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Is your Health and Safety up to Scratch? And How Regularly should you Review it for your Business

If you’re wondering this, you are not alone. A health and safety grey area that we are asked by business owners all the time is “how often should I review my health and safety procedures and policy?”

Speaking simply, the law says that your health and safety policy should be ‘up to date’. The law doesn’t state specific timelines for the following reasons;

  1. Some industries are going to need more intense health and safety procedures than others
  2. The law is changing all the time for different reasons

Whilst the lines are blurred for some business owners, the team of experts here at Sureteam have compiled their professional opinions and we have come up with the following points to help you, as a business owner, decide how and when you should review your health and safety procedures.

The basic bottom line; the law

The bottom line is that if you are caught breaching current health and safety laws, you can face going to court or receiving a fine, as well as putting your employees at risk. Saying “my health and safety policies were fine 6 months ago” as a defence in court will not go down well in front of a judge, so it is absolutely vital to keep your staff’s safety at the forefront of your mind.

Official guidance says that management of health and safety should be no different to the standard management needed for every other aspect of your company. This shows that even though you may not be officially updating on a monthly basis, you should still be thinking about safety procedures and whether a review is required at any given time.

At a minimum, you should be reviewing your current procedures at least once or twice a year. Good months to complete this task are April and October because they are the months when any changes in legislation are put in place.

What we recommend

It is tough to recommend a time period to a full range of industry experts who may be reading this blog so we have tried to filter it down between 2 categories – high/medium risk and low risk.

Whilst this is just a bit of food for thought, we want to stress that to get an accurate answer to this question, please give us a call on 01666 503686 and we will be able to advise you further.

High/Medium Risk – This could include jobs such as working on site, rope access, construction work and even restaurants.

These jobs require regular routine health and safety checks whether it’s a new one per new project, monthly or simply requires health and safety to be at the forefront of your mind at ALL times.

For example, a chef needs to constantly be following procedures when using knives or dealing with an allergy request. Also, a construction worker needs to complete an accurate check and wear the correct PPE before carrying out a dangerous task.

Low Risk – this could include jobs such as office workers, retail work and receptionists. In these jobs, health and safety should be checked as and when procedures change but annually at a minimum. See more below about what indicators could prompt a health and safety review.

Indicators that your H&S policy needs updating

Sometimes, particularly in low-risk jobs, it is difficult to see when you need an interim health and safety review between your annual one. Here are some reasons why you may need to reassess your policies midyear:

  1. You have five or more employees. When you grow to this size, it is a legal requirement to write down your health and safety procedures.
  2. Something changes. This could be if your business develops, grows, moves, gains new employees or purchases new equipment. All these factors will need to be assessed as part of your policy.
  3. Your employee reports something. If an accident occurs or an employee reports a potential risk, a risk assessment must take place to either remove the risk or avoid an accident from happening again.

How to keep on top of your health and safety

Running a business can pull you in lots of different directions meaning sometimes important things like health and safety slide to the bottom of the list. These are the ways we think you can keep on top of your health and safety to make sure you are reviewing it as and when needed.

  1. Have a designated health and safety manager within your team. This person will need to have the adequate training and skill set to manage the health and safety of the business.
  2. Write them down where you can. Documented procedures should be clear and precise. Reminders in suitable locations can work well, for example, a grab card in the event of a fire.
  3. Control the risks – rather than recording every single risk that could happen, put some control measures in place to avoid the accident from ever happening. For example, rather than writing down wires as a trip hazard, mount them to the wall/skirting board so they’re not on the floor.

Let us help you

If you’re not sure about your health and safety, need to train members of your team, would like a health and safety audit or ongoing support then we are here to help. We work with health and safety laws all day every day so you can be sure that you’ve got it covered when working alongside our team.

For more information, please give us a call on 01666 503686 or explore our website.