Health and safety is a key issue, whatever the size of your business. The concerns you have as a small business owner or director are likely to be different to those of a larger organisation, but your legal responsibilities to ensure people working for you are safe and healthy are just as important.
If you are a business owner, partner or director you may be personally liable if Health and Safety duties are breached. Therefore, for many reasons, it makes sense to lead from the top on this issue, and leave your staff in no doubt that you take it seriously.
Many small businesses don’t have the resource to train a health and safety advisor on their staff, and find it helpful to bring in a qualified consultant to make certain they don’t leave themselves open to prosecution.
Every employer needs to look at how they will manage health and safety – if you employ 5 people or more, that plan must be written down formally. You must assess risks not only to your employees, but also to your customers, any partners you may have and anyone else who may be affected by the activities of your business. You are also legally obliged to effectively plan, control and monitor any preventative measures, and regularly review them to ensure they’re still fit for purpose. As part of this process, you must consult with affected employees about their risks.
You must also legally ensure you have access to competent health and safety advice, whether you source this in-house or elsewhere.
The penalties for failing to comply with health and safety legislation can be severe. You could be fined, disqualified from running a company again, or, in a worst-case scenario, imprisoned – up to and including a life sentence should you be judged to be responsible for gross negligent manslaughter.
As part of ensuring you comply with current health and safety legislation, it’s important to ensure you have dedicated enough resources to implementing your health and safety plan. Staff need to have up-to-date training, and be provided with appropriate time away from their work to complete it. Make sure you act on staff concerns, and keep a record of what you have done for review.
Don’t spend too much time on trivial risks – try to plan for risk realistically and proportionately.
At Business Management Systems, we offer a Small Business Health and Safety Advisor Consultancy service in Redditch, Worcestershire. Our Health and Safety consultants are members of IOSH and have been trained by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, so you can be confident in our knowledge and skills. We adapt as your needs change, providing a quality and efficient service. We are based in Redditch, Worcestershire.
If you’d like to know more about our Small Business Health and Safety Advisor service, you can get in touch with us by email, phone or using our contact form.
Our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and our phone number is 01527 916 201.