Health and Safety - Don't duck your responsibility

3 April, 2013

As an employer you are responsible for the health, safety and welfare of all your employees regardless of whether they are full or part-time, casual or permanent staff.

This means that you have to ensure that the place they work in is safe, equipment is properly maintained and without hazards, systems of work are safe, access to and from the premises is safe, the use of hazardous substances is controlled etc. Of course you are also responsible for the safety of customers in and around your venue.

Training and the correct cascading of information is vital to any health and safety regime - all staff must be trained or receive information and instruction, so that they are competent to do their job (from a health and safety point of view).

Key responsibilities are: 
a) Write a Safety Policy 
b) Have a Safety Management Plan 
c) Undertake Risk Assessments 
d) Train staff 
e) Provide a safe work place 
f) Maintain exit and entrance routes 
g) Provide safe systems of work 
h) Maintain work equipment safely 
i) Control the use of hazardous chemicals 
j) Consider the safety of all persons coming into your premises 

A Safety Policy is a legally required document if you employ FIVE or more employees - both part time and full time. It is a document in which you set down your approach to ensuring that you manage the health, safety and welfare of your employees. It doesn't have to be too long and complicated - in fact the simpler it is, the better everybody will understand it.

A Safety Policy is usually divided into three sections: -
1) The Safety Policy Statement
2) Organisation for Safety
3) Arrangements to Managing Safety

The Safety Policy is just the start - the law requires that as an employer, you manage health and safety - this is an ongoing responsibility. This really means that you must monitor and review all the practices and procedures that you have put in place to keep your employees and customers safe, including regular checks to ensure that things are safe, that people follow the correct way of doing tasks, that the right safety signs are in place etc, this must be carried out by you or someone you nominate.

5 Steps to managing health and safety
1) Develop a clear Health and Safety Policy.
2) Organise to deliver the policy.
3) Plan what needs to be done and how you propose to implement it.
4) Monitor procedures and systems to ensure they are what you think they should be.
5) Review performance regularly and make changes to systems, procedures etc if they are not working effectively.

And finally - Remember that health and safety is about identifying hazards and risks and reducing the likelihood of harm of injury.

For more information on this or other matters relating to health and safety in the workplace Contact Us.

Or visit http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg275.pdf

 

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