Health and safety and your business
Advice for new employers
Getting Started with Health and Safety
If you run a business, you have a responsibility to protect the health and safety of your staff and others affected by your work. Managing health and safety does not need to be expensive, time-consuming or bureaucratic. In fact, good health and safety is good business.
This list shows some of the key actions required by law that apply to nearly every business.
- Take out Employers' Liability Compulsory Insurance and display the certificate
- Make sure you have someone competent to help you meet your health and safety duties. This does not have to be an external consultant
- Decide how you are going to manage health and safety. This is your health and safety policy
- Decide what could harm people and what precautions to take. This is your risk assessment. You must act on the findings of you risk assessment, by putting sensible controls in place to prevent accidents and ill health and making sure they are followed
- Provide basic welfare facilities, such as toilets, washing facilities and drinking water
- Provide free health and safety training for your workers
- Consult your workers on Health and Safety
- Display the health and safety law poster or give workers a leaflet with the information - click here to order the poster from the Health & Safety Executive website
- Report some work related accidents, diseases and dangerous occurrences
Health and Safety Management
Managing health and safety is an important part of looking after your business. All employers are required by law to control health and safety risks.
If you employ five or more people you must, by law, have a written statement of your health and safety policy. This should be your own statement, specific to your firm, setting out your general policy for protecting the health and safety of your employees at work and for putting that policy into practice.
Under section 2 (3) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The written statement must:
- State your general policy on health and safety
- Describe the organisation and arrangements for carrying out your policy
- Be brought to the notice of all your employees
- Be revised whenever appropriate, and every revision must be brought to your employees' attention
The following checklist is intended as an aid in writing and reviewing your safety policy statement. There may be additional points, which you may wish to cover. If you cannot tick then you may need to take action.
- Does the statement express a commitment to health and safety and are your obligations towards your employees made clear?
- Does it say who is responsible for seeing that the policy is implemented and for keeping it under review and how this will be done?
- Is it signed and dated by you (or a partner or senior director?)
- Does it is say who is responsible for the following matters and specify their duties?
- Recording (and reporting) of accidents?
- Fire precautions, fire drill, and evacuation procedures?
- First aid?
- Training and safety matters?
- Ensuring legal requirements are met, for example regular testing of lifts and notifying accidents to the Environmental Health Officer?
Arrangements to be considered
- Is the workplace, including staircases, floors, ways in and out, washrooms etc kept in a safe and clean condition by cleaning, maintenance and repair?
- Are maintenance and checks on equipment such as tools and ladders carried out?
- Is there maintenance (including formal visual checks and inspection) of portable electrical appliances?
- Is there maintenance of electrical installation (system)?
- Is there prevention of unauthorised entry into certain areas?
- Have you considered the lifting of heavy or awkward loads?
- Are there arrangements for protecting the employee against assault either in the store or when handling or transporting employer's money or valuables?
Are there arrangements for:
- Ensuring that fire exits are marked, unlocked and free from obstructions?
- Organising annual checks on fire extinguishers etc, fire drills and evacuation procedures?
- First aid including name of person responsible (+ deputy) and the location of the first aid box?
- A system for giving your employees information about their general duties under the Health & Safety at Work Act and specific legal requirements relating to their work?
- Arrangements for liaison with contractors who may work on site?
- Details of training arrangements, supervision and checks which may be made of the workplace, machinery or working methods?
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1992require that employers of 5 or more staff must make a written record of the significant risks to employees or others (e.g. customers) and the procedures in place to guard against or protect against those risks.
The sorts of risks that may need to be considered in retail premises may be:
- Violence to staff
- Risks to customers and staff from changes in floor levels
- Use of equipment
- Risk of injury to staff from lifting heavy or awkward items
- Risks from hazardous substances such as chemicals
Other risks you may identify
In order to carry out an assessment yourself, walk around your workplace and look afresh at what could reasonably be expected to cause harm. Ask your employees what they think. They may have noticed things, which are not immediately obvious.
When you have identified a risk, consider how it is controlled or could be controlled. Ideally, you should eliminate it altogether. Make a record of the risk and the control measures. e.g. risk of burning by contact with the hot surface from a space heater. Control measure: increase central heating system so heater not required; or relocate heater where contact is very unlikely; or provide a guard to the hot surface to prevent accidental contact.
We are here to help. We hope your business succeeds and is able to contribute to making South Kesteven a great place to live. Please visit starting a business to obtain information about grants and what other things you should consider.
|[250kb]||An introduction to health and safety||An introduction to health and safety|
|[78kb]||Five steps to risk assessment||Five steps to risk assessment|
|[600kb]||A short guide to managing asbestos in premises||A short guide to managing asbestos in premises|
|[342kb]||You must manage asbestos||Manage buildings? You must manage asbestos|
The documents in this section are in Adobe Acrobat format (pdf). You will need Acrobat Reader to view these files which can be downloaded from the Adobe website free of charge.