Regardless of the size of your business, you should be considering health and safety. Failing to consider health and safety can have many negative consequences - there could be a higher risk of injuries and fatalities, and you could be sued, fined, shut down, and even imprisoned.
Having an effective health and safety policy in place can reduce the risk of injury and sickness for yourself, employees, and any visitors to the workplace.
If you’re not sure whether you need health and safety assistance, or you simply want to learn more about health and safety, then keep reading for more information on health and safety support.
You Haven't Appointed a Competent Person
As an employer, it is your responsibility to ensure that you appoint a competent person in order to provide health and safety support and to satisfy legal requirements.
A competent person is somebody that has been trained or has the relevant knowledge in health and safety and to provide health and safety assistance. The competent person should have the experience to apply their knowledge appropriately and the relevant training to support this.
There's several ways to appoint a competent person - you could appoint a qualified staff member, employ an in-house health and safety advisor or outsource a competent health and safety advisor on a retained basis.
Many companies don't have the luxury of having a competent person in-house and have to look further afield. But outsourcing a competent health and safety advisor can be an affordable and practical way to meet health and safety duties. There are other ways to increase health and safety knowledge and this may include completing online training courses.
Competent health and safety advice is not only for those with 5 or more employees. It is a legal requirement regardless of company size. That is, excluding those who are self-employed, who are working alone and have the sufficient training and experience to carry out their work in accordance with the law.
For companies with five or more employees, you are required to document and evidence your health and safety policy, risk assessments and method statements.
You might look to store your health and safety documentation, risk assessments, method statements and policies in one place. Many companies use an online portal to store, manage and update their health and safety compliance.
You Don’t Understand the Documents
Health and safety can require various different documents, from documenting the actual health and safety policies to completing and filing risk assessments.
If you’re struggling to understand and keep on top of the paperwork, then you may need competent health and safety support.
Health and safety documents can become particularly overwhelming as your business grows, and you may notice yourself needing some extra support in health and safety as your workforce and workload gets bigger.
If you don’t understand how to create a quality and effective health and safety policy, then it may be time to get health and safety support.
Your health and safety policy needs a statement - and in this statement, you should include your company’s health and safety aims, as well as including the date and your signature.
This piece of documentation should be on display for your employees to see - for example, you could place it on your staff board or in the staff room.
You’re Noticing Hazards in the Workplace
If you start noticing potential hazards in the workplace despite sticking to your health and safety policy, then it’s time to get some health and safety support.
If you’re still identifying hazards in the workplace that haven’t been documented, then you should document them and consider training some of your employees in health and safety in order to make the workplace a safer environment for all.
If you have the situation managed, then you may not need extra health and safety support. However, depending on your industry, it can be beneficial to have health and safety services to help you out.
For example, the construction industry can be particularly dangerous and requires a lot of consideration regarding health and safety. The same applies to customer-based businesses - when customers enter the premises, health and safety becomes more of an issue.
You’re Not Familiar With the Legislation
If you don’t understand the key points of the main health and safety legislation, then you may want to consider employing somebody to help you understand it.
One of the main pieces of legislation that you need to consider is the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
This covers all occupational health and safety in the UK, and sets out duties for yourself (the business owner), your employees, as well as anybody who is self-employed within the business.
Understanding the HASAWA (Health and Safety at Work Act) is key to creating a quality and effective health and safety policy, and ensuring that the workplace is safe for everybody, from employees and management to customers and visitors to the site.
If you're not sure what your duties are as an employer, click here for more information.