Everyone who works for you needs to know how to work safely and without risks to health. You must provide clear instructions, information and adequate training for your employees.
Don’t forget contractors and self-
Ask your employees what they think about training to make sure it’s relevant and effective. Keeping training records will help you to identify when refresher training might be needed.
The information and training you provide should be in a form that is easy to understand. Everyone working for you should know what they are expected to do.
Health and safety training should take place during working hours and it must not be paid for by employees. There are many external trainers who will be able to help you with your training needs but effective training can often be done ‘in house’.
For more advice, see HSE’s leaflet Health and safety training: What you need to know.
You must have first-
You are responsible for making sure that your employees receive immediate attention if they are taken ill or are injured at work. Accidents and illness can happen at any time and first aid can save lives and prevent minor injuries from becoming major ones.
Your arrangements will depend on the particular circumstances in your workplace and you need to assess what your first-
As a minimum, you must have:
You might decide that you need a first-
More detailed information can be found on our first aid pages and in our leaflet First aid at work: Your questions answered
Good preparation helps you to gain the commitment of your employees and their representatives, so that they feel involved and enthusiastic about tackling health and safety together. Our Worker involvement website shows you how.
Effective health and safety performance comes from the top; members of the board have both collective and individual responsibility for health and safety. Our Leadership site has guidance for all directors, governors, trustees, officers and their equivalents in the private, public and third sectors.
Corporate responsibility: See how good practice in health and safety contributes to your organisation's corporate responsibility.
Leadership guidance for all directors, governors, trustees, officers and their equivalents in the private, public and third sectors.
It applies to organisations of all sizes; small businesses and major hazard industries.
This list is designed to check your status as a leader on health and safety. See the resources section for advice and tools that may help you answer these questions.
Legal responsibilities of employers
Health and safety law states that organisations must:
Failure to comply with these requirements can have serious consequences – for both organisations and individuals. Sanctions include fines, imprisonment and disqualification.
See also the advice on the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007.
Legal liability of individual board members for health and safety failures
If a health and safety offence is committed with the consent or connivance of, or is attributable to any neglect on the part of, any director, manager, secretary or other similar officer of the organisation, then that person (as well as the organisation) can be prosecuted under section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
Recent case law has confirmed that directors cannot avoid a charge of neglect under section 37 by arranging their organisation’s business so as to leave them ignorant of circumstances which would trigger their obligation to address health and safety breaches.
Those found guilty are liable for fines and, in some cases, imprisonment. In addition, the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986, section 2(1), empowers the court to disqualify an individual convicted of an offence in connection with the management of a company. This includes health and safety offences. This power is exercised at the discretion of the court; it requires no additional investigation or evidence.
Individual directors are also potentially liable for other related offences, such as the common law offence of gross negligence manslaughter. Under the common law, gross negligence manslaughter is proved when individual officers of a company (directors or business owners) by their own grossly negligent behaviour cause death. This offence is punishable by a maximum of life imprisonment.
Note: equivalent legislation exists in Northern Ireland, ie article 34A of the Health and Safety at Work (Northern Ireland) Order 1978 and article 3(1) of the Company Directors Disqualification (Northern Ireland) Order 2002.
Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007
Under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 an offence will be committed where failings by an organisation's senior management are a substantial element in any gross breach of the duty of care owed to the organisation's employees or members of the public, which results in death. The maximum penalty is an unlimited fine and the court can additionally make a publicity order requiring the organisation to publish details of its conviction and fine.
In considering the liability of an organisation under the Act, a jury must consider any breaches of health and safety legislation and may have regard to any health and safety guidance. In addition to other health and safety guidance, this guidance could be a relevant consideration for a jury depending on the circumstances of the particular case.
Benefits of good health and safety
Addressing health and safety should not be seen as a regulatory burden: it offers significant opportunities. Benefits can include:
See Case studies: the benefits of successful leadership to see how organisations have gained benefits through health and safety leadership.
Costs of poor health and safety at work
HSE statistics reveal the human and financial cost of failing to address health and safety:
Organisations can incur further costs – such as uninsured losses and loss of reputation.
See Case studies: when leadership falls short to learn from the mistakes of other organisations.
Delivery depends on an effective management system to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of employees, customers and members of the public.
Organisations should aim to protect people by introducing management systems and practices that ensure risks are dealt with sensibly, responsibly and proportionately.
To take responsibility and 'ownership' of health and safety, members of the board must ensure that:
The board should consider the health and safety implications of introducing new processes, new working practices or new personnel, dedicating adequate resources to the task and seeking advice where necessary.
Boardroom decisions must be made in the context of the organisation’s health and safety policy; it is important to ‘design-
The law recognises the roles of both trade union-
* A competent person is someone who has sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities that allow them to assist the employer to meet those requirements.
Managing for health and safety is about:
Health and safety and successful business or organisation performance are complementary. Good leaders look after their businesses/organisations, and manage skilled workforces who have confidence in them.
As with all parts of your business/organisation practice, to manage health and safety you need to plan, deliver, check quality and take stock to see what you can improve.
Good health and safety management and successful business are complementary. You will already have a way of cutting down losses in the goods, services you provide or things you make. Properly applied these controls should also help you manage health and safety. You’ll want to do this so that you have well-
If you lose key people through poor health and safety, you put the products and work you supply to others at risk. The key is to get your workforce to recognise that managing health and safety is important and your priority value.
When your staff are well-
To involve your workforce you need to:
The public and workers expect HSE to take strong enforcement action. Failures can bring penalties of imprisonment or unlimited fines. HSE and local authorities increasingly publicise enforcement decisions and prosecutions. Adverse publicity will:
These are questions that an owner/manager should be asking to start/check that the business is managing for health and safety. The answers to them will give an indication about what the business needs to do next. Links show you the way to more information. This will lead to a list of actions that need to take place. Use the Risk Profiling information to put them into a priority order.
Managing for health and safety
This is the approach taken to prevent ill health and accidents. It is about the priority of health and safety in the business; it should be the no 1 value. You should consider it to be part of the way you normally operate the business, “the way things are done around here”. It can be a plan, do, check and act/learn approach, in larger businesses it’s sometimes a separate h/s management system. Whichever way, it will need the support of the people in the business.
Effective health and safety performance comes from the top. Your workers will expect to meet the standards you set for health and safety. You need to own and understand the key issues and take action accordingly.
Here’s all you need to know about the correct Health and Safety at work. Please click on what’s relevant to you or feel free to have a browse. You can even download this as a PDF below:
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