Safety in the workplace is paramount, not simply for keeping staff safe and healthy while carrying out their work, but also to protect your business should there be any incidents or accidents at work.
Your legal obligation
By law, all businesses in the UK must adhere to the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974), which outlines that employers have a legal duty to protect the health, safety and welfare of workers and provide a safe and healthy working environment. There are other employment legislation, such as the Management of Health and Safety at Work Act (1999) and the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations (1992), along with industry specific ones that should also be adhered to by law.
The benefits of documenting health and safety checks
Adhering to these legislations will work to ensure the appropriate health and safety measures are in place throughout your business, while also demonstrating best practice when it comes to health and safety. This is why it’s imperative to ensure health and safety checks are well documented and this information is retained.
Having a retrospective account of your health and safety checks and systems will help to improve on health and safety systems and give you and staff confidence that you’re doing everything you can to ensure good health and safety practice. At the same time this will also provide documented proof that you regularly maintain and regulate health and safety measures and value their importance.
A Health and Safety Policy
First and foremost, you should ensure that your business has a Health and Safety Policy clearly documenting who does what, when and how within the business. This will clarify health and safety policy and show workers and others that you are serious about Health and Safety in your workplace.
A key element of health and safety checks is identifying and controlling the risks to workers and others in your working environment. This is where carrying out a thorough risk assessment is vital.
The aim of a risk assessment is not to do paperwork for the sake of paperwork, but to give a structured approach to identifying risks and finding reasonable solutions to eliminating or reducing the risk levels.
While companies with less than five employees aren’t required to write down their findings in risk assessments, it is good practice as a business to do so anyway. This will provide you with a reference to look back on and written proof that the appropriate measures have been taken to maintain health and safety systems.
Risk assessment will help you to create a safe and healthy working environment, but inevitably accidents do still happen. In these instances you should keep a record of any incidents or accidents, along with action taken in a formal accident reporting document.
By keeping on top of your paperwork with regards to health and safety policies, risk assessments, health and safety practices and incident reporting, you can prove to staff that you’re taking the appropriate measures to protect them, as well as have evidence should you need it for legal reasons.