Health and Safety: What you need to know

Author: Douglas-Jones Mercer

Date: 02 February 2017

Whether you’re an employer or self-employed it is a legal requirement for you to make an assessment of the health and safety risks arising out of your work. Here is what your assessment should focus on:

Inspect your premises and processes to identify health and safety risks. Be thorough in your assessment and include any potential liabilities by checking all common hazards such as obstructions.

Serious risks should be dealt with immediately. For example, loose or open wires should be removed, replaced or tidied to prevent harm.

Be aware of all potential liabilities. Be mindful about what risks could occur in future. If a glass breaks on the floor there should be procedures in place to limit risk to anyone who could potentially come into contact with the area around it.

Check all common hazards and ask employees if they are aware of any risks. Is there something wrong with machinery they are using or in the area that they work in? If so you need to know about it and take necessary action.

Evaluate the scale of each risk and everyone it could affect. Consider how immediate the threat is and how to acceptably control the risk. Where practicable eliminate risks altogether.

Check insurance arrangements and keep a written record of your risk assessment and safety precautions. This will help to demonstrate your compliance with the law, limit liability and keep track of health and safety factors and actions taken in your workplace. A good example of this is an accident report book.

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