Managing safety is basically achieved by looking at the tasks carried out in the business and recognising the risks involved in these tasks. This process is known as risk assessment. There is also a need to have a Safety Statement - which is a written outline of what solutions are needed to prevent harm. The Safety Statement contains the control measures needed to minimise risk in the workplace, as well as the names of those responsible for putting them into practice.
In most small businesses where the risk to workers is relatively low, specialist health and safety qualifications are not required to undertake a risk assessment. It may just require a responsible and competent business owner/manager who is aware of the possible risks and has put practical steps in place to minimise those risks.
Employees can provide valuable input to the process due to their experience and knowledge, which can be used when deciding on the precautions that need to be taken. Precautions are probably already in place, so the process may now be checking if these are sufficient and if further steps should be taken to protect people.
Low-risk smaller businesses will find it straightforward to complete the risk assessments and help to make their workplaces safer. However other businesses and particularly those working in high-risk sectors may need more resources and competency to manage safety and should seek help from a competent person as required.
Guidance on carrying out a Risk Assessment
Guidance on preparing a Safety Statement
Find out about BeSMART - easy to use, online tool for generation of your risk assessments and safety statement