For a small-medium sized business owner, it can be quite daunting and confusing to understand what health and safety actions are required of you. If you’re the Director of your hospitality business, it’s your responsibility to make sure that your operation is compliant.
We’ve listed 9 things below which your business needs to ensure is in place, regardless of what type of hospitality business you are. Also, take the time to click here and read about how Directors use Pilla to ensure compliance in their teams.
1. Create a health and safety policy
This is a plan outlining how you’re going to manage health and safety in your business. The more complicated and large your operation, the more detailed your policy should be. Its key purposes are to let your staff, customers, suppliers, and anybody affected by your work know that you are committed to effective health and safety performance. It should clearly say who is responsible for what, when and how.
If your business employs fewer than five employees, your policy doesn’t need to be written down – but it must still exist. You have to show evidence of a plan.
2. Provide suitable workplace facilities
Your business must provide a safe and healthy workplace for everyone, including people with disabilities. This doesn’t have to be complicated, the basic things you need to consider are:
– Toilets and hand basins, with soap and towels or a hand-dryer
– Drinking water
– A place to store clothing (and somewhere to change if special clothing is worn for work)
– Somewhere to rest and eat meals.
– Good ventilation. A supply of fresh, clean air drawn from outside or a ventilation system
– A reasonable working temperature (usually at least 16°C, or 13°C for strenuous work, unless other laws require lower temperatures)
– Lighting suitable for the work being carried out
– Enough room space and suitable workstations and seating
– Clean workplace with appropriate waste containers.
– Properly maintain your premises and work equipment
– Keep floors and traffic routes free from obstruction
– Have windows that can be opened and also cleaned safely
– Make sure that any transparent (eg glass) doors or walls are protected or made of safety material.
3. Display The Health and Safety Law Poster
This is a fairly straightforward one, if you employ anyone, you must display the health and safety law poster, you can read more about the health and safety poster here. The poster must be displayed where your workers can easily see it. Alternatively you can choose to provide each of your workers with a copy of the equivalent pocket card.
4. Organise suitable insurance
For most businesses Employers Liability Insurance is mandatory. It protects employees by indemnifying them against your business should they become ill or sustain an injury as a result of the work they have done for you. The insurance will allow the employee to claim compensation from your business. Only a few businesses are not required to have employers’ liability insurance. If you have no employees or are a family business and all employees are closely related to you, you may not need it. 5. Appoint someone to help you with your duties.
5. Appoint a competent person
Having a competent person assist you fulfil your duties is a key step and a key decision. A competent person is someone with the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to manage health and safety for your organisation. This doesn’t necessarily have to be an additional expense for you. If you run a low-risk business, health and safety is something you can manage yourself, you can assign one of your employees to this role. However, if you are not confident of your ability to manage all health and safety in-house, or if you are a higher-risk business, you may need some external help or advice from an external consultant.
6. Manage and control risks
Controlling and where possible reducing the risks in your business is a huge part of your health and safety plan and performance. This is done through regular risk assessment. For most businesses, the process should be fairly straightforward. It shouldn’t be about creating large amounts of extra work or documentation, it is instead about taking a sensible, proportional approach to controlling your business-specific risks. A simple structure for carrying out a risk assessment would look like this:
– Think about what might cause harm to people (these are called hazards)
– Decide who might be harmed by these hazards and how
– Evaluate whether you are currently taking reasonable steps to prevent that harm. Is there more you could do?
– Record your significant findings, but there is no need to go overboard and record every single small risk. Keep it simple and focused.
– Review your risk assessment as necessary.
The law does not expect you to remove all risks, but to protect people by putting in place measures to control those risks, so far as reasonably practicable. Your risk assessment need only include what you could reasonably be expected to know – you are not expected to anticipate unforeseeable risks. Like the health and safety policy, if you have fewer than five employees you don’t have to write anything down. Read some of the most common risks in hospitality.
7. Consult your employees
It’s very important, and also mandatory that you consult your employees on health and safety. It is after-all, primarily to protect them that all this is being done. This doesn’t have to be over-complicated, if you run a simple small business it’s usually a case of having a genuine conversation with your employees. Speak to them about the health and safety work they do, how risks are/should be controlled and how training and information is/should be shared.
You can either consult your employees yourself directly or through a representative such as a trade union. What’s more important is remembering that the conversation is two-way. The process should allow employees to raise concerns and influence decisions on the management of health and safety. Your employees are often the best people to understand risks in the workplace and involving them in making decisions shows them that you take their health and safety seriously. 8. Provide training and information
8. Provide training, information, information and supervision
All of your employees and everybody else who works for you needs to know how to work safely. You must provide clear instructions, information, and adequate training, for your employees. This will change depending on the person, job, environment etc and it’s important you put thought into this.
Consider how much and what type of training is necessary. A proportionate approach is needed, low-risk businesses with experienced employees will have different training requirements to a high-risk business with new employees. The high-risk business will need more detailed, more regular and more through training. Don’t forget contractors and self-employed people who may be working for you and make sure everyone has the right level of information on:
– Hazards and risks they may face
– Measures in place to deal with those hazards and risks,
– How to follow any emergency procedures.
Keep accurate records of your training so you can improve your training as you go along and ensure everybody is receiving the right amount. The information and training you provide should be in a form that is easy to understand so you don’t have to go into too much detail about every topic, some training may be 5 minutes long and provided at the beginning of the shift. Health and safety training should take place during working hours and it must not be paid for by employees.
9. Provide first aid arrangements
Effective first aid can make the difference between life and death and your business must make arrangements for it. You must make sure that your employees receive immediate attention if they are taken ill or are injured at work. Your arrangements will depend on the particular circumstances in your workplace and you need to assess what your first-aid needs are.
The simplest and most reliable way to do this is to train your own staff as first aiders. When deciding how many staff members to get first aid trained consider that if you are taking this approach, you always need to have a first aider trained on site , taking into account shifts, holidays and sick days.
However you don’t have to train you own staff. if you’re a small operation or maybe a coffee concession in an office block for example, you could agree that your landlord provides the first aid arrangements. You need to be really careful when taking this approach because anytime you rely on an external party, you are more at risk – the responsibility to provide first aid always legally sits with you, regardless of the agreement you have with someone else.
As a minimum your arrangements should include:
– A suitably stocked first-aid box
– An appointed person to take charge of first-aid arrangements
– Information for all employees giving details of first-aid arrangements
The law also says that you must record certain types of injuries and illness, incidents and cases of work-related disease. Keeping accurate records will help you to identify patterns of accidents and injuries, and will help when completing your risk assessment. Your insurance company may also want to see your records if there is a work-related claim.