New Businesses – Your Health and Safety Obligations

Employers are legally required to implement health and safety procedures to safeguard their employee’s interests. Despite preconceived notions, this isn’t a complicated, time-consuming, or costly process. By taking reasonable steps to prevent accidents, the chances are you won’t have to pay compensation if the unexpected occurs.

If you’re setting up a new business and wondering what your health and safety requirements are, you’ve come to the right place. This article will guide you through the necessary considerations to prioritize organisational health and safety. Though you won’t need to write out a risk assessment or health and safety policy if you have less than five employees, that doesn’t mean you should neglect implementing good organisational practices.

New Businesses

The Health and Safety at Work Act (1974)

This is the main UK legislation surrounding health and safety at work. In a nutshell, the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) requires employers to protect both the wellbeing of employees, and outside parties who could be affected by your practices. You should assess risks and take sensible, precautionary measures to tackle them, whether that’s with the provision of protective apparel, or with proper Health and safety training on how to lift equipment properly.

Write a Health and Safety Procedure     

This offers peace of mind for staff, who will be reassured by your commitment to their health and safety and general wellbeing. It also creates organisational structure, setting a good precedent for future goals. There are various templates to help you implement a trustworthy health and safety policy, and its effectiveness will be boosted with regular reviews. Your health and safety policy will outline the organisational efforts in place to manage and prevent risk. From an overarching perspective, it also outlines how you’re committing to health and safety law.

Assessing the Risks in Your Workplace

Risk is defined as the likelihood someone will be harmed by the hazards in your organisation. It is usually assessed on a high to low scale, while also considering the seriousness of harm involved. You should place emphasis on risks which are most likely to cause harm. You can then implement sensible measures to control these risks, prioritizing employee protection. Determine control measures to protect against risk, which will serve as an extension of your risk assessment. Remember also to consider the following:

  • How might employees be harmed?
  • What Hazards are there to consider?
  • What precautions can we take to mitigate risks?
  • Continuously review and update risk assessment.

A great starting point for risk assessment is taking a tour of your workplace and identifying hazards. Think about how people might be harmed, and the severity of potential harm. It’s helpful to ask your employees for input, since they’ll have a more in depth view of the hazards encountered on a day-to-day basis. Consultation is a two way process, where staff can voice concerns, usefully influencing the procedures you set in place. Once you’ve implemented appropriate measures to safeguard against harm, continually keep track of your significant findings.

How Can You Control Risks?

There are many sensible measures you can take to control risks, which often derive from common sense. Keep your approach simple and focus on controls. You’re legally required to implement measures to protect your staff, and by using a risk assessment template you can easily record your findings.

Provide Training

Employees must understand how to work in accordance with the health and safety policy in place. This can be achieved with training that highlights the information and instructions for staff to work safely. Procedures can be improved by gathering staff feedback and modifying training accordingly.

Workplace Facilities

Employees are entitled to the following provisions:

  • Toilets, Hand Basins, Soap, Towels
  • Drinking Water
  • A Place to Rest and Eat Meals
  • A Place to Store Clothing.

They Should also have access to a healthy work environment, including:

  • Good Ventilation
  • Reasonable Working Temperatures
  • Suitable Lighting
  • A Clean Workspace
  • A Suitable Workspace and Seating

First Aid Provisions

First aid arrangements are mandatory, to ensure employees can receive medical attention in the event of an accident. This can ultimately save lives, but for the most part stops minor injuries elevating to major ones. You should at the very least have a stocked first-aid box, a fully qualified first aid expert within the organisation, and information pertaining to the first-aid arrangements in place.

Health and Safety Poster

Once you’ve devised an appropriate set of health and safety regulations, it’s useful for them to be displayed for everyone to observe. This can be achieved in conjunction with displaying the health and safety law poster, which outlines health and safety laws as a straightforward list. This will remind employees what they and their organisation need to achieve when adhering to health and safety regulations.

By considering the points outlined in this article, you will have fulfilled your health and safety requirements!