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Understanding Health And Safety For You And Your Staff

By Darragh Timlin on March 23rd, 2022

  1. The Importance Of Risk Management
  2. Reducing The Risk In Your Workplace
  3. How To Prevent An Employer’s Liability Claim
  4. What To Do When Things Go Wrong
  5. Employer’s Liability Insurance

The Importance Of Risk Management

By law, there are several fundamental responsibilities that an employer is required to fulfil, one of which is ensuring the health and safety of themselves, their staff and anyone who enters their commercial premises.

To a certain extent, risks will always be present within the workplace. What you can do, however, is undertake the necessary precautions to eliminate or at the very least reduce these risks as much as possible. Even with thorough risk assessment, however, the possibility that something may go wrong remains. In this article, we will be covering everything you should know about risk management and creating risk management solutions.

Whilst it is important to prevent, address and amend any incidents promptly, you should also protect the interests of yourself and your business against employer’s liability claims by investing in a comprehensive employer’s liability insurance policy, which will also be discussed here.

Reducing The Risk In Your Workplace

When it comes to risk assessment, the legislation is quite transparent. First and foremost, you should identify every hazard that could cause injury and illness within your workplace. Once these hazards have been identified, categorize each one according to their risk factor, which is how likely they are to cause harm and to what extent. Finally, you will have to take pre-emptive action to eliminate the hazard, and if this isn’t possible then you should control the associated risks as effectively as you can.

Every business is different, and the hazards and risks that are identified in one business might not exist in yours, and vice versa. This is why it is essential that you conduct detailed risk assessment procedures that are tailored specifically to your workplace. This will ensure you will be confident that you are abiding by the law, supporting the health and safety of your employees, and ensuring the smooth operation of your business.

How To Prevent An Employer’s Liability Claim

An employer’s liability insurance policy will ensure that you can give your employees appropriate compensation should they suffer from an injury or illness at work. Whilst this will relieve much of the financial burden from you, there are still some substantial expenses that are not necessarily covered by insurance. For example, lost production, recruitment fees and the time and resources required for training replacements, as well as overtime pay, can add up to significant amounts.

Relying on employer’s liability insurance should always be regarded as a last resort, with the priority being preventing any claims against you in the first place. By adopting the following steps, you should be able to control the risks to a considerable degree:

  • Conduct regular risk assessments, and review your paperwork whenever a new piece of equipment, a new substance or material, or a new procedure is introduced to your workplace.
  • Ensure that your employees are trained in health and safety, and this should be repeated on an annual basis. They should also be given training that is specific to their job requirements.
  • Speak with your employees so that you are aware of anything which could be causing them physical strain or mental distress, so that you can address any concerns that you hadn’t previously considered.
  • Depending on the results of your risk assessment, provide your employees with the personal protective equipment they need to do their jobs safely. This equipment should also be tested frequently, and replaced if necessary.
  • Document everything and keep a detailed record of the risks and hazards you have identified, so that you can inform and improve your procedures and strategies.

What To Do When Things Go Wrong

Unfortunately, incidents can happen in the workplace even with diligent risk assessment. In the event that an employee suffers from injury or illness whilst at work, there are several steps that you are required to take in order to comply with the law. Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations is a law that was introduced in 2013, and it is usually abbreviated to RIDDOR.

RIDDOR stipulates that employers have to record and report any incidents, which cause death, serious injury, industrial disease, gas incidents as well as any occurrences that have the potential to cause harm. By reporting such incidents, regulatory authorities can use them to conduct investigations and inform their statistics, driving health and safety policies that will ensure workplaces become safer places for employers, employees as well as customers.

Recording these occurrences is of considerable value to you as an employer as well, because you can use this information to improve your risk assessment practices and manage the health and safety of your commercial premises more effectively than ever.  By understanding the circumstances, which contributed to any incidents, you will be perfectly positioned to develop solutions that have a tangible and positive impact, and ensure that the occurrence doesn’t happen again.

Aside from the obvious benefit of supporting the welfare of your employees, you will also be able to mitigate the significant expenses that are associated with compensation claims for workplace accidents. Keeping records will also help when it comes to reviewing your workplace’s risk assessment, which is something that should be done on a regular basis so that you can track hazards as and when they appear and change.

Employer’s Liability Insurance

As an employer, your obligations towards your employees are not only expected, they are mandated by law. Obtaining employer’s liability insurance is also a legal requirement within the United Kingdom. Since it is your duty to protect the health and safety of your employees whilst they are in the workplace, they will have a claim for compensation against you if they suffer from injury or illness due to work. The purpose of employer’s liability insurance, therefore, is to protect the interests of yourself as well as your employees should there ever be an accident.

With a comprehensive and thorough policy, you can cover the costs that are associated with the injury or illness, whether it is medical expenses or lost earnings. Without any insurance, any claims for compensation could financially cripple your business, and cause significant legal troubles. It is also important to keep in mind that the quotes for your insurance policy will depend on the specific nature of your business and the work that your employees undertake.

For example, the construction industry is regarded as more dangerous than other industries because of the number of uncontrollable hazards and the relatively high levels of risk, which may be reflected in the insurance premiums that you pay. Still, it is a more than worthwhile investment. Legally, you are required to have the provisions in place to support your employees should they become ill or injured whilst working for you, and employer’s liability insurance enables you to fulfil one of your most important duties as an employer. When it comes to business insurance, trust Brisco Business to provide you with tailored solutions.

Darragh Timlin

With over 25 years’ experience, Darragh is an expert in all things insurance. Starting his career in commercial property underwriting, Darragh has worked for a number of global insurers and is now Managing Director of Brisco Business, part of the wider Henry Seymour Group.

All articles by Darragh Timlin

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