Workplaces can host several types of hazards and safeguarding risks, affecting both workers and non-workers. It’s the responsibility of the employer to avoid such risks and reduce work-related accidents.
Keeping to the right side of health and safety legislation can help minimise and manage risks. Employers are legally required to have health and safety policies in place. Failure to comply can lead to consequences like fines, business closures and even imprisonment.
In this guide, we talk about the main requirements for managing health and safety at work. And which H&S policies we can help you introduce into your business policies.
What is health and safety management?
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 states that employers have a responsibility for all workers’ health and safety. The regulations align with the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, which includes employees working onsite and offsite, as well as public members.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) stands as the UK’s official authority for workplace health, safety, and welfare. They suggest having a ‘Plan, Do, Check, Act’ approach for H&S management:
- Plan: identify potential safety risks in work activities and learn how to manage them.
- Do: control and minimise these risks. Provide employees with suitable training and information.
- Check: measure the effects of your changes. Ensure that you carry out risk assessments (annually and when significant events require re-evaluation).
- Act: learn from the assessments and implement safety changes into your business.
Why do I need health and safety management for my business?
Failing to have sufficient occupational health and safety management can lead to several issues. Breaching H&S regulations is ultimately a criminal offence, which can lead to detrimental effects on your business. Here are four reasons for managing health and safety:
- Legal compliance:
You must comply with the Management of Health and Safety at Work Act and have policies in place. Without them, you can face fines, compensation claims, business disruption, and even possible imprisonment.
An expert consultant can help you keep legally compliant and updated with new safety legislation. By planning for potential safety hazards, you can effectively reduce risks and business disruptions.
- Moral grounds:
Employers have a legal and moral duty to have protect safety measures for your employees. You should strive to uphold these standards. Without maintaining a moral code, employees could feel less significant and expendable.
Through risk assessments, you can provide employees with proper training on how to conduct tasks correctly.
- Financial means:
Being safety compliant can be an expensive legal requirement for some businesses. But when weighing up ‘costs vs consequences,’ the financial investment can prove beneficial. Seek help without spending beyond your financial means.
You should invest in training courses, sufficient equipment, and simple-yet-thorough safety policies.
You can also consider seeking advice from an H&S consultant rather than hiring a full/part-time health and safety expert. All of which can create an enormous difference for workplace safety in the long run.
- Time effective:
Learning about the health and safety regulations is an enormous ask for employers.
You can outsource expert help from safety consultants. This will assure that the correct safety regulations are in place within your business. Allowing you to concentrate your efforts on other business aspects.
How to introduce good health and safety management at work
Employers should seek to understand health and safety hazards in the workplace. The law doesn’t require you to become an expert, but you must oversee the activities to create a safe working environment.
There are several procedures that can help promote workplace safety.
Employers should carry out risk assessments on work activities and assess whether they are ‘sufficient and suitable’. You must conduct reports for both onsite and offsite tasks (including for those working from home). There are several risk assessment policies you can consider:
- Accident and incident report
- Health and safety policies and procedures
- Health and safety risk assessment
- Legal expenses insurance
- Safe systems at work
Health and safety risks
Hazards in the workplace can occur at any time and can affect individuals' physical and mental states. The employer is legally obliged to protect workers from potential hazards. Here are several workplace health and safety risk policies to consider:
- Slips and trips.
- Manual handling
- Lone working
- Noise risk management
- Working in confined spaces
You should aim to support your employees' wellbeing, alongside your safety culture. This can range from physical welfare like sickness and pregnancy, to mental wellbeing. Here are some employee wellbeing policies you can consider:
- Stress at work
- Mental health first aid training
- Working remotely
- Working longer hours
- Fit to work
Under the Reporting of Injuries, Disease and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR), employers must report serious accidents and dangerous occurrences that happen in the workplace, like:
- Work-related accidents that result in the death of a person (employee, contractors, visitors, public, etc).
- Injuries and accidents.
- Injured employees who are unfit for work (seven days after the incident).
- Non-fatal accidents to non-workers.
- Occupational diseases.
- Dangerous occurrences.
Fire safety risks
It’s vital that you have correct fire safety procedures within your business. Employers hold full responsibility for employees and everyone else on their premises. You should action the right fire safety policies, fire risk assessments, and keep them up to date.
Peninsula can help you with health and safety management
Ultimately, it is your legal duty to protect the health and safety of your employees.
You can dedicate a trained individual to take charge on management of health and safety. However, this doesn't mean they share equal responsibilities with you. Should an accident happen in your business, you will be held liable.
Peninsula clients get access to 24/7 advice with our health and safety specialists. If you are not yet a client, you can still enjoy free guidance from one of our business experts.