How do I comply with health and safety legislation?
What is included in 'Health and Safety'?
Hi, today’s top tip is the four of hearts. It’s health and safety, and we’re still talking about employee relations here. So health and Safety is:
A requirement from day one, but often thought to only apply once you employ five members of staff, the point at which, actually, documentation is required. All businesses require risk assessments but fire warden training, first aider training, and manual handling may also be relevant depending on the nature of your business. All employees have a responsibility for health and safety, but the business owner needs to ensure that the environment in which staff are working is physically and mentally safe. Provisions around working hours and breaks also fall under health and safety regulations.
Now, the working time directive is what governs the number of shifts people can work, the average number of hours people can work in a rolling 17 week period, the length between shifts, the break periods between shifts. All of that is governed by the working time directives and if someone were to take a claim, it would actually be taken under health and safety regulations.
Different to that is the duty of care that an employer must show to their employees, and that is being used a lot nowadays under mental health and well-being at work because employers have a duty of care to ensure not only a physically safe environment in which their staff should be working, no ceiling falling down, no water running through the offices, that sort of thing, but also the mental environment. No bullying, no harassment, working and being expected to achieve what is reasonable in a set period of time.
So, health and safety in the workplace, I know it’s a really scary topic for most employers it doesn’t need to be, but actually it is something that you need to consider even if you only have one or two members of staff working for you.
The Interviewer's Toolkit
For more assistance with writing job descriptions and recruitment, check out our interviewer’s toolkit.