Health and safety aren’t exactly attractive words, evoking visions of doctors with clipboards and heaps of paperwork. However, it is something that every business owner must consider because if it gets wrong, the consequences can be extremely expensive and long-term. There are enormous things for business owners to focus on, and understanding health law is among the most crucial ones.
Below is a complete guideline for every business owner to help them continue working without any legal dilemma.
What Particular Situations Should You Stay Alert Of?
Some people are additionally protected under the health law. You must take some additional steps while taking their demands into account. Initially, your health and safety arrangements, such as the fire system, individuals with disabilities, and think about how you will accommodate them during emergencies. For instance, you should consider whether your workplace has any step-free access in case of a fire emergency.
Industries associated with certain hazards like chemical engineering or construction or those using hazardous materials such as asbestos need to take extra measures to keep their employees safe.
There have been cases where employees blamed their companies for exposing them to asbestos and contracting mesothelioma (a rare form of cancer). Companies proved responsible for such reckless acts might pay a big amount for their mesothelioma treatment and other related expenses. Furthermore, it’s important to take a risk assessment while dealing with pregnant women to prevent exposing them or their expected child to unnecessary harm.
Businesses that involve young employees (under 18 years old) working on-site should consider special considerations—for instance, considering only those with some previous work experience.
Suppose you have a restaurant or catering business or any business that serves food. In that case, you must register with the local authorities’ environmental health service as a food provider. All these best practices will allow you to safely run your business and help you protect your workforce at all times.
Under health and safety law, each employer has a responsibility to ensure that every employee’s safety, welfare, and health are protected as long as it is reasonably practicable. Anyone who breaches this duty of care, be it the employer or the employee, would be subjected to a civil case or criminal prosecution. This health and safety act addresses these factors in general terms. The more specific and detailed requirements are explained in various other laws having the force of law approved by parliament.
The Workplace Regulations 1992
The workplace regulations explain common factors in workplace accidents such as workplace maintenance, ventilation system, indoor workplace temperature, lighting, room space and dimensions, cleaning and waste materials, and traffic routes and floors. There must be no holes, slopes, or slippery or uneven surfaces on the floor or along the traffic route. It should be equipped with a functional drainage system. Furthermore, the workplace regulations also encompass washing facilities, falls or falling objects, doors, escalators, and gates.
Your Responsibility as A Business Owner
All business owners at some point held responsible for the safety and health of people affected by their business. That involves your staff, each individual around the site, and anyone affected by services or products you sell, like your visitors, customers, and potentially other public members. It indicates you should take various measures to abide by the law, including making a health and safety at work policy and developing appropriate arrangements for your employee’s welfare. Also, conduct a risk assessment to identify potential health hazards in your workplace and make efforts to mitigate them. There are other health and safety guidelines that HSE provides for businesses ranging from small and medium to large-sized businesses. That contains everything you’ll need to know about risk assessments. In addition, you are required to have an employer’s liability insurance to abide by the law. The exceptions to this rule include businesses having no workforce or a family business where every employee is also a close relative.
Health And Safety Responsibilities of Employees
Health and overall safety are not one-sided jobs. Your workforce also must comply with a common law of duty of care. That indicates that they should practice reasonable care and skill in the relationship with their colleagues and employer. In addition, the health and safety law demands employees to take responsibility of care for their health and safety along with other workers at the site. That extends to abiding to allow their employer to complete a legal duty. Employees must never interfere with or impede anything offered in the interests of safety and health at the workplace. Employees who breach their legal duties under this health law may be accountable for paying a fine upon conviction. They may also face dismissal from their jobs if they fail to meet a contractual obligation to perform their task with skill and care. Assuming they were properly trained and informed about the repercussions of their acts.
A Health and Safety Policy for Your Business
Business owners who hire five or more employees must have a health and safety policy to avoid legal issues. This health and safety policy should be a clear, written document, usually a leaflet or anything similar highlighting the general approach to proper health and safety at work. The policy may also include concrete steps to fulfill it effectively. Every business owner is required to appoint professional, competent individuals to assist in implementing your health and safety policy efficiently. You can select that person from your existing staff or any consultant hired from an outside source. Remember that the duty still stays with you and the directors of your business when it’s about liability for safety breaches, so getting that step right is crucial for you.
Health law in business is as crucial as any other aspect of it. Every business owner must comply with that law to prevent damaging legal consequences. For the safety of your business workplace, employees, and the general public, you need to take some concrete steps. That will help your business run smoothly in the long term. Making your business site a better and safe place for your employees is an essential duty for you. Likewise, you must guide your employees to fulfill their duty of care. Developing a health and safety policy is necessary to ensure no one breaches their duty. If someone does so, they will face the consequences of breaching the health law.