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Your Health and Safety responsibilities – A practical guide for managers

Posted on Friday, 08 July 2016, in Occupational Health

health and safety responsibilities

Whilst Health and Safety in the workplace might not be the sexiest of topics, as a manager or business owner, it is one of the most important to get right.  The costs of getting it wrong are high – you could be at risk of future litigation, have increased staff turnover, risk damaging your brand name and suffer reduced profitability.  Plus, do you really want the guilt of knowing that one of your employees has been hurt whilst ‘under your watch’?

All employers have a legal responsibility under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 to ensure the health safety and welfare at work of their employees. This applies to MENTAL and PHYSICAL health.

Here we’ll look at the main health and safety responsibilities for employers and employees:


Manager’s step by step guide to health and safety:

Do a risk assessment:

Carry out a really thorough risk assessment to determine what could harm your staff.  Don’t just think of physical risks; there are as many days lost to sickness for mental health reasons as physical causes.  Some industries are more stressful than others, so think about the environment you work in? 

Ask your employees what workplace risks they think exist.  Anonymous online surveys may encourage employees to give more honest answers.

Put together a plan:

Use the risk assessment to put in place anything needed to reduce the risks.  Training, special clothing, safety equipment, break out spaces to relax in or a counselling service could all be really helpful at cutting the risks of things going wrong.

Get the basics right:

Make sure there are adequate toilets, washing facilities, drinking water and first aid facilities.

Make Health and Safety someone’s job:

Have a named individual responsible for Health and Safety in the workplace and make sure other employees know who this is.  This person should attend regular health and safety training.

Consider a Health and Safety policy:

Whilst not strictly legal if your organisation has less than 5 employees, it is good practice, shouldn’t take too long and demonstrates your commitment to your staff’s health.

Know how to report incidents:

Report major injuries and fatalities at work to the Incident Contact Centre. Report other injuries, diseases and dangerous incidents online at www.hse.gov.uk.

Get insurance:

Make sure you are insured in case employees are hurt or made ill because of work.  Make sure the insurance document is displayed clearly.  These rules apply to contractors and anyone self-employed who comes to your place of work.


Managers aren’t the only ones with responsibilities  - employee’s have them too

1. Employee’s should attend and follow any health and safety training.

2. Employee’s need to take reasonable care of their own and other people’s health and safety.

3. All staff should co-operate with their employer on health and safety.

4. Everyone working in the business has a responsibility to tell someone (your employer, supervisor, or health and safety representative) if you think the work or inadequate precautions are putting anyone’s health and safety at serious risk.

safety solutions cycle

The law surrounding Health and Safety in the workplace can seem complicated and it is always worth getting expert advice if you aren’t sure about something.  The HSE has lots of resources that can help organisations understand their responsibilities more fully or you can talk to a member of our Clinical Partners Occupational Health team who will be able to offer training and advice to your organisation. 

For more information visit www.clinical-partners.co.uk/occupational-health or ring 0203 326 9160 and ask to speak to our Occupational Health team. 


Emilie Head

Emilie Head Business Development and Content Editor BA(Hons), ACMA, MBACP

Emilie has three main roles at Clinical Partners – managing our NHS Partnerships, developing the services our Clinicians offer and writing and editing web content.

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