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Written by
on 11 April 2012


If you are an employer or work for yourself you must be aware that you are completely responsible for the health and safety in your business. In order to reduce the risks posed to you and your employees there are precautions you should follow and health and safety laws to ensure everyone stays safe from dangers.  Here are just four duties to follow and work on as an employer.

Place a Competent Person in Charge of Your Health and Safety

If you are an employer you need to make sure that you have appointed a competent person to deal with the health and safety duties. This person must be experienced and have the correct skills for the role.  You can choose more than one person for the role and it could be yourself, your workers or someone you bring in from outside your company.  If you do not have anyone in your workforce with the correct skills you could either get them trained or use the competent person services offered by health and safety consultants.

Create a Health and Safety Policy

Managing your health and safety through procedures and policies is a great way to keep everything under control. You need to write down and describe your health and safety with clear details concerning who is responsible for what, when they need to act and how they act. For businesses with more than five employees it is essential to have a written policy. You must follow what you have written and your employees must also be aware of the contents and follow it too. Reviewing your health and safety policy regularly is essential, especially if you bring in new machinery, additional staff, create new roles or introduce new methods of work.

Create a Workplace Risk Assessment

Workplace Risk assessments are used to help work around hazards in a safe and effective way. You can create risk assessments for jobs where hazards are involved and these should be created before work starts.  Identify your hazards and speak to employees to see if they are aware of any dangers you may have missed.  Go over the methods you currently use to prevent accidents and eliminate the hazards and try to find ways of solving any problems where no procedures are in place. Businesses should record their risk assessments even if they have fewer than five employees although it is not legally required.

Communication and Training

Talking to your employees about their concerns and experiences of health and safety in the workplace can help to improve health and safety. Listen to their concerns and try to come up with solutions to any hazards and problems you are made aware of. Likewise you should communicate your policies, risk assessments and what you expect from them.

Give your employees, contractors or self-employed people working for you clear guidelines and appropriate training on how to work without risks.  Provide information on the hazards and risks faced in their working environment and duties, the measures in place to deal with the risks and the emergency procedures they may need to follow. Employees should not pay for their own training and you should make sure the training is providing within their typical working hours. Health and safety services provide training for businesses that are unable to provide it themselves.

About the author

David Cant is a Director at Veritas Consulting. The SME’s favourite go-to consultant for health and safety know-how. Bucket loads of experience. Fluent in practical advice. Solutionist with a brain you can pick. You can find him across social media on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.