Regardless of a company’s size, they are legally obliged to follow the Health and Safety at Work Act. It doesn’t matter if you have 5 or 5000 employees. Health and safety for small businesses can be overwhelming but nevertheless it needs to be taken care of and taken care of correctly according to the law. This is why we have created a little help sheet for you.
As a business owner, you hold responsibility for the health and safety of everyone affected by your business. This includes staff, but also anyone who is on or around your premises and anyone affected by goods or services you sell. For example, visitors, consumers and members of the public.
For small businesses and start-ups, a great place to begin is having a Health and Safety at work policy in your company handbook that is accessible for all employees. All employers employing five or more employees must also have a written health and safety policy, which must be brought to the notice of all employees. If your staff don’t know about it, what good is it?
You should also make suitable arrangements in regard to employee welfare. For example, ensure there is suitable ventilation on particularly hot days.
Health and safety in small businesses also means you will need to complete a variety of risk assessments depending on your company. Some common ones include manual handling, working at height or lone worker.
You must also have employers’ liability insurance in order to comply with the law and health and safety requirements. The exceptions to this include businesses with no employees or a family business where all of your employees are also close relatives.
As an employer, you must display at least one copy of the Health and Safety Law: What You Need to Know posters.
H&S Acts to comply with:
As a small business owner or a start-up, you may not be aware of some of the Acts that you need to comply with to meet health and safety requirements. To name just a few:
- The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1992
The management regulations require every employer to make a suitable and sufficient assessment to which they are exposed while at work.
- The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992
These regulations address common factors in workplace accidents such as the maintenance of the workplace, ventilation, the temperature of indoor workplaces, lighting, cleaning and waste materials, room dimensions and space, and the condition of floors and traffic routes.
- The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992
The regulations specify that so far as is reasonably practicable, each employer must avoid the need for his employees to undertake any manual handling operations at work which involve a risk of their being injured. Where it is not reasonably practicable to avoid the need for manual handling, a suitable risk assessment must be carried out of all manual handling operations.
- The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998
These specify that work equipment must be suitable, maintained in an efficient state, in inefficient working order and in good repair, that proper information, instructions and training are provided to employees, and that there is protection against specified risks to health and safety.
- The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992
These regulations state that every employer shall ensure that suitable personal protective equipment is provided to employees who may be exposed to risk to their health and safety while at work.
Certain groups of people
There are certain groups of people that any company but especially a small and start-up company should be aware of.
- People with disabilities – these need to be taken into account when creating and Health and Safety policy. Escape routes when there is a fire will also need to accommodate those with a disability.
- Pregnant women – a pregnancy risk assessment will need to be completed to avoid the employee or their child from any unnecessary danger.
- Young people – those under 18 will have to have a young person’s risk assessment completed on them.
Health and Safety Risk assessments
Risk assessments, as mentioned, are a must for health and safety in small businesses:
Identify the hazard: What could cause you harm (e.g., manual handling, vehicles, machinery, chemicals).
Determine the risk level: What is the likelihood of getting injured and how severe could the injury be.
Control measures: What can you put in place to minimise injury (e.g., a pushing trolley for heavy goods, traffic management, machinery maintenance, fume cupboards).
How Wurkplace can help
We here at Wurkplace have years of specialise experience in health and safety in small businesses. We can offer H&S advice and updates, we can also complete an annual H&S audit and set actions for you, we offer fire risk assessments, and we can even come in and do your risk assessments for you! Perfect for a smaller business who needs to be compliant but just doesn’t have the time or resources. We also offer online or onsite training on a variety of different H&S aspects.
Currently practising all the aspects of Human Resources including employee rights, discrimination, how to manage grievances and disciplinaries.