The term “Health and Safety”, often abbreviated to “H&S” refers to safety and is the prevention of death, accidents and ill health relating to work environments.
Health and Safety is a far reaching topic which will vary hugely depending on your business operations, your working environment and also who else may be affected by these. Employees, the general public and your customers should all be considered when you are thinking of ensuring safe working practices
The Health and Safety Executive has evolved from HM Factory Inspectorates, first appointed under the Factories Act of 1833, they are a government agency whose aim is to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health
Preparing a Health and Safety Policy
The law says that every business must have a policy for managing health and safety.
A health and safety policy sets out your general approach to health and safety. It explains how you, as an employer, will manage health and safety in your business. It should clearly say who does what, when and how.
If you have five or more employees, you must write your policy down. If you have fewer than five employees you do not have to write anything down, but it is useful to do so.
You must share the policy, and any changes to it, with your employees.
What is a Risk Assessment
The term “risk assessment” may apply across various aspects of your business operations.
A risk assessment is the process of identifying potential hazards or negative events for your business; evaluating the risks and consequences and then establishing what precautions can be put in place to minimise the impact of the hazards or negative events. It is important to document risk assessments and review them at regular intervals to check if any of the findings have changed or need updating
“The danger which is least expected soonest comes to us.” – Voltaire
I am a small business, does the law apply to me?
The law will apply if:
- you are an employer
- your work activity is specifically mentioned in the regulations, this includes work in construction, agriculture, railways or work with gas, asbestos or genetically modified organisms
- your work activity poses a risk to the health and safety of anyone else
You should visit the Health and Safety Executive website to find out more information about how H&S relates to your business operations or for guidance on your industry