Managing safety to avoid injury and ill health is achieved by looking at the tasks carried out in the business, recognising the risks involved in these tasks, and making sure measures are in place to protect the people who could be affected. This process is known as risk assessment. There is also a need for all employers, including the self-employed, to have a Safety Statement: which is a written document specifying how health and safety is managed within the business. It will contain information on the measures (identified by the risk assessment process) that are needed to protect against accidents and ill health 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 or 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 health and should seek help from a competent person as required.
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