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Health and safety at work - An employer’s responsibilities

Who is responsible for health and safety in the workplace?

No one individual is completely responsible for health and safety in the workplace. It’s simply too big a task for one person to manage. The Health and Safety Executive expects the responsibility to be shared between employees, managers, supervisors and team members of all levels. This way, there will always be someone on hand to ensure the correct measures are taken.

While the Health and Safety Executive expects everyone to muck in, it also makes it clear that the responsibility is not shared equally. Team members should take on the responsibility that aligns with their specific roles, seniority, and experience level.

Ultimately, employers have the most responsibility as they will be held accountable for their employees’ safety and wellbeing. They have a legal duty to make sure that staff, visitors, customers and contractors on their premises are safe from harm.

How can employers comply with health and safety regulations?

We all know that accidents and injuries can happen no matter what. Even if an employer has taken all the correct precautions, there’s always a chance that something could go wrong. But by complying with health and safety regulations, they can reduce the chance of an incident and protect themselves from legal damages at the same time.

An employer can comply with health and safety regulations by carrying out the following duties:

Risk assessments

Employers need to carry out extensive risk assessments in the workplace. This includes identifying potential hazards, who might be at risk and how to protect them from harm. Once the hazards have been identified, employers will need to put effective safety measures in place. They will also need to plan and create method statements that outline best practices for any high-risk activities. This is, of course, entirely dependent on the specific workplace. This is why risk assessments should be carried out in each and every workplace. What may be high-risk in one workplace might be considered low-risk in another. Making the distinction and having the correct plan in place is an essential part of health and safety.

Discuss health and safety measures with staff

Talking about health and safety with team members across all levels of experience is important. This way, employers will get an idea of the day-to-day activities of all staff and understand the risks that employees face daily. This will help to resolve safety issues and eliminate potential hazards.

Provide effective health and safety training for staff

Staff need to have a certain degree of knowledge when it comes to health and safety to be able to identify and react to hazards. Employers are required to provide this training. They may also have to extend this training to contractors who will be on their site or at least provide sufficient health and safety information.

Employers may need to provide training for employees with additional needs, such as:

Produce written health and safety policies

For companies with more than five employees, it is a legal requirement for the employer to create written health and safety policies. This is an effective way of communicating consistent safety measures across a team, regardless of the size.

Have the approved health and safety poster on display

Employers must make sure the approved health and safety poster is visible. The poster displays essential information about health and safety responsibilities. All employees should be able to see the poster and if they can’t, leaflets should be provided.

Provide PPE

PPE and other safety equipment should be provided for all employees who need it. The risk assessment should outline which employees might be at risk and the correct PPE they need to mitigate hazards. This equipment should be provided to employees free of charge. The PPE requirements for your workplace may have also changed since COVID-19. You will need to consider what is essential for the task employees are doing but also what you should provide as extra protection due to coronavirus.

Select suitable contractors

If employees are hiring contractors to work on their premises, they need to make sure that the contractors have the correct skills and experience to be safe while working. If the contractor needs training or further health and safety information, the employer should provide this.

Is your workplace safe for everyone?

Employers should consider that making sure the workplace is just safe for their employees is not enough. The Health and Safety Executive points out that it must also be safe for all those who are affected by it. That includes visitors, customers, temporary workers and contractors.

By tackling health and safety head-on and making sure that the responsibilities filter from the top down, you can create a safe working environment for everyone.

We provide a broad range of health and safety courses for the workplace. Whether you work with a large team across multiple sites or you run a small, independent business, our flexible training sessions can meet your specific needs. We understand the importance of staying safe in the workplace, which is why all of our courses can be tailored to your working environment.

Whether you need a simple introductory course to first aid or an advanced course in fire safety, our instructors are up to the task. If you’re not sure exactly what you need and you’d like some professional advice, simply give us a call today. We can talk you through the process and provide you with a bespoke training course that covers the essential information.