Health and Safety at Work

It doesn't matter what environment you work in - whether you're based in an office, a building site or a shop, health and safety is still an important requirement and needs to be considered carefully.

As a business owner you have a duty of care to your employees and people who visit your place of work from time-to-time, however, it's important to bear in mind that a health and safety solution for one business is not always suitable for another.

For example, a business that operates from building sites will probably have far stricter health and safety rules than one that operates out of a small office - for obvious reasons!

But it can be difficult to know where to start, which is why we have come up with a list of key areas to help get you started:

Identify the Risk:

Risk assessments help identify and reduce on-site risks to employees and visitors. This is usually broken down into five stages:

  • Identify the hazards

  • Consider who could be at risk

  • Evaluate the risk and decide what precautions you will put in place

  • Make a record of your findings and implement them

  • Review and update your assessment if necessary

Address the Risk:

The next stage is to address and fix the risks by putting in appropriate measures to help manage it. For example, a building site usually operates a hard-hat policy where employees and visitors to the site have to wear a helmet to reduce damage should something fall from a scaffold, for instance. Another example could be excess cables lying around an office that could result in someone tripping. Many offices try to restrict cables to underneath desks so that the likelihood of tripping is greatly reduced.

Educate Your Staff:

It's all very well carrying out the first two points, however, if you don't follow this up with appropriate health and safety training for your staff then you could be wasting your time. By ensuring your employees understand and follow the health and safety guidelines you layout, you could greatly reduce the potential for accidents in the workplace.

Cover Your Business:

  • Employers Liability: If you employ staff then it is very important to ensure that you have appropriate insurance cover in place. It is a legal requirement to have employers' liability insurance if you employ anyone (with very few exceptions to the rule). It not only covers your company should a member of staff be injured or fall ill whilst at work it also gives your employees the peace-of-mind that their company cares about them.

  • Public Liability: Whilst public liability insurance is not a legal requirement it is still an important consideration for any business - especially one who deals with members of the public on a day-to-day basis or even a company that gets occasional visitors on-site. Public liability will cover you should a member of the public be injured or fall ill whilst on your premises.

To find out more about these forms of liability insurance check out our quick guide.

Whilst implementing good health and safety practices in your workplace may seem like a hassle it is ultimately worthwhile as it will not only protect staff and visitors to your site but could also save you further problems and money in the long-run.