Health and safety in the workplace is a clear priority for every business. Not only is it a legal requirement to take a proactive approach to managing health and safety, it also makes good business sense.
How healthy is your business? Answer the fourteen questions below, add up your score and find out below where you rate and what you can do to improve. (Award yourself 1 point for ‘yes’ and 0 points for ‘no’)
Q1 - Have you registered your business with the HSE or local authority?
Q2 - Has a health and safety inspector visited your premises?
Q3 - Have you carried out a health and safety risk assessment?
Q4 - Have you fully evaluated the hazards?
Q5 - Have you taken ‘reasonable’ action to minimise risks?
Q6 - Have you recorded your findings?
Q7 - Have you got an accident book that all employees are aware of?
Q8 - Do you continue to review and revise your assessment regularly?
Q9 - Have you taken out Employee Liability Compulsory Insurance (ELCI)?
Q10 - Is your ELCI certificate on display?
Q11 - Do you ensure you provide safe equipment for employees?
Q12 - Have you informed employees about your health and safety policy and procedures?
Q13 - Have you supplied employees with information about your findings, informing then about safe working methods, protective clothing and workplace rules?
Q14 - Have you appointed a dedicated safety representative?
How did you score?
Your business is definitely slacking in the health and safety department and it is time you took some urgent action. You may or not be the right side of the law, but even if you manage to somehow tick the legal boxes, you are still leaving yourself wide open to injury, law suites, downtime and financial penalties, none of which will prove beneficial for you or your business.
You are getting there, but there are still a number of improvements you need to make to ensure you are running an efficient business and that you comply with all the legal requirements.
Perhaps you started with good intentions and put certain measures in place, yet have gradually let health and safety slip down your list of priorities? Why not identify a member of staff who can champion the cause for you, managing the administrative work, undergoing any necessary training and enabling you to oversee the procedures?
Work with employees to ensure that resources are pooled, and that everyone is aware of policies being put in place.
Contact your local HSE office, local authority or visit www.hse.gov.uk if you have any practical queries relating to your specific business or industry.
Top of the class! There might still be minor room for improvement, but you are certainly taking health and safety seriously and have made great strides in ensuring that you comply with the law, offer a safe workplace and operate efficient business systems. Just don’t take your eye off the ball! Now you have laid the foundations and put certain processes into place, make sure you keep on top of health and safety with regular employee updates and risk assessment reviews. It will continue to pay off in terms of happy staff, an efficient operation and lower insurance premiums. Keep it up.
The above guide should have given you a good insight into what your health and safety responsibilities are, but if you still have queries in relation to your industry or business, contact your local HSE office or your local authority, or visit www.hse.gov.uk.
Don’t wait until you receive a complaint or one of your employees has an accident - or the health and safety inspector turns up unannounced – act now! To delay could prove very costly.