Health & Safety in the Workplace

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In the present climate of cost cutting and tighter budget controls it is very easy to ignore health and safety regulations. Employers who ignore the regulations do so at their peril. Employees also have an obligation to ensure they do everything practical to safeguard their own health and safety and those around them.

Risk Assessments

Employers are now responsible for providing their own fire risk assessments along with other assessments for office safety, home-working and VDU assessments.

It is important that a “competent person” carries out these risk assessments and then liaises with the employer to ensure any hazards are dealt with promptly. The risk assessments should be available for everyone to access.

The assessments should be reviewed on an annual basis unless an accident or incident occurs.

Risk assessments for pregnant employees should take place at regular intervals in order to assess the needs at different stages throughout the pregnancy.

Corporate Manslaughter Act

Directors and Managers of companies can now be held personally responsible in the event of a serious injury or death of an employee. There are severe fines and in some cases a custodial sentence may be given.

Employers Liability Insurance Certificate

Employers are no longer required to display their certificate in the office. A copy of the certificate should be available electronically, ie on the company intranet. The Employer should retain all certificates for a period of 40 years.

Eye Tests for Employees

The employer is obliged to pay for a basic eye test for every VDU user annually. Should an employee require glasses for their work, the employer has an obligation to contribute towards the cost.

Contractors

If you employ independent contractors such as cleaners it is important that they follow health and safety procedures. Cleaners should ensure their cleaning products are locked away at all times. They should also produce a copy of the COSHH (control of substances hazardous to health) data sheets for each product on site. These data sheets should be accessible to all employees. In the event of an accident you should refer to the specified sheet which will detail the appropriate medical action required to minimise injury.

Remember, ignoring Health and Safety could be potentially damaging to your reputation and to your cashflow.


Wendy Lock
20 May 2009
 


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About Throgmorton:
Throgmorton is one of the leading companies specialising in the provision of financial and administrative outsourcing in the UK SME financial services sector.

The information in this notice is intended for general guidance only. Throgmorton does not accept any responsibility for losses incurred to any person acting or refraining to act as a result of the information in this notice. Advice should be taken in the context of specific circumstances.