As a business, you’re responsible for health and safety regulations in your workplace. The regulations are designed to protect you, your employees, and any potential legal consequences that might occur if anybody is hurt. 

It’s a serious issue, so there are quite a lot of rules to remember, but it’ll be much easier with this health and safety checklist for small businesses.

We’ll cover these government recommended health and safety regulations:

  • Appoint a competent person.
  • Perform a risk assessment.
  • Make a health and safety policy.
  • Consult your employees.
  • Provide information and training.
  • Have the right workplace facilities.
  • First aid in the workplace.
  • Show a law poster.
  • Get insurance for your business.
  • Know the law.
  • Report accidents and illness.
  • Keep records.
  • COVID-19 health and safety.

Appoint a competent person

Choose a competent person in charge of health and safety. It’s their job to spot potential hazards and help your take measures to reduce their risk. 

They don’t need any kind of formal training or qualifications to be chosen. The competent person can be yourself, an employee, or somebody outside your business. 

It’s generally recommended that you choose yourself or an employee as a competent person because you’ll have a more accurate view of the workplace. 

Risk assessment

Risk assessment is a major part of risk prevention. And it’s up to you to find potential risks to help keep everybody safe. 

Under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, you’re legally required to:

  • Identify what might lead to injury or illness in your business.
  • Decide how likely injury or illness is and how serious it could be.
  • Take action to eliminate hazards or control risks.

Make a health and safety policy

Create a policy outlining your general approach to health and safety. It should explain how you plan to manage risks, including who is responsible for what in the case of an incident. 

If you have five or more employees, you need to put your policy in writing. And if the policy ever changes, you need to tell your employees immediately. 

Consult your employees

Few people will understand the risks of a particular workplace better than the employees themselves. After all, they’re the ones who’re there every day, making them a valuable resource when it comes to health and safety regulations. 

Have regular meetings with your employees and ask for their opinions on:

  • Health and safety and the work they do.
  • How risks are controlled.
  • The best ways of providing information and training.

Provide information and training

It’s up to you to make sure your employees know exactly what their health and safety duties are. And that they have the proper training to carry out those duties.

Make sure you don’t forget employees with special circumstances that might need additional training, such as:

  • New hires.
  • Young employees.
  • Health and safety representatives.
  • Employees changing roles.
  • Employees taking on additional roles. 

Have the right workplace facilities

You must have the necessary facilities that employees need daily and ensure a healthy working environment for everyone, including workers with disabilities.

Under UK law, you need to provide:

  • Welfare facilities – toilets, washbasins, drinking water, and places to rest and eat meals.
  • A healthy working environment – a clean workplace with a reasonable working temperature, good ventilation, suitable lighting, and enough space and seating.
  • A safe workplace – well-maintained equipment, without obstructions in floors and traffic routes, and windows that can be easily opened and cleaned.

First aid in the workplace

If an injury should happen during business operations, you need to make sure it’s addressed immediately and that people have the right equipment and training to do so.

By law, you must have:

  • A stocked first aid kit.
  • An appointed person or people to take charge of first-aid procedures.
  • Information for all employees about first-aid procedures.

Display the law poster

The health and safety law poster outlines British health and safety laws and lists what workers and their employers should do.

If you have employees, you need to do one of the following things:

  • Display the health and safety law poster where your workers can easily read it
  • Provide each worker with the equivalent health and safety law leaflet

You can download the poster, leaflets, or pocket cards here

Get insurance for your business

If you have employees, you’re legally required to buy employers’ liability insurance. 

When an employee gets ill or injured directly because of the work they do, they can claim compensation. Employers’ liability insurance will help you pay the compensation amount. 

Here are some other common insurance policies for small businesses:

You should be able to take out a bundle policy that includes a combination of the policies you need.

Know the law

As a business owner, it’s important to become familiar with The Health and Safety at Work Act,

The act explains the consequences of not protecting your employers from getting injured or ill from work. If that happens, the government can take the following actions:

  • A regulator such as the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) or local authority may take action against you under criminal law.
  • The person affected may make a claim for compensation against you under civil law.

Report accidents and illness

The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) state that you need to report workplace injuries, near-misses, and cases of work-related disease to HSE

Keep records

If you have over ten employees, you’re legally required to have an accident book and use it whenever a workplace accident happens. 

Keeping records like these will help you see patterns of injuries that’ll help you perform future risk assessments. It’s also useful when dealing with insurance companies. 

COVID-19 health and safety

COVID-19 health and safety regulations change fairly regularly, so it’s crucial that you stay updated with the latest information for your particular region of the UK. 

You can find the latest advice and guidelines about COVID-19 here

Keep your finances healthy with the Countingup app

Financial management can be stressful and time-consuming when you’re self-employed. That’s why thousands of business owners use the Countingup app to make their financial admin easier. 

Countingup is the business current account with built-in accounting software that allows you to manage all your financial data in one place. With features like automatic expense categorisation, invoicing on the go, receipt capture tools, tax estimates, and cash flow insights, you can confidently keep on top of your business finances wherever you are. 

You can also share your bookkeeping with your accountant instantly without worrying about duplication errors, data lags or inaccuracies. Seamless, simple, and straightforward! 

Find out more here.

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