Health and Safety Law – Good Practice
The Health and Safety at Work Act places an obligation on everyone in the workplace to take responsibility for the health and safety of themselves, their co-workers and any passers by. Employers are required to ensure, as far as reasonably practical, the health, safety and welfare of all employees while at work. As already mentioned, the law requires all employers
with five or more employees to have a written health and safety policy; however, it is strongly recommended that those with less than five employees also put their health and safety policy in writing.
There are many legal obligations relating to different specialist sectors and you must incorporate the requirements relevant to your sector and your business into your health and safety policy. Good sources of information on these obligations will be your trade association and the Health and Safety Executive.
Health and safety legislation and good practice require:
1. Competent Advice – Having access to competent health and safety advice either in-house or externally (e.g. trade associations, consultants).
2. Consultation – Consulting with your employees can take place directly, through trade union representatives, or through an elected representative.
3. Emergency Procedures – Assessing the risk of fire and weighing up whether enough has been done to protect the workforce and comply with the law.
4. Hazardous Substances – Assessing the risks from all substances that are hazardous to health.
5. Monitoring – Being able to show you are checking working conditions and systems of work i.e. monitoring health and safety.
6. Noise – Assessing the risks from noise by ensuring that an assessment is carried out by a competent person. If the assessment reveals a risk of excessive exposure to noise, take steps to remove, reduce or control the noise level
7. Plant and Equipment – Ensuring that all plant and equipment that requires maintenance (e.g. pre-shift checks, servicing and thorough examination) is identified and that the maintenance is carried out.
8. Protective Equipment – Ensuring that Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is provided to employees and that it is in working order, in good repair and maintained in an efficient state.
9. Recording Accidents – Recording accidents (even minor ones) can help identify whether there is a health and safety problem in a particular area that needs to be addressed.