Health and Safety Responsibilities for Small Businesses

When you search for health and safety online, it appears to be a bureaucratic nightmare. In actuality, it is fairly simple to comprehend. The Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974 is a bit of legislation and a set of guiding principles put in place to keep your staff members, customers, guests to your site, and you safe.

While it is fairly simple for most businesses, especially smaller ones, to follow, we recommend that you seek professional advice from expert health and safety consultants especially since there are more detailed and specific rules embedded in particular industries. However, in this blog post, we will share a few of the most fundamental responsibilities that you have as a small business. 

The fundamentals

Your main responsibility as a small business owner is simple: ensure that those working for you or on your grounds are safe and protected from dangers caused by business operations.

In so doing, you are also defending your professional image and shielding yourself from any prospective legal proceedings if someone is harmed. This will undoubtedly have an effect on your company’s long-term prosperity.

The Health and Safety Executive, otherwise known as the HSE, and are the entity in charge of the laws and regulations, recognises that different companies run in quite different ways and have very unique demands. A self-employed person doing freelance writing from a home office, for example, will not require the same rules as a national building company with hundreds of members of staff. They are adaptable in that they allow you to take the method that is best for your company. For instance, if you employ fewer than five people, you are not mandated by law to have a written health and safety policy or risk evaluation, though it is in your collective interest to have one.

Manage the hazards

Preventing and managing hazards is far easier and far less costly than dealing with the consequences of a workplace accident. The very first thing you should do is walk around your estate and look for anything that could endanger anyone. It’s also a good idea to have someone else assist you with this task, as they might notice something you don’t. After that, you must take appropriate precautions to prevent these risks from causing real harm. You must keep a written record of these hazards and your efforts to mitigate them. You do not need to include everyday dangers because they are presumed, and the Health and Safety Executive understands that not every risk can be managed or prevented, but they do ask that you take sensible precautions.

Engage with your staff

As with most aspects of business, it is crucial to work collaboratively with your staff members, discuss with them, and keep them updated on your health and safety policy. It may be difficult for them to follow it if they do not have a copy or have not been trained. It may be worthwhile to include a provision in their contracts stating that any wilful violation of health and safety is a disciplinary offence.

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