible, control the risk
Assessing risk is just one part of the overall process used to control risks in your workplace.
For most small, low-risk businesses the steps you need to take are straightforward and are explained in these pages.
- who might be harmed and how
- what you’re already doing to control the risks
- what further action you need to take to control the risks
- who needs to carry out the action
- when the action is needed by
4. Consult your workers
You must consult all your employees on health and safety. You can do this by listening and talking to them about:
- health and safety and the work they do
- how risks are controlled
- the best ways of providing information and training.
Consultation is a two-way process, allowing employees to raise concerns and influence decisions on managing health and safety.
Your employees are often the best people to understand risks in the workplace. Involving them in making decisions shows that you take their health and safety seriously. In a small business, you might choose to consult your workers directly. Larger businesses may consult through a health and safety representative.
5. Provide information and training
Everyone who works for you needs to know how to work safely and without risk to their health. This includes contractors and self-employed people.
You must give your workers clear instructions and information, as well as adequate training. Make sure you include employees with particular training needs, for example new recruits, people changing jobs or taking on extra responsibilities, young employees and health and safety representatives.
Make sure everyone has the right level of information on:
- hazards (things that could cause them harm)
- risks (the chances of that harm occurring)
- measures in place to deal with those hazards and risks
- how to follow any emergency procedures
The information and training should be easy to understand. Everyone working for you should know what they are expected to do.
Health and safety training should take place during working hours and must be free for employees. There are external trainers who could help, but you can often do effective training in-house. Staff will need extra training if you get new equipment or your working practices change.
6. Have the right workplace facilities
Employers must provide welfare facilities and a working environment that’s healthy and safe for everyone in the workplace, including those with disabilities.
You must have:
- welfare facilities – the right number of toilets and washbasins, drinking water and having somewhere to rest and eat meals
- a healthy working environment – a clean workplace with a reasonable working temperature, good ventilation, suitable lighting and the right amount of space and seating
- a safe workplace – well-maintained equipment, with no obstructions in floors and traffic routes, and windows that can be easily opened and cleaned
7. First Aid in work
Employers must make sure employees get immediate help if taken ill or injured at work.
The law applies to every workplace and to the self-employed.
You must have:
- a suitably stocked first aid kit
- an appointed person or people to take charge of first aid arrangements
- information for all employees telling them about first aid arrangements
You must consider:
- the type of the work you do
- hazards and the likely risk of them causing harm
- the size of your workforce
- work patterns of your staff
- holiday and other absences of those who will be first aiders and appointed persons
- the history of accidents in your business
You might also consider:
- the needs of travelling, remote and lone workers
- how close your sites are to emergency medical services
- whether your employees work on shared or multi-occupancy sites
- first aid for non-employees including members of the public
An appointed person is someone who is in charge of your first aid arrangements. This includes looking after the equipment, facilities and calling the emergency services. You can have more than one appointed person and they don’t need to have any formal training. An appointed person must always be available whenever people are at work.
8. Display the Law poster
If you employ anyone, you must either:
- display the health and safety law poster where your workers can easily read it
- provide each worker with the equivalent health and safety law leaflet
The poster explains British health and safety laws and lists what workers and their employers should do.
You can add details of any employee safety representatives or health and safety contacts.
9. Get insurance for your business
If your business has employees, you will probably need employers’ liability insurance.
If an employee is injured or becomes ill as a result of the work they do for you, they can claim compensation from you. Employers’ liability insurance will help you to pay any compensation.
10. The Law
The Health and Safety at Work Act, criminal and civil law. Both criminal and civil law apply to workplace health and safety.
As an employer, you must protect your workers and others from getting hurt or ill through work.
If you don’t:
- a regulator such as the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) or local authority may take action against you under criminal law
- the person affected may make a claim for compensation against you under civil law
11. Report accidents and illnesses
In law, you must report certain workplace injuries, near-misses and cases of work-related disease to HSE. This duty is under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations, known as RIDDOR.
You can buy an accident book from https://www.goshoffice.co.uk/category/1000005-Safety–PPE.html
Keeping records of incidents helps you to identify patterns of accidents and injuries, so you can better assess and manage risk in your workplace. Records can also be helpful when you are dealing with your insurance company. Make sure you protect people’s personal details by storing records confidentially in a secure place.
Chestnut Associates is always on hand to support you with any of the items above – please contact us for further details