managing health and safety

5 easy steps for smaller businesses in managing health and safety

Neil Munro Health & Safety

Managing health and safety can be daunting for smaller businesses with limited resources, but by implementing a few health and safety basics you can get to grips with your obligations as an employer and comply with the regulations.

But where do you start with health and safety as a smaller organisation? Here are a few essential steps to take.

1.    Appoint someone to manage your health and safety

You need to appoint somebody competent, and with some knowledge and experience in this area, to manage health and safety in your business. If there’s nobody suitable you could appoint an external consultancy to ensure you comply with health and safety laws, and avoid the hefty fines that non-compliance attracts.

2.    Develop a health and safety policy

Developing a health and safety policy is essential when you’re an employer, although you aren’t obliged to have a written policy if you employee five members of staff or fewer.

The industry and associated risk will determine the level of detail required in individual health and safety policies. Employees in construction businesses face more risks from a health and safety perspective than those working in office-based businesses, for example.

There’s always support available with respect to managing health and safety. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) provide free templates and explain what should be included in a policy.

3.    Carry out a risk assessment

In a practical sense, managing health and safety begins by assessing the risks to staff and ensuring the necessary measures are taken to either eradicate or reduce them as far as possible.

Walking around your business premises with this in mind helps to identify potential issues, as does asking employees about their day-to-day working practices. Having established and determined the level of these risks, you can then take steps to mitigate them.  

4.    Consult with employees

Talking to employees is a key part of managing health and safety in the workplace. You can learn a great deal from listening to an employee’s perspective on potentially risky procedures, or areas of the business that might require attention from a health and safety point-of-view.

You also need to consult them on their training needs to reduce potential risks, keeping written records so you know when training needs to be refreshed or updated.

5.    Employers’ liability insurance

Employers in the UK must take out liability insurance to cover potential claims by employees if they are injured in the workplace or suffer a work-related illness. This type of insurance may pay out some, or all of the compensation if you’re found liable.

Managing health and safety doesn’t need to be complicated. Acorn Safety Services provide professional health and safety consultancy services, CDM consultancy services, construction health and safety services,  fire risk assessments, and asbestos services to businesses throughout the UK. Please contact one of our highly experienced consultants to find out how we can help.