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8th November 2010

Health and Safety Essentials

The majority of new businesses no longer have to register with the Health and Safety Executive, unless they operate in a hazardous industry (such as construction) or work with hazardous substances (like explosives or volatile chemicals). In order to establish whether you are required to register you can contact the HSE directly.

It can be confusing to get grips with precisely what is required when setting up a new business: there are however a number of tasks that must be performed in order to comply with HSE directives; regardless of the size of the business or the industry in which they operate. These are the basic health and safety essentials.

The following five guidelines are not all encompassing, but merely a collection of ‘must haves’ and ‘must dos’ for every business, please remember to consult a professional to ensure that you conform with all of the guidelines appropriate to your individual circumstances.


Five Health And Safety Essentials

1. Take Out Employers’ Liability Compulsory Insurance

As the word ‘compulsory’ would suggest, you must take out insurance if you employ even just one member of staff. This insurance will cover you in the event that an employee becomes injured or ill as a consequence of working for you and is a legal obligation. A copy of the policy must be displayed prominently in the workplace and failure to possess a valid policy can result in a hefty fine.

2. Perform a Risk Assessment

In order to comply with HSE directives all businesses must undertake a comprehensive risk assessment to evaluate any potential hazards to health or wellbeing which could arise during the course of employment. A risk assessment can be performed either using the guidelines provided by the HSE or through the hiring of a trained professional. If your business is small, your premises modern and well equipped and your industry low risk then by all accounts you can quite easily do the risk assessment yourself by scrutinising any potential dangers in the workplace and outlining the measures you will implement to prevent incidents. Larger businesses or those who operate in a more dangerous industry may be best off outsourcing the task.

3. Display the Health and Safety Law Poster

The generic Health and Safety Law Poster (ISBN 978 0 7176 2493 5) must be on display on your premises. It can be easily obtained and will take moments to sort out- failure to do so can have costly consequences.

4. Report All Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences

In accordance with the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (or RIDDOR for fans of acronyms) it is imperative that all work related incidents are correctly reported. This requirement covers everything from minor injuries and major injuries through to ‘near-miss’ accidents. There are a number of different forms and stipulations dependent upon the nature of an incident. To be safe it is good practice to contact the ICC directly on 0845 300 99 23 in the event of any injury or accident- whether major, minor or near-miss.

5. Educate and Train All Staff in Safe Practices

All staff (including yourself) must be fully trained in health and safety practices which apply to your business. All training must take place during working hours, be free of charge and recorded. Your risk assessment will give you a great starting point for this training and clearly highlight which areas need to be addressed. Training should be repeated as and when required.

As specified earlier, health and safety obligations differ for all businesses; as such it is always good practice to contact the HSE or a professional Health and Safety organisation in order to gain a full insight into your personal requirements. The five points listed are however compulsory for absolutely all businesses regardless of size, age or nature of business.

Competent person –

Appoint Lighthouse As Your Health & Safety Competent Person

The competent person role does not have to be fulfilled internally within every company. You can, therefore, outsource the appointment to a contractor or consultancy with the necessary qualifications and experience.

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