- The Health and Safety at Work Act places general duties and responsibilities on all people at work, including employers, employees and the self-employed.
- You are responsible for ensuring, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of all your employees at work plus anyone else who could be affected by your work activities, eg guests, casual workers, contractors.
- Your employees also have a responsibility to take reasonable care of their own health and safety.
- If you employ more than five people you must have a written health and safety policy.
- You must carry out a risk assessment to identify and manage any risks.
Decide who will help you with your duties
As an employer, you must appoint someone competent to help you meet your health and safety duties. A competent person is someone with the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to manage health and safety.
- You could appoint (one or a combination of):
- one or more of your workers
- someone from outside your business.
Write a health and safety policy for your business – Describing how you will manage health and safety in your business will let your staff and others know about your commitment to health and safety. This will be your health and safety policy. It should clearly say who does what, when and how. If you have five or more employees, you must have a written policy.
Manage the risks in your business – You must manage the health and safety risks in your workplace. To do this you need to think about what, in your business, might cause harm to people and decide whether you are doing enough to prevent that harm. This is known as a risk assessment.
Consult your employees – You have to consult all your employees on health and safety. This does not need to be complicated. 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 staff to raise concerns and influence decisions on the management of health and safety.
Provide training and information – Everyone who works for you needs to know how to work safely and without risks to health. You must provide clear instructions, information and adequate training for your employees.
Provide the right workplace facilities – You must protect the safety and health of everyone in your workplace, including people with disabilities, and provide welfare facilities for your employees.
Make arrangements for first aid, accidents and ill health
First aid – You must have first-aid arrangements in your workplace. You are responsible for making sure your employees receive immediate attention if they are taken ill or are injured at work. Accidents and illness can happen at any time and first aid can save lives and prevent minor injuries from becoming major ones. Your arrangements will depend on the particular circumstances in your workplace and you need to assess what your first-aid needs are.
Accidents and ill health – Under health and safety law, you must report and keep a record of certain injuries, incidents and cases of work-related disease. Keeping records will help you to identify patterns of accidents and injuries, and will help when completing your risk assessment. Your insurance company may also want to see your records if there is a work-related claim.
Display the health and safety law poster – If you employ anyone, you must display the health and safety law poster, or provide each worker with a copy of the equivalent pocket card. You must display the poster where your workers can easily read it.
The poster outlines British health and safety laws and includes a straightforward list that tells workers what they and their employers need to do.
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 may claim compensation from you. Employers liability insurance will enable you to meet the cost of any compensation for your employees injuries or illness.
Keep your business up to date – Following news and events in the industry will help you keep your health and safety policies and risk assessments up to date.
For further information on Health and Safety for employers please visit http://www.hse.gov.uk/