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FAQs

1. Do I need a Health & Safety Policy?
By law (Health and Safety at Work, etc Act 1974 section 2(3)) if you employ five or more people you must have a written health and safety policy.
This contains your statement of general policy on health and safety at work and the organisation and arrangements in place for putting that policy into practice.
The policy statement should be reviewed and possibly revised in the light of experience, or because of operational or organisational changes. It is useful to review the policy regularly (e.g. annually).
2. How do I complete a Risk Assessment?
Risk assessment is not a difficult process; there are five key steps.

Step 1. Look for Hazards (Something with the potential to cause harm)
Look only for hazards which you could reasonable expect to result in significant harm in your workplace. Ask your employees or their representatives what they think.

Step 2. Decide who might be harmed
There is no need to list individuals by name – just think about groups of people doing similar work or who may be affected, including members of the public and others sharing your workplace.

Step 3. Eliminate or minimise the risk
Either remove the risk or control it so that it is unlikely to cause harm. Is there:
  • Adequate information, instruction and training?
  • Adequate systems and procedures?
  • Guarding?
  • Personal Protective Equipment?
Where the risk is not adequately controlled then indicate in the ACTION PLAN what more needs to be done.

Step 4. Record your findings
If you have 5 or more employees you must record the significant findings of your assessments and communicate your findings to your staff. Keep written records for future use and auditing purposes.

Step 5. Review and revise
Each risk assessment should have a revision date placed upon it, depending upon the nature of the assessment, this could be a month or on a yearly basis.
3. Do the new Work at Height Regulations 2005 ban the use of ladders?
The Work at Height Regulations 2005 do not ban ladders.
They require that ladders should only be considered where a risk assessment has shown that the use of other more suitable work equipment is not appropriate because of the low risk, and short duration of the task or considerations of where the work is located.
HSE accepts the practicalities of the use of ladders for work at height, and the fact that they are commonly used in a wide variety of situations. Ladders are used in almost all employment sectors, sometimes for purposes other than those for which they were designed.
4. Is there a maximum weight a person can lift during their work?
The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 (as amended) set no specific requirements such as weight limits.
The ergonomic approach shows clearly that such requirements are based on too simple a view of the problem and may lead to incorrect conclusions. Instead, an ergonomic assessment based on a range of relevant factors is used to determine the risk of injury and point the way to remedial action.
5. What are the reporting requirements under RIDDOR?
As of 6 April 2012, RIDDOR’s over-three-day injury reporting requirement has changed. The trigger point has increased from over three days’ to over seven days’ incapacitation (not counting the day on which the accident happened and includes weekends).
Incapacitation means that the worker is absent or is unable to do work that they would reasonably be expected to do as part of their normal work.
You must still keep a record of over-three-day injuries but if you have an accident book, this is sufficient.
6. Can a person be left alone at their place of work?
There are no absolute restrictions on working alone; it will depend on the findings of a risk assessment.
There are two main pieces of legislation that will apply:
The Health and Safety at Work, etc Act 1974: Section 2 sets out a duty of care on employers to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their employees whilst they are at work.
The Management of Health and Safety at work Regulations 1999: Regulation 3 states that every employer shall make a suitable and sufficient assessment of -
• the risks to the health and safety of his employees to which they are exposed whilst they are at work; and
• the risks to the health and safety of persons not in his employment arising out of or in connection with the conduct by him of his undertaking.
7. What is the law poster / the law leaflet?
Employers have a legal duty under the Health and Safety Information for Employees Regulations (HSIER) to display the approved poster in a prominent position in each workplace or to provide each worker with a copy of the approved leaflet that outlines British health and safety law.
The 2009 poster replaces the version which was published in April 1999. As well as a download, the 2009 leaflet is available in a more convenient format as a pocket card and replaces the leaflet published in April 1999.
See 'Useful Links' for a link to the poster.
8. Do employers have to provide personal protective equipment (PPE)?
The relevant regulations are the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992.
Regulation 4 states:
Every employer shall ensure that suitable personal protective equipment is provided to his employees who may be exposed to a risk to their health or safety while at work except where and to the extent that such risk has been adequately controlled by other means which are equally or more effective.
The accompanying guidance states:
Employers should, therefore, provide appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and training in its usage to their employees wherever there is a risk to health and safety that cannot be adequately controlled by other means.
In order to provide PPE for their employees, employers must do more than simply have the equipment on the premises. The employees must have the equipment readily available, or at the very least have clear instructions on where they can obtain it.
By virtue of Section 9 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, no charge can be made to the worker for the provision of PPE which is used only at work. Section 9 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 states: "No employer shall levy or permit to be levied on any employee of his any charge in respect of anything done or provided in pursuance of any specific requirement of the relevant statutory provisions". Section 9 applies to these Regulations because they impose a 'specific requirement' - i.e. to provide PPE.
9. What is Corporate Manslaughter and how might it affect me?
The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 came into force on
6 April 2008 and is called corporate manslaughter in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and corporate homicide in Scotland.
There aren't any new obligations or duties under the act but it is specifically linked to existing health and safety legislation.

Will directors, board members or other individuals be prosecuted?
The offence is concerned with corporate liability and does not apply to directors or other individuals who have a senior role in the company or organisation. However, existing health and safety offences and gross negligence manslaughter will continue to apply to individuals. Prosecutions against individuals will continue to be taken where there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest to do so.
Additional information can be found on the HSE website.
10. Do I need a fire certificate or a fire risk assessment?
You no longer need a fire certificate.
Changes to legislation (The Regulatory Reform (Fire) Safety Order 2005) repealed The Fire Precautions Act 1971 and The Fire Precautions (Workplace) (Amendment) Regulations 1999, meant that fire certificates are no longer issued and existing fire certificates are no longer valid.
However, you do need a Fire Risk Asessment as fire safety is now the sole responsibility of the employer, manager or occupier.
Your Fire Risk Assessment will advise what action should be taken to either eliminate, or if not possible, reduce the risks relating to any fire hazards, as far as possible.

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions about Health and Safety Risk Assessments, Work at Height Regulations, RIDDOR, PPE and general Health and Safety Questions.

If you would like any other areas of Health & Safety Policy covered then please let us know.




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