As an employer, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when it comes to health and safety rules and what you have to do to meet them. New businesses often struggle to get to grips with their responsibilities, but it’s important to have a good understanding of what to do (and what not to do) in order to protect your employees from harm and your business from legal problems.
You can read about health and safety in the workplace yourself, but there’s an enormous amount of information out there. To get the essential facts and understand your responsibilities, training programmes such as the IOSH Managing Safely course can be far more effective for you, your line managers and supervisors. In the meantime, here are a few of the basics that you have to know.
The Risk Assessment
Nearly everything you do to manage health and safety in the workplace will stem from the findings of your risk assessments. These are thorough and in-depth reviews of the potential risks and hazards in your workplace, along with recommendations of where improvements can be made.
Risk assessments must include:
- The people who are at risk, including visitors and members of the public, as well as your employees.
- Hazards or anything that has the potential to cause harm.
- An evaluation of the risks, looking at the probability of the risk and the severity of potential outcomes.
- Control measures which can be put in place to reduce or mitigate risk.
- Recordings of the findings made.
- A review of the risk assessment on an annual basis or whenever something changes within the workplace.
Your risk assessment needs to be carried out by a ‘competent person’. Many businesses choose to play it safe and call in a health and safety professional to carry out their risk assessments, just to make sure that all bases are covered.
Consulting and Training Your Employees
Getting your employees involved in managing health and safety is a vital part of the process. You must let them know about the potential risks in the workplace and give them the information and training they need to work safely.
Ultimately, the responsibility for health and safety does rest on you, the employer. However, there is plenty of advice, support and training available so that you can meet your obligations and provide a safe working environment for your staff without feeling overwhelmed.
What kind of health and safety measures do you employ in your business? Would you consider taking a professional course? Your thoughts and comments below...