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Free download: Health & Safety checklist for SMEs

Person completing Health & Safety checklist

Health & Safety does not have to be complicated. However, we understand that it can look like a daunting and confusing task from the outside, so that’s why we have created a straightforward Health & Safety checklist for SMEs. It's a great resource that employers and/or Health & Safety Managers can reference and use to help work towards compliance with current legislation. 

For most businesses, all that’s required is to conduct a series of straightforward, simple tasks.

Due to the variables that inevitably exist in each workplace, our list may not be definitive BUT - according to the HSE… 

… every employer with 5 or more staff MUST complete certain tasks, does your organisation complete these tasks?

Each task is explained in more detail further on in the document and we provide handy pointers on how you can check each task off your list. 

Our checklist considers: 

  • Providing the right training and information to staff 
  • Assessing and managing risks in your workplace 
  • First aid requirements 
  • Writing and updating policies 
  • Appointing a competent person
  • And more...

Download our Health & Safety checklist here

Information for Employers/Responsible Person

1. Appoint a competent person to help you meet your Health and Safety duties

This person must have or gain the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to manage Health and Safety. In smaller businesses it may be the owner or director or an experienced employee. You can even appoint an external consultant. What’s important is that someone has the overall responsibility.

2. Provide training and information

Training and instruction must be provided FREE and during work time. There is a wealth of Health & Safety legislation covering everything from food hygiene and fire awareness, through to manual handling and operating display screen equipment. The one thing all such legislation has in common is the need to train and instruct staff. You are free to choose the type of training you offer and can appoint an external training provider, or in some circumstances train employees yourself.

Some training is mandatory, such as Fire Awareness Training and DSE Training (for those who regularly use DSE). Other training can be mandatory depending on job role.

3. Write/Update a Health & Safety Policy for your business

If you have 5 or more employees you MUST have a written policy. This need not be complicated, but it’s crucial you do not delay the creation of this document and that you keep it up-to-date. This should be reviewed at least once a year and should be updated if necessary. 

4. Assess and manage the risks

Legislation does not require you to remove all risks, largely because that would be impossible. But you MUST think about what, in your particular business, could cause harm to your employees and/or customers. So you need to carry out an effective risk assessment which identifies the hazards and risks that exist, documents them and details what measures you can take to control them (some businesses will require multiple risk assessments depending on their activity and size). You’re almost certainly not going to be able to do this on a daily basis, but the law requires you to document this activity and to regularly update it – few workplaces stay the same.

5. Consult your employees

You have an obligation to talk to and listen to your employees about Health & Safety. Your employees must be allowed to raise concerns and are often best placed to understand the risks. In small businesses, you can consult them directly. Alternatively, and in larger businesses, you should allow them to nominate a Health & Safety representative (as an employer you cannot decide who the representative will be).

6. First Aid

Do you have an appointed person and enough first-aiders in your workplace? Have they had sufficient training? Do you have a suitably stocked first aid kit?

When it comes to the correct numbers there are no hard and fast rules and it will depend on your business. The HSE recommend referring to the tables in this document for help.

First-aiders should receive practical training (FAW and/or EFAW) every three years and it is strongly recommended that they take refresher training at least once a year.

You can find out what should be stocked in a first aid kit here. 

7. Display the Health & Safety law poster

If you employ anyone you must display this poster in a prominent position.

8. Be suitably insured

Almost every business must have insurance that covers employers’ liability. A company can be fined up to £2,500 for any single day for which they are without suitable insurance. The HSE enforces the law and inspectors can demand to see your insurance.

9. Fire Wardens

Every organisation needs designated fire wardens and they must receive sufficient training. How many fire wardens you need depends on the size of your building, the type of work carried out, and the risks posed. You should conduct a risk assessment to figure out if you work in a low, medium or high-risk building. You can find a rough guide here.

10. Provide the right workplace facilities

You must provide a range of items and facilities to ensure employee health and welfare. Among other things, these include toilets, hand-basins with soap, drinking water, a rest area, good ventilation, a reasonable working temperature, and well-maintained equipment.

11. DSE (Display Screen Equipment)

You’re legally required to provide all staff who regularly use Display Screen Equipment (including tablets and mobiles) with DSE Training. You need to consider the type of DSE you provide them with and ensure it’s suitable for the work they’re carrying out. This also includes staff who work from home.

12. And finally, keep up-to-date

You have an obligation to keep up to date with Health & Safety news and events in your industry.

NEED HELP? You can subscribe to various RSS feeds and we recommend you bookmark the HSE website. We post any significant news on our site, so it’s worth reading our blog. We also send out industry specific monthly newsletters, which you can subscribe to here. Our clients can rest assured in the knowledge that should best practice or legislation change, our courses will be amended immediately.

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