As an employer you have a moral obligation, as well as a legal duty, to keep your employees working safely and well whilst they are under your employment. But that’s not the only reason to look after your workers; it also makes good business sense, ensuring you avoid costly legal prosecution and penalties and develop the loyalty and morale of a workforce that knows they are highly valued.
But how far exactly do your responsibilities go? It’s actually much easier than you might think to comply with your legal duties. Follow our simple steps below to make sure you manage your business correctly and keep your staff safe and healthy.
1 – As an employer you must appoint someone to take charge and help you meet your duties. This person can be yourself, another employee or an external consultant. Whoever you choose to assist you, they must be ‘competent’ having the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to ensure full compliance.
2 – Your next step is to write a health and safety policy. The policy should detail how you will manage the safety and well being of everyone working for you, explaining who is responsible for which tasks and checks and what duties they have. Your safety policy should state who is responsible for:
- The provision of adequate training for all employees giving them the knowledge and skill to perform their jobs safely and legally.
- Consulting with employees to gain an understanding of the everyday risks they come across, and offer advice and supervision.
- The implementation of safety and emergency procedures, such as evacuation procedures in the event of a fire – this person should have sufficient fire marshal training.
- The maintenance of a fully stocked first aid box, and an appointed person for taking charge in the event of a first aid emergency – this person should have sufficient first aid training .
3 – Writing your health and safety policy is often the ideal time to carry out a professional risk assessment to ensure that each risk is properly identified and assessed to determine the best course of action in managing it. Whilst undertaking a risk assessment you should consider every individual member of staff, in case anyone has any specific requirements.
4 – Consulting with your employees is a legal requirement and ensuring you support your staff to feel comfortable raising any concerns they have will ensure you understand the extent of the risks that face your employees every day. This doesn’t have to be a formal procedure, but make sure you take the time to listen to your staff and chat about their work life worries.
5 – As an employer it is your responsibility to provide training and information for all your staff. Workplace accidents are all too often attributed to lack of training which means they could have been avoidable, so it’s essential that you have taken all necessary steps to avoid accidents – this is also applicable to contractors and the self-employed.
6 – Provide the necessary facilities for your staff. The obvious provisions include clean and fully functioning toilets and wash basin facilities, drinking water, a place to change and store clothing if your staff are required to wear uniform or specialist clothing and somewhere to rest and eat meals. But there are more that you may not be aware of, such as:
- Health Facilities – Good ventilation, reasonable temperatures, suitable lighting, spacious work stations and clean work environments.
- Safety Facilities – Properly maintained equipment, clear walkways, no obstructions around exits or in walkways.
7 – Assessing your first aid requirements should be carried out and all arrangements should be clearly communicated to staff, ensuring everyone has access to fully stocked first aid kits and that you have a sufficiently trained appointed person to take charge of all arrangements.
For more information, please contact Health & Safety directly or visit us at one of our offices.