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Health & safety at work

It is the legal responsibility of businesses to consider the health and safety of their workplace(s) for employees and visitors, which includes looking after their general welfare, minimising the risks of accidents, illness and injuries. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is the government appointed body that enforces health and safety legislation, along with the local authorities.

What is the Health and Safety at Work Act?

The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974  is the legal framework for businesses managing workplace health and safety across the UK. Certain high risk industries, e.g. construction or chemical manufacturing, will also be subject to additional specific legislation for maintaining a safe workplace.

Health and safety regulations apply to every business, regardless of what they do, and part of the challenge for any company is to determine exactly what does health and safety mean for them and their specific circumstances?

 

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What is a health and safety policy?

A health and safety policy is a legal requirement for every business. Companies that employ at least five people must have their policy written down by law, but this is best practice for even very small businesses as it can help protect the company’s position in the event of an incident or claim.

The health and safety policy should cover all aspects of the business, whether they have one site or many, wherever employees work and whenever there is any contact with visitors or members of the public. This will generally include:

  • The aims and commitment of the business in regard to health and safety in the workplace
  • Naming the individuals who are responsible for specific aspects and actions in regard to health and safety management
  • The practical arrangements of how the aims of the policy are to be achieved e.g. risk assessments, staff training, safety signage, or specific procedures that relate to your business activities

If you would like some expert assistance with your health and safety policy and making sure that your company position on all aspects of the legislation is comprehensively covered, we can help. Call us on 0161 696 6250.

What is health and safety legislation enforcement?

The enforcement of the relevant health and safety legislation for your business will usually fall to either the HSE or your local authority, depending on the nature of what you do. If there is a reportable accident or incident at your workplace, or concerns are raised by employees, visitors or someone else, you may receive a visit from the authorities. If the potential breach of health and safety law is considered serious, your business may be subject to a HSE investigation, and any enforcement action that follows as a result of this.

If you are facing a health and safety investigation or want some expert advice about your current health and safety policy, we can offer specialist support to businesses across the country. Get in touch with our health and safety team by calling 0161 696 6250.

Why might you need legal support with health and safety?

It is vital for any business to ensure they understand what health and safety in the workplace means for them and their staff and visitors, to ensure they get their policy right, protect people and minimise the risks to their business. Those companies who fail to do so are more likely to be prosecuted if something goes wrong, and are more likely to receive higher fines as a consequence. Directors can face custodial sentences in some cases.

As an experienced firm of health and safety and regulatory solicitors, we have an extensive understanding what is required from businesses to protect themselves and their staff and visitors in regard to health and safety law. Call us on 0161 696 6250 to find out more.

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