Employers are legally responsible for managing health and safety in the workplace. It is their duty to do what they can to ensure the health, safety and welfare of employees and other people they do business with, including clients, customers and office visitors. Employers must protect their employees and others from harm by reducing and addressing risks and hazards that could potentially cause injury or health problems. This involves carrying out risk assessments within the workplace, providing information about risks and other health and safety issues to employees, and consulting with employees on health and safety.
Health and Safety Regulations in the Workplace
The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 is the main source of workplace and occupational health and safety laws. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) along with local authorities and other enforcement authorities are responsible for enforcing the legislation and related laws. Employers with more than five employees should have a health and safety policy in place that is based on relevant legislation. The policy should describe how you plan to manage health and safety. It should also include information on health and safety risks in your workplace and how employees and others can protect themselves from any hazards that could cause injury or health problems.
Office Health and Safety
Workers Health and Safety
Short Guide to Health and Safety Regulations
Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
Health and Safety Representatives
Health and Safety Risk Management and Assessments
Employers are responsible for managing health and safety in the workplace, including identifying and controlling risks. To do this, employers need to undertake a risk assessment. This is done by identifying what might cause harm to employees as well as other people that are impacted by the business, including visitors to the workplace. The risk assessment also identifies how employers will take reasonable steps to control risks and prevent harm. Businesses with five or more employees should have a written record of their findings. Employers may also want to appoint a health and safety representative. This person would be responsible for all workplace health and safety issues, including managing risks and communicating information to employees.
Five Steps to Risk Assessments
Example Risk Assessments and Policy Templates
Reporting Accidents or Injuries that Occur in the Workplace
If there is an injury or illness in the workplace, employers are responsible for ensuring that employees receive immediate attention. Since an accident or illness can occur at any time, first aid arrangements must be made by employers. This includes having a first aid box, appointing someone in charge of first aid arrangements, and providing employees with information on first aid arrangements.
Employers are legally required to report and keep a record of certain injuries, incidents and work-related disease. A RIDDOR report is required under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations, 2013 and must be submitted to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Deaths, accidents that result in a person being unable to work or be at work for seven consecutive days, and significant injuries must be recorded and reported. An accident that leaves an employee incapacitated for more than three consecutive days must be recorded.
Significant injuries include amputations, major fractures, eye injuries that could lead to permanent loss or reduction in sight, serious burns, serious crush injuries to the head or torso, loss of consciousness due to a head injury or asphyxia, and scalping injuries that require hospital treatment. Injuries from working in an enclosed space that led to hypothermia, heat-induced illness and required resuscitation and hospitalisation for more than 24 hours must also be recorded and reported.
Employers must also report certain occupational diseases when they are diagnosed, including occupational cancer, dermatitis and asthma. Reports must also be filed for workplace-related tendonitis or tenosynovitis in the hand or forearm, hard-arm vibration syndrome, carpal tunnel syndrome, and severe cramp in the hand or forearm. Any disease resulting from exposure to a carcinogen, mutagen or biological agent must also be reported.
An accident where a member of the public or non-worker requires medical treatment at a hospital due to an accident in the workplace must also be reported. Certain near-miss events and dangerous occurrences also require reporting. This includes a collapse, overturning or failure of load-bearing parts in lifts and lifting equipment. Accidental release of harmful substances and incidents where equipment meets overhead power lines must also be reported.
Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995.
Health and Safety Law Poster
All employers must display the health and safety law poster in a place that can be easily read by employees. Alternatively, employers may provide each employee with a copy of a pocket card with similar information. The poster is available from the Health and Safety Executive and includes health and safety laws, including the responsibilities of employers and employees.
Health and Safety Law Poster
Health and Safety Training Courses
Knowing how to work safely and how to minimise risks helps ensure a safe and healthy workplace. Employers must provide information and instructions to their employees, including training. Providing training for staff is a good way of promoting health and safety. Courses provide information on how to manage risks and what to do in case of an accident, including how to handle workplace injuries and illnesses. The type of training provided to employees will depend on the level of risk in the workplace. Most training should cover the hazards and risks that employees might face in the workplace, measures that are in place to deal with hazards and risks, and emergency procedures.
The British Safety Council provides training to help manage workplace risks. The Health and Safety Executive also provides a wealth of training materials and resources, including:
Health and Safety Training: A Brief Guide
Essential Reading: Health and Safety in the Workplace
For more information about workplace legislation and laws relevant to your industry, visit www.hse.gov.uk/legislation. The Health and Safety Executive produces the Guide to Health and Safety Regulation in Great Britain, Your Health, Your Safety: A Brief Guide for Workers, and other resources with helpful advice and guidance. For further information visit our Health and Safety Checklist.