Chartered Certified Accountants
and Business Advisers
We provide an overview of Health and Safety and highlight some practical tips and processes on how your business can remain (or become!) compliant. If you are an employer in the London area we, at Sloane & Co LLP, can provide you with assistance or any additional information required.
It is very likely that owners and managers of many smaller businesses are not aware of just how demanding health and safety regulations can be.
We provide an overview of these below and highlight some practical tips and processes on how your business can remain (or become!) compliant.
The main statutes are:
There are many other regulations relating to specific areas of health and safety, for example, manual handling, safety signs, employment of children, display screen equipment, control of substances hazardous to health, reporting of incidents, control of noise and first aid. There are also approved codes of practice (ACOPS) which provide practical advice on compliance and have special legal status.
A business with at least five employees must have all of the following in place to avoid problems with a health and safety inspector:
If inspectors arrive from either the Health and Safety Executive (the HSE is responsible for factories, farms and building sites) or the local authority (responsible for offices, shops, hotels and catering) and find a business in breach of health and safety regulations there are a number of types of enforcement action they can take, in increasing order of severity, as follows:
At the same time employees may take civil actions against their employer if they suffer injury or illness and the employer has breached the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.
In addition to avoiding legal sanction, statistics in 2014/15 show:
Accidents and ill health can be very damaging to business because, in addition to personal injury claims and the direct costs, productivity can be severely compromised. The less visible costs are many and varied and include increased overtime working and temporary labour, stress and more staff absence, production delays, repairs to equipment, costs of management time, customer dissatisfaction and loss.
These are compelling reasons why it makes sense to manage health and safety proactively.
The HSE has produced ‘Successful health and safety management’ (HSG65) which is an excellent guide on how to plan for and audit health and safety. It suggests a five-step process as set out below.
Set your policy. This demonstrates to staff that you take health and safety issues seriously, have identified the risks associated within your business, have assessed those risks and will continue to eliminate or control them.
Organise your staff. The effectiveness of your policy depends upon the involvement and commitment of your staff.
Plan and set standards. This involves setting health and safety objectives, identifying hazards, assessing risks and implementing standards of performance.
Measure your performance. This is about looking at whether your assessments are showing an improvement or the same issues are repeating themselves. Regular inspections and checks should be made to ensure your standards are being met.
Learn from experience. If things have gone wrong, this is about reviewing how effective your procedures are and then making changes to improve the effectiveness of these policies and procedures.
The following are some practical actions you could and should be taking today:
Download a health and safety checklist here.
Health and safety is an important, if sometimes neglected, area. To help you meet your responsibilities we have provided a simple checklist that you may wish to complete to identify areas within your business that need attention.
If you are an employer in the London area please contact us at Sloane & Co LLP if you would like any additional information.