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Businesses have a duty of care to their employees. This is reinforced by health and safety law that puts in place different checks and rulings. These checks are what businesses need to be aware of in order to operate within the law and provide safe working conditions for their staff.
This guide highlights some of the key checks that your business might need to keep in mind.
COSHH, or the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health, is a law that focuses on the use of various chemicals and compounds in the workplace. It’s concerned with those substances that could have a serious health impact on staff if incorrectly stored or used.
It frequently covers chemicals used in industrial processes, but also relates to everyday cleaning items that are used in a business.
COSHH assessments involve looking at the dangers each substance causes and investigating:
Control measures with COSHH items relate to the storage of hazardous items and their use. This includes using appropriate equipment, such as tools and protective clothing.
This also covers what to do in the event of an emergency and how to deal with the spillage of a harmful substance. COSHH assessments also help to outline the training needed to ensure staff work safely with substances that could be harmful.
While it’s not essential by law, PAT, or Portable Appliance Testing, is concerned with the examination of electrical equipment and appliances to ensure they are safe to use.
These tests check that electrical items are functioning correctly, which can entail testing fuses in plugs, alongside a visual inspection, to ensure an item isn’t damaged. They also help ensure the item won’t cause an electrical hazard that can harm staff.
PAT doesn’t need to be carried out annually. But it is good practice to ensure all of your appliances, from equipment needed to carry out jobs to the kettle in the break room, are safe for use.
Our blog post, How do I ensure electrical safety in the workplace? provides additional information about electrical health and safety issues.
A key aspect of a business’s health and safety provision is that staff are all aware of different issues relating to their safety in the workplace.
This means putting together a detailed health and safety procedure and training plan. Going through this as part of a staff induction helps to ensure employees start work for you with knowledge of health and safety issues relating to their duties. It also gives them an understanding of key issues, such as where fire exits and extinguishers can be found in your workplace.
Staff need to be aware of different health and safety issues, the precautions they need to take, and the process for reporting any hazards.
Training should be carried out whenever a new piece of equipment is introduced to the business. Refresher courses should also be carried out, prior to busy periods. For example, a retailer could do this before Christmas, ensuring staff are fully aware of hazards when the shop floor is busier than normal.
In the event that a member of the public or a member of staff is hurt in your workplace, you need to have the correct facilities for logging and reporting the cause.
Accident books are vital for reporting an injury. This is not just for insurance purposes, in the event of a personal injury claim, but also in the event that the recording of an injury highlights an unforeseen or emerging health and safety issue.
Logging details like the nature of the injury, the date and time it happened, and any medical treatment that was required, is necessary to ensure proper health and safety compliance.
Having accident book entries also helps with reporting injuries to medical and legal practitioners. This can assist both with treatment and legal proceedings, helping to ensure claims don’t go through a lengthy and costly personal injury dispute. For more information about the injury dispute process, please read our blog, What happens during a personal injury dispute?
You might be unsure what checks your business needs or how to carry them out. FSB members can benefit from help with this by having access to the latest health and safety advice, updated by industry experts.
This can provide businesses with:
To find out more about how we can help with your health and safety monitoring, visit the FSB Health and Safety Advice page or get in touch with a member of the team.
A dedicated resource destination for Health & Safety advice and news with regularly updated documents written by Health & Safety experts.
National Federation of Self Employed & Small Businesses LimitedSir Frank Whittle Way / Blackpool / FY4 2FE. National Federation of Self Employed & Small Businesses Limited (FSB) is registered in England, number 1263540