The health and safety regulations are very demanding and all organisations are responsible for compiling with the current legislation. Most business owners and managers take responsibility for the health and safety of their employees and consumers very seriously – giving it the highest priority.
And with an increasing number of people claiming compensation for all kinds of accidents in the workplace or on the move, they have a lot to lose if they get it wrong. What’s the worst that can happen? If someone has an accident resulting in serious injury or death at work, business owners and managers could:
o Have to close down their business until all health and safety management issues are addressed
o Be sued by the victim or victim’s family for substantial compensation
o Be heavily fined by the courts for breach of Health and Safety Legislation
o Be sent to prison
So if you’re a business owner or manager you must do all you can to minimise the risk of any of these things happening to you.
Get to grips with health and safety in the workplace
Make sure you have rigorous health and safety management polices and procedures in place and carry out regular audits & inspections to make sure they’re working effectively. Carry out a comprehensive health and safety assessment and take out appropriate liability insurance to cover all areas of risk.
Create and implement a business-wide health and safety strategy, designating responsibilities and reviewing on a regular basis. The strategy should address:
o Health and safety management
Designate individuals to be responsible for health and safety in different areas of the business and workplace and ensure each is adequately trained as a health and safety specialist in their area.
Get an independent health and safety specialist to carry out audits & inspections so you can be confident you’re doing what you should to keep everyone safe.
o Health and safety legislation
Have a thorough understanding of all aspects of Health and Safety Legislation and keep up to date with changes as they occur – claiming ignorance of safety legislation won’t count if things go wrong.
o Health and safety assessment
Assessment and management of risk in the workplace is a major responsibility. If you have more than 5 employees, you must keep detailed, up-to-date records of a regular risk assessment for each area of work and workplace premises.
Remember, it is your duty to have a plan for minimising or eliminating all identified risks.
Other organisations can help, like the local Police and Fire Service who can provide expert advice about crime prevention and fire safety risk assessment.
If you have any doubts about the quality of your health and safety management, it’s vital you do something about it. There is a lot of useful information online but make sure it’s accurate and up-to-date.
Many businesses buy in consultancy for health and safety to make sure they’re getting it right. A health and safety specialist should be a fully qualified professional with an in depth knowledge of health and safety legislation and experience of how it applies to your type of business.
They will provide independent health and safety audits & inspections to check you are conforming to safety legislation, health and safety procedures and risk assessment processes. The message is clear – don’t take unnecessary risks when it comes to health and safety at work. It is a legal requirement that you look after the welfare of your employees.