Health and Safety Laws for Small Businesses

If you have a start-up business and are looking for offices to rent in Suffolk, one of many things you will have to think about are the various Health and Safety regulations that your company must comply with.

The Gattinetts offers high-quality offices to let in the Suffolk village of East Bergholt. These range from workstations to full office suites with meeting rooms and/or managers’ offices, as well as additional offices to accommodate separate departments. However, no matter how small or large your business, there are certain health and safety laws that you need to follow, and we shall spotlight some of these below.

One point of note is that whatever your company, in order to fully keep up to date with the latest regulations, it is important to check the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website which will keep you informed of any new changes.

Health and Safety Laws for Your Business

If you have already started your search for suitable offices to let, you will already know that as an employer you have a legal duty to protect your workforce, and visitors, from risk of harm and injury. There are certain steps you can take and we will outline these in brief below:

Put Someone in Charge of Health and Safety – The first action to take is to appoint someone to help you with health and safety tasks. If you are a small company, you might want to manage this responsibility yourself, or it could be that you will want to appoint someone else within your organisation.

Compile a Health and Safety Policy – The next step is to draw up a health and safety policy which you and your staff can refer to. If you have a workforce of five or more, this policy needs to be written down by law. To help you do this, there are templates available for you to download free from the Health and Safety Executive website.

In general, the policy should include the name, or names, of the people in charge of various aspects of health and safety in your office, such as those with the responsibility of checking equipment, first aid, staff training, and emergency procedures. It should also detail where to find the first aid box and accident book, and also pinpoint the location of the health and safety at Work poster.

Conduct a Thorough Risk Assessment – As an employer it is vital to appoint someone to carry out regular risk assessments to prevent any injuries. This involves identifying any potential hazards and putting measures in place to eliminate these risks, or at least to keep them under control.

Although it is important to keep records of your risk assessments, you don’t have to record your findings if you have a workforce of fewer than five employees.  If you need guidance on how to carry out a risk assessment, there are various examples of these that you can download free of charge from the Health and Safety Executive website.

Some of the potential risks you should consider in a small office environment is to make sure that doorways and passageways are kept free of obstruction. For example, ensure that cables and paperwork are tidied away (so they don’t become a tripping hazard), and make sure that any spilled liquid (in the kitchen for instance) is cleared up immediately, so no one slips on it.

Keep Your Workforce Informed – Talk to your employees about health and safety so they are kept fully informed on how to minimise risks in the workplace. It is vital that you consult your workforce on any health and safety decisions you make as they might be able to raise issues with you that you haven’t thought of already.

All your employees should have access to the right information, and be provided with the necessary training so they are kept fully aware of company policy and remain up to date with any new changes.

First Aid and Accidents – It is vital to keep a written record of any accidents on company premises and to appoint a person in charge if there are any incidents in the workplace. You might want to have a first aider in the office, or at the very least you should have well-stocked first aid box, and also appoint a person in charge of first-aid arrangements so people know who to turn to.

If there are any work-related accidents, these must be recorded in an accident book which is fully accessible.

Insurance Policy – Most businesses require an employer’s liability insurance, and this is beneficial to you and your company as it will cover the cost of compensation if an employee falls ill or is injured in the workplace.

Other Things You Need to Know

There are certain facilities you need to provide for the sake of your employee’s hygiene and comfort. All employees should have access to toilets and hand basins, clean drinking water, and somewhere to rest and eat.

About The Gattinetts Business Centre

The Gattinetts Business Centre provides a wide range of offices to let in Suffolk, as well as secured storage space and industrial units and workshops for rent. Our location in East Bergholt, on the Suffolk/Essex border, means we are ideal for businesses in Ipswich, Colchester, Hadleigh, Manningtree and Dedham and the surrounding area who may be thinking of a move.

Just click on the link above for more information and to find out about our current office availability. If we have no vacancies we can always put you on our waiting list.