Want to stay on the right side of health and safety legislation but not sure where to start?
Here are our favourite Top Twelve Safety Tips for businesses:
1. Provide the official Health and Safety at Work Law Poster
Either display the official H&S poster at work or give staff a copy of the approved HSE leaflet.
2. Assess the risks in your business
You have probably heard of the term ‘risk assessments’. These will help avoid accidents in the first place, but after any serious incident, the H&S, Fire or Insurance inspector will want to see your risk assessments. So assess and then manage the health and safety risks of your business. Write up the results clearly as it could be good evidence for you later.
3. Write a Health & Safety Policy
This sets out your general approach, objectives and the arrangements you have in place for managing health and safety. It’s a legal requirement and something the Inspectors will want to see if they visit. Have the policy printed and explain it to staff. It may also provide good evidence for the business later.
4. Provide health and safety training
Provide health and safety training for employees so that they are aware of the hazards and risks in the workplace and are equipped to manage them. The Inspectors will always want evidence of H&S training after any visit so check employees understand the responsibilities that they have.
5. Appoint a “Competent Person”
The law says you must appoint someone “Competent” to help you to meet your health and safety duties. Internal staff that have had training or an external consultant can be used: you decide. Safety is the Key is the Appointed Competent Person for many businesses and our £99 per month Essential Competent Person Package is ideal for most businesses.
6. Carry out a Fire Risk Assessment (FRA)
All businesses with premises (leased or owned) must carry out a FRA. Have it in writing and ensure it covers all relevant fire-safety aspects such as: the fire alarm, fire extinguishers, smoke alarms, fire signs, escape distances, staff training, assembly areas etc.
7. Have your electrical systems and portable electrical appliances checked
Electrical faults can kill and are a major cause of fires in businesses. Have the building systems certificated every 5 years and your portable electrical appliances checked regularly. Portable appliance testing (PAT) is just one method and not in itself a legal requirement – any suitable checking regime can be used.
8. Provide a safe environment and basic welfare facilities
Provide a safe & healthy environment for employee’s i.e. lighting, temperature etc. Include suitable welfare such as toilets, washing facilities and drinking water.
9. Log all workplace accidents and remember, some may need reporting
Put all your accidents, incidents and near-misses in your Accident Book and investigate them. There are some accidents and diseases that you must report to the HSE Inspector under regulations known as RIDDOR (the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases, and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations.
10. Assess your First Aid at work requirements
You must provide first aid procedures in your workplace and your assessment will determine what is adequate and suitable. For example, first aid may include first aid boxes; travel kits, trained ‘first-aiders’ or untrained ‘appointed persons’.
11. Carry out an Asbestos Survey and employee training
If your premises were built before the year 2000, get a professional Asbestos Survey carried out and manage any asbestos found. If your staff may be exposed to asbestos during their work (i.e. all construction-related operatives etc.) you must train them in asbestos awareness annually.
12. Take out Employers Liability Compulsory Insurance
All but the single self-employed people need this by law.
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