Health and safety in the workplace is probably the main thing that your business needs to think about when it starts hiring people or inviting customers/visitors to your premises. Tasks such as risk assessments or health and safety policy creation can feel daunting. There are a lot of organisations – especially newer ones, or smaller ones – that need guidance when it comes to health and safety questions. Here are a number of questions and answers to pay attention to as a small business.

Who is Responsible for Health and Safety in the Workplace? 

The short answer is that the employer is responsible. The law states that all employers should work to ensure the safety of a workplace, up to the point that is reasonable. While the employer may assign someone else to manage the tasks, it is still their overall responsibility.

How Many Fire Wardens Should There be in Your Workplace? 

There is no hard and fast rule about fire wardens in the workplace. You must have a reasonable number to cover your workplace, taking into account the complexity of your location. Low risk spaces generally require 1 warden for every 50 employees. Yet this also depends on how many rooms and floors your workplace has. The more complex, the more you may want to have just to be safe. 

Medium risk workplaces are advised to have 1 for every 20 employees, with high-risk workplaces expected to have 1 in 15. 

What is the Health and Safety at Work Act? 

The health and safety at work act is the law that governs exactly what employers must do to keep their employees and contractors safe. This act was brought together initially in 1974, but numerous additions ensure it stays up to date in the years that have followed.  

In the simplest way, this act aims to ensure as much as possible that people can trust that they will be safe at work.  

What is a Health and Safety Policy? 

A health and safety policy is a written document that sets out an employer or organization’s approach to health and safety, and what they do to ensure the safety of all employees and contractors on their site. This document should serve as a reference point for both parties and allow them to uphold a level of responsibility.  

This document should name who is responsible for the upkeep of the policy, and how employees can expect their safety to be as ensured as possible. All workplaces should have a health and safety policy. 

What Must an Employer Provide Under Health and Safety Law? 

It is less a case of providing anything as much as it is ensuring they are doing the right things. For example, one of the most important things an employer needs to do is a risk assessment. While that isn’t providing anything as such, it is ensuring that they are taking the correct steps to ensure safety. That is the biggest thing they can do. 

From a risk assessment, they will notice the risks that they need to eliminate. These findings will ensure a safer environment than previously noticed, and as it’s a living document, it should be updated yearly to help keep the workplace safe and secure. 

Image of a man doing a risk assessment of building site.

How to Report Health and Safety Concerns with Your Employer 

To report health and safety concerns to your employer, ensure you speak to the businesses health and safety advisor. If you are unsure who this is, it will tell you on your company’s health and safety policy, which should be displayed in your workplace. This may be your kitchen or communal area.  

Why is Health and Safety Important in the Workplace? 

Health and safety is important because it is the responsibility of every employer to keep their staff safe. This is the law, but even more so, it is their moral responsibility to run a business that is safe to visit.   

There is also a financial incentive to ensuring good health and safety. Organizations can be fined if they are proven to be in breach of health and safety regulations, with some of the worse offences climbing into the millions of pounds. The combination of legal, financial, moral and reputational pressure should always ensure businesses take health and safety seriously. 

What Independent Body is Responsible for Health and Safety? 

The independent body that is responsible for health and safety in the U.K. is the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). They are the national regulator that is “dedicated to protecting people and places, and helping everyone lead safer and healthier lives.”  

What Does HSE Stand For in Health and Safety? 

The HSE stands for the Health and Safety Executive. The HSE are the British national regulator that monitors health and safety and aims to ensure both employee and public safety.  

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