Tips for complying with health and safety policies and procedures
All employers have responsibilities under the law to protect their workers from risks that may arise to their health and well being. Getting to grips with these policies and procedures can seem like a daunting task, but as long as you follow certain principles, you shouldn’t struggle to meet your obligations. Here are some simple tips to help you stay on the right side of the law.
Understand the regulations
First and foremost, it helps if you have some understanding of where these rules come from and what they aim to achieve. The basis of health and safety laws in the UK is the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. This piece of legislation sets out the general duties that employers have towards their personnel and members of the public. It also determines the responsibilities that workers have for themselves and to each other. It’s important to note that these duties are qualified by the principle of ‘so far as is reasonably practicable’. This means that employers don’t have to take measures to avoid or reduce risks if such actions would be technically impossible or the time, cost and trouble required would be grossly disproportionate to the hazard. In essence, health and safety laws require employers to do what good management and common sense would lead them to do anyway.
Provide first aid resources
One of the responsibilities that organisations have is to provide suitable first aid resources. Employees should be able to receive immediate attention if they fall ill or are injured at work. Your first aid provisions must be suited to the particular dangers facing your personnel. Small, low-risk workplaces need only have a first aid box and a person appointed to take control of medical arrangements, such as stocking this box and calling the emergency services. In contrast, workplaces with higher safety risks may need trained first aide. In order to establish the level of resources and expertise you require, you must conduct a first aid needs assessment. Meanwhile, to stock up on first aid products, you can turn to specialist medical suppliers like Steroplast.
Conduct risk assessments
You are also required under the law to conduct risk assessments and if you have five or more workers, you will need to record your findings. As part of this assessment, you must identify any hazards facing your personnel and decide who might be harmed and how. You must also evaluate the level of risk and decide on suitable precautions. All your significant findings should be carefully documented, and you will need to review and update your assessment if necessary. For example, you may need to re-evaluate dangers if you change your working procedures or buy new equipment.
Know your other responsibilities
As well as ensuring you have suitable first aid provisions in place and conducting risk assessments, you are required to appoint competent people to help you control dangers effectively. You must also set up suitable emergency procedures and provide clear safety information and training to your employees.
If you’re ever unsure of your responsibilities, you can turn to the Health and Safety Executive for information and advice, and enlist the help of specialist consultants for additional guidance.