What are the basics of Health and Safety
A frequent question we get asked at HSSS Ltd is “what are the basics that I need to do to cover health and safety requirements in my business?” A very generic question that does not have a generic answer. The response is “well it depends what your business does, what the risks are and how well you manage them.”
That being said there are some basic tasks that you can complete to get you started.
The two most common documents you will need are a Health and Safety Policy and a Risk Assessment.
Your Health and Safety Policy lets your staff and others know about your commitment to health and safety. It should clearly say who does what, when and how. An effective policy is one where it is communicated to all it affects and is reviewed regularly.
If you have fewer than 5 employees you don’t have to write your policy down
You will use your risk assessment to identify and control the risks in your workplace (and maybe other areas depending on your business). Controlling these risks is a legal requirement; the law does not expect you to remove all risks but to put measures in place to as far as reasonably practicable to protect those affected.
- The Who
Not the band! Who is responsible for Health and Safety in your organisation? It must be someone who is competent; someone who has the knowledge, skills and experience required. You either need to appoint someone in your business or you can outsource this to a third party – like HSSS Ltd. We offer competent person packages relevant to your business.
The other ‘who’ are your employees – you need to consult with them. Consultation is a two way process so you will need to facilitate it in a way that allows feedback on their concerns and to be able influence decision making.
- In the know
It is important that everyone who works for you understands how to work safely and has clear instruction and training. Don’t forget about contractors or third parties that may work for you. Training must be ongoing, not just a first day on the job occurrence.
It is also useful to stay on top of your particular industry’s development in health and safety. Another company’s failings may give you advice on how to avoid the same in your business.
- On display
If you employ anyone you must display the health and safety law poster or provide each worker with a pocket card copy (available from the HSE website).
Also you will need employer’s liability insurance and must display the certificate.
You must provide appropriate facilities for everyone in your workplace for example; toilet and hand washing facilities; drinking water; ensure there is a reasonable working temperature and suitable lighting.
You also need to consider welfare arrangements such as first aid, accidents and ill health.
So does this sound like a lot? It is really the tip of the iceberg and once we get to understand your business more we can advise on the priorities for you and how best to implement them.
If you require support with any of the above or have already done these top 5 and want to know what’s next then please get in touch