What are the health and safety basics that every business should follow?

All businesses should have the basics in place for health and safety before considering employing any staff.  Here are some tips:

1. If you have five or more staff you need to produce a Policy Statement which outlines who the responsible person is, the arrangements for securing health & safety of workers. It should also confirm that staff have received adequate information, instruction, training and supervision, along with completion of suitable and sufficient Risk Assessments for all activities undertaken at work.

2. Under the Regulatory Fire Safety Order 2005 (RRFSO 2005) it is a requirement for businesses and commercial premises to complete Fire Risk Assessments of the area of buildings they occupy and ensure suitable means of detection, fire-fighting equipment and alarms are installed. It is also important to ensure that staff are trained to evacuate in the event of an emergency (which may not just be a fire).

3. The company must consider their first aid requirements.

4. It is a legal requirement for commercial premises to have their fixed wiring installation inspected and tested periodically by a competent and qualified electrician.

5. If you have any gas appliances such as cookers or boilers you must have them checked at least annually be a Gas Safe Contractor.

6. Employers need to ensure that all electrical equipment used at work is safe for staff to operate and one way to check the safety is to complete Portable Appliance Testing.

7. If your staff use computers it is likely they will need to complete a DSE risk assessment to ensure they are seated correctly with relevant adjustments made to reduce the risk of RSI Repetitive Strain Injury or WRULDs (Work Related Upper Limb Disorders) at work.

8. There are specific duties for an employer to ensure that appropriate assessments of tasks and work activities have been completed to both reduce the risk of injury to workers and be compliant with legislation, where possible mechanical handling aids such as a trolley should be provided.

9. Where lifting equipment is used, there are specific requirements under LOLER (The Lifting and Lowering Equipment Regulations) whereby equipment should be inspected and tested for equipment the lifts people, a hoist or a passenger lift for example, would need to be inspected every 6 months and Forklift every 12 months.

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