This article will give you outline information on each of the ten steps you need to follow to ensure that your business is safe and legal in terms of health and safety regulation in the UK.
Step 1. Register your Business
Some businesses must, by law, be registered with the Health and Safety Executive or the local authority. However, most businesses do not need to register.
Step 2. Take Out Employer’s Liability Compulsory Insurance
As the title suggests, this insurance is compulsory for almost all employers and it covers you against claims from employees who are injured or become ill as a result of their work.
Step 3. Appoint a Competent Person
Every business must do this – it is a legal requirement on all businesses. The law says you must appoint a competent person to help you to meet your health and safety duties. This does not have to be an external consultant and in many companies it is the owner or manager who fulfils this role.
Step 4. Write Your Health and Safety Policy
All businesses are required to have a Health and Safety Policy, and for those with five or more employees this must be in writing. However, even for smaller companies, a written policy is an excellent aid to the business. Your health and safety policy sets out the arrangements you have put in place for managing health and safety in your business. It is a unique document that says who does what, when and how.
Step 5. Assess the Risks
This is again compulsory for all businesses. Without properly assessing the risks in your business you run the risk of invalidating your Employer’s Liability Insurance and leaving yourself open to prosecution. To do this you must decide what could harm people and what precautions to take. This is your risk assessment. You must act on the findings of your risk assessment, by putting sensible controls in place to prevent accidents and ill health and making sure they are followed.
Step 6. Provide Basic Welfare Facilities
This is a very basic requirement, but again one which is enforceable in law. You must provide a safe and healthy environment for all of your employees. This includes toilets, washing facilities and drinking water, and appropriate lighting and temperature.
Step 7. Provide Free Health and Safety Training and Supervision
Everyone who works for you, including self-employed people, needs to know how to work safely and without risks to health and so you need to train them and supervise their work. You also need to keep records of this training and provide refresher training periodically to ensure that everyone remains safe in the workplace.
Step 8. Consult Your Workers
Consultation means discussing health and safety with your workers or their representatives to allow them to raise concerns and influence decisions. Minutes should be kept of these discussions and any agreed actions must be implemented. Again, this is a legal requirement and hence keeping minutes of these meetings provides evidence of your compliance.
Step 9. Display the Health and Safety Law Poster
Possibly the easiest step to complete and yet often overlooked. This is required by law. The poster includes basic health and safety information and lets people know who is responsible for health and safety in your workplace. Or instead, you can give workers a leaflet.
Step 10. Understand the RIDDOR Reporting Procedures
The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR), require you to report work-related accidents, diseases and near-miss incidents. Make sure you know how and when to report, even if you never need to.
Finally – You Must Stay up to Date
This is not a step but a way of conducting your business.You must stay up to date on the changes in legislation and health and safety issues that are pertinent to your business.