Q: “What Acts apply to me or my premises, and do I comply with them? What do I need to do, and what don’t I have to worry about?”
A: The primary act is the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. This applies to all work places and activities with only a few special exceptions. Under this are many other regulations such as the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations, Manual Handling, Noise, Vibration, Lead and Asbestos Regulations etc. But you don’t have to worry, we can look at your business, identify for you what applies and what doesn't, and after a straightforward audit of your current situation can give you a clear indication of how well you comply at the moment, and/or what needs to be done to improve matters.
Q: “It'll cost a packet. Budgets are tight, how can we afford it?”
A: Ensuring that you comply with the legal requirements costs a lot less than you might think, we work with numerous clients and budgets are always a concern. We can accurately quote you in advance what our costs will be and we work with all our clients to ensure that their budgetary considerations are always met. You also need to ask yourself if you can afford not to protect your company and your people, the costs of getting it wrong are usually far greater.
Q: “But won’t our insurance cover us?”
A: The reality is that most costs arising out of an accident at work are not covered by
insurance, it has been calculated that for every £ 1.00 in insured costs, there are between £5.00 to £50.00 in uninsured costs for each incident, and these have to be met out of the employer's own funds.
Q: Do I need a health and safety policy, and if so, what format should it take? What should it contain? Does it need any special wording or clauses?
A: If you have more than 4 employees you must have a written health and safety policy by law. It can be in any format and there are certain subjects it must address, but it shouldn't be “War and Peace” and there are certainly some things you shouldn't put in it. We can tailor one to your exact needs, keep it short, to the point, understandable and in clear simple English so it’s easy for anyone to read. Generally no more than 20 – 25 pages, much larger than that and no-one will read it and it wouldn't be serving any use, no matter how much you paid for it! One of our clients has a £16,000,000.00 annual turnover and theirs is only 22 pages! We believe in keeping it simple.
Q: Do I need a fire risk assessment? If so, what is this?
A: Yes, the current regulations state that all workplaces, or any place that might be used as
a workplace regardless of regularity or length of time, must have a fire risk completed by a competent person. This therefore includes the common parts of blocks of flats, as well as care homes, homes in multiple occupation, hotels, restaurants and bars, as well as the more common shops, offices and factories we associate as workplaces. These assessments are basically audits that show you our findings, what complies with current legislation and guidelines and what needs to be changed to ensure compliance. Our assessments are tailored to each individual property and its unique circumstances, never generic, and are short, to the point, written in clear English and thereby very easy for anyone to read and understand. Photographs and a recommended action plan are also included.
Q: Do you fit fire safety equipment? Lights, alarms and doors, that kind of thing?
A: No. We might recommend such things, but we feel it would be a conflict of interest if we recommended them in our fire risk assessments whilst we were also in the business of supplying and fitting them.
Q: What happens if I have a fire? What sort of plan do I need and what should it contain?
A: We can help you create and formulate your own disaster recovery plan. This does not need to be massively complex and should suit the size and needs of the organisation it is created for. A straightforward pre-thought out plan of who is responsible for what, what to do, how to do it and where to go is what is required, and should include inventories of existing equipment, resources, clients and suppliers. A sound pre-arranged plan for managing all these as well as your ongoing commitments, whilst still managing a crisis in the workplace, could help you recover from a disaster such as a fire, when around 40% of affected businesses do not, and fail within the next 12 months.
Q: What do I have to do about asbestos? Is this something I need to worry about?
A: If the building was built during or after the year 2000 it is very unlikely to contain any
asbestos, as its use in construction was finally completely banned in 1999. Otherwise, if
you are the owner or manager, or maybe depending on the terms of a lease, you may well have an absolute duty to manage any asbestos on the premises. The easiest way to do this is to have an asbestos management (non-intrusive) survey carried out to identify if any asbestos is present, and if so where it is, what condition it’s in and what risks it poses.
From this the recommendations will follow of removal, encapsulation, enclosing or simply monitoring it. Bear in mind ‘though, refurbishment and demolition of pre-2000 properties
require much more stringent and invasive surveys to be carried out to discover whether asbestos is present before any such works are even started.
Q: Do you carry out asbestos removal works?
A: No, we consider it a possible conflict of interest if our survey recommended removal and
we provided just that service. We have worked with some very good and highly reputable removal companies though, and are able to manage and supervise removal projects if our clients wish us to.
Q: On a final thought: Often heard statement; “It won’t happen to us!”
A: Unfortunately it does happen to thousands of companies of all types and sizes every year. Some never recover.
At In-Line Safety we provide a comprehensive service to organisations of all types and sizes. Whatever the type of workplace, we help to ensure that you comply with the complex legislation applying to your industry and circumstances. Just as importantly, you will know that you are working towards protecting your organisation as well as your employees, by providing you and them with a safe and healthy working environment, which can only be for the betterment of all.