The UK has now left the EU and the country is currently working its way through negotiations. By 31st December a solid deal should be in place. In the meantime, health and safety legislation remains in place with company owners and higher management responsible. At PUWER we have collated an easy to follow health and safety checklist. Included in this post are factors required for consideration and links to important documents and the law.
A competent person is one with the knowledge and skills to meet legal requirements. Whilst the law does not state a person should be qualified, professional competent person training aids confidence in the workplace. This position can be taken by the business owner, a manager, employee or somebody external to the business.
Health & Safety Policies
Required by law, every business must have an up to date policy. This document needs to highlight the companies approach and how employers manage health and safety. Policies must be documented with five or more employees.
First aid in the workplace applies to companies and self-employed individuals. It is the employers responsibility to ensure illness and injury is treated immediately and backed up with any relevant accident investigation. To meet this necessity a first aid kit should be kept fully stocked at all times. Every workplace must have an appointed first aider and relevant ‘what to do’ information has to be available to all employees.
Health & Safety Poster
As an employer you are responsible for displaying the correct health and safety poster. It needs to be positioned for everyone to see easily.
Employers must protect workers from any potential harm and hazards. Minimum requirements are stated by the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations, 1999:
- All hazards must be identified
- Determine harm levels (risks) based upon hazards
- Take action to eliminate hazards and at the very least, control risks
Assessing risk is an important part of health and safety and relatively straightforward for small companies. Medium to large may require additional help.
It’s imperative that all employees understand a company’s health and safety procedures. This can be achieved through talking, listening and training. Policies should be discussed in relation to work carried out and controlling any risks.
Employers Liability Insurance is a necessity. Should a worker become poorly or sustain an injury due to their job they have the right to claim compensation. Without the right insurance a business could shut down overnight.
Criminal & Civil Law
Each of these aspects apply to health and safety in the workplace. Employers are responsible for protecting workers against illness and harm at work. Failing to do so could see criminal proceedings by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). In addition, a worker may choose to take action for compensation under civil law.
Information & Training
Every person that’s part of a team including contractors and the self employed need to be fully aware and understand how to work safely without any risks to health. Informing workers is down to you as a business owner or manager. Clear instructions need to be laid out from the offset and relevant training undertaken. Keep in mind that new additions to the team should undergo the same levels of training as existing employees.
The Right Workplace Facilities
Everyone has a legal right to be catered to in the workplace in terms of health and safety. It’s the employers responsibility to ensure a safe environment for the full team, including individuals with disabilities. Factors that must be considered are the inclusion of the correct numbers of toilets, sinks, drinking water and a place to relax and eat. The workplace is required to offer a reasonable temperature with good ventilation, suitable lighting and the correct amount of space and seating. Finally, equipment must be well maintained and not prove obstructive. Windows should be easy to open.
Report Accidents & Illness
As an employer you need to be familiar with RIDDOR. This is a duty under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations and pertains to the report of any workplace injuries, near misses and workplace disease. For companies with more than 10 people employed an accident book must be kept by law. Incident records must be noted in accordance with legislation. Owners find looking back on such assets are helpful in defining accident and injury patterns. This information is helpful for insurance claims and as long as personal information is stored securely, a company remains complicit.
With so many facets attached to health and safety the subject can become quite involved. The above checklist provides a decent overview of the main factors to take into consideration.