Do I really need a written Health and Safety Policy?

By law, any person, business or undertaking that employs five or more people must have a written Health and Safety Policy.

How should I do a Risk Assessment?

There is no right or wrong way. Simply list hazards in your work, whether due to machinery, electricity, hazardous substances, etc and decide if they are 'significant'. If they are significant, appropriate control measures must be implemented, and anyone affected must be told. You are not required to assess risks that are not significant.

What about insurance?

If you employ people, you must have insurance to cover you against any claims from your employees as a result of injury or ill health. It is advisable to have additional insurance to cover injury or loss to other people. Insurance will not cover a fine imposed as a result of a breach of law.

What should I do about first aid and emergencies?

It is good practice to have first aid kits immediately available, and some thought should be given to first aid training. Emergency action may need to be planned, for instance where work is undertaken in a remote area.

Do I have any responsibility for fire precautions?

If you are working in someone else's premises, you must make sure that you know what to do in the event of a fire. If your work entails the use of gas torches for stripping paint, you must take precautions. For instance, provide fire extinguishers and arrange for the isolation of smoke detectors in consultation with occupiers.

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