Under UK health and safety law, as an employer, you have a duty to ensure that the working conditions of your staff are suitable and risk free. There are many things you should do to make sure they stay safe when working in your company, from providing an environment where risks are controlled to consulting with them on health and safety matters.
This guide explains the key things you should provide your employees to make sure your company health and safety is of a high standard and meets legal requirements.
Every business must have a health and safety policy for its staff to follow, so putting one together is a good place to start. If your company consists of five or more employees it’s also advisable to write this down. As well as including a statement of your general policy on health and safety in the workplace, this should highlight your company’s health and safety aims and how you plan to achieve them.
You must also have insurance that covers your staff in the event they get hurt, injured, or ill while working for your business. It’s important to display a hard copy of your current insurance certificate, or provide access to an electronic copy, so your staff can read it too.
This involves identifying sensible measures to control hazards and risks in your workplace that will ensure the safety of your staff. To do this you should check what could harm your employees when doing their job and make sure you have the precautions in place to stop that from happening.
Examples could include identifying potentially slippery surfaces, making sure plug sockets aren’t overloaded, or ensuring the electrical safety of any tools and equipment within the workplace.
Depending on your business, you should provide the necessary equipment and protective clothing, so your employees can do their job safely. Your risk assessment should help to identify the equipment you need, including guards for dangerous machinery, safety goggles and boots, or high-visibility clothing.
It’s wise to also place signage in your workplace that warns staff of possible hazards. Examples could include fitted signage to warn about high voltage or placing a sign to warn of a slip or trip hazard.
Your business should have safe and clean facilities, which your staff can use during their working hours, from toilets with washing facilities to drinkable water.
Fittings and building infrastructure should also be put in place to ensure staff safety. This could include fitting anti-slip flooring, installing good lighting in a dark warehouse, or making sure all office desks and chairs are safe to use or at the correct height for doing computer work.
It’s important that you provide all staff with health and safety training, from showing them how to use equipment or machinery to the safest way to carry or move stock. They should know things like what to do and where to go in the event of a fire. You should also provide a first aid kit, ensure staff know where it’s kept, and that they know what to do in the event of an injury.
It’s worthwhile purchasing health and safety videos, which you can show staff to demonstrate best practices in the workplace. These cover everything from safe manual handling to putting out a small office fire, to the importance of considering the health and safety of other employees.
When providing good health and safety for your staff, it’s wise to listen to them. They are probably the best people to understand the risks from the work they’re doing, so it makes sense to involve them in any health and safety-related discussions and decisions.
It’s also a good idea to have a representative in your workforce who your staff can consult with when they have any concerns or suggestions regarding your company’s health and safety.
In addition to giving your employees the equipment, facilities and training they need, it’s important for them to know that good health and safety is a two-way process. They should be aware they have a duty to take care of their own health and safety, and that of anyone their work affects, to make sure your business meets the necessary legal requirements. This includes:
Health and safety is a crucial part of every business, but making sure you’re compliant and have the right regulations in place can take time and be expensive. To help with this, we offer services and specialist advice to ensure you provide the best health and safety for your business and your staff. This includes:
To find out more about how we can help you with health and safety in your workplace, please visit our FSB Health and Safety Advice web page or speak to a member of our team.
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