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Health & Safety Services

Sentient is a consultancy specialising in HR and Health and Safety

Appointment of Competent Person

As an employer, you must appoint a competent person or people to help you meet your health and safety legal duties.

Our Consultants have the skills, knowledge and experience to be able to recognise hazards in your business and help you put sensible controls in place to protect workers and others from harm. Our consultants have NEBOSH Diploma as a minimum and are trained in fire risk assessment.

Health and Safety Policy

Every business, whether you have 1, 2 3, or 500 employees, should have a policy for managing health and safety which sets out your general approach to health and safety.

If you have 5 or more employees it is a legal require to document your health and safety policy, but if you have fewer than 5 employees it can still be helpful to document your policy.

 

What is a Health and Safety Policy?

The Health and Safety at Work etc Act of 1974 states that a health and safety policy should consist of three main parts:  The Statement of Intent, the Organisation/Responsibilities and the Arrangements.

 

Statement of Intent – Otherwise known as the Health and Safety Policy Statement– this is the document you would normally display on your notice board and is usually a single page describing your commitment to managing health and safety and your general aims.  The Health and Safety Policy Statement should be developed by the Managing Director or Board of Directors and should be signed and dated.   By signing the Policy Statement you are officially confirming your intent to fulfil the policies and actions which are set out in your Policy, Organisation and Arrangements.  Most companies will have broadly similar aims; those set out as specific legal requirements in section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act, however, you may which to go over and above fulfilling your basic legal requirements and become a leader in health and safety management within your field of expertise, giving you the edge over your competitors.  If this is the case you should reflect this in your Policy Statement.

 

Organisation/Responsibilities

Managing health and safety within any organisation is a team effort – every person has a part to play in managing health and safety within an organisation. The Managing Director or Board of Directors are accountable for health and safety within an organisation, but responsibilities for many activities can be delegated to people who are competent and able to manage those activities. 

Deciding who is going to be responsible for what is a major part of your planning process and you will need to make sure that those people who are given specific responsibilities for health and safety matters are appropriately trained and competent to carry out their role.  You will need to list the names (or positions) and roles and responsibilities, ensuring that all relevant aspects are considered; this can range from who is responsible for carrying out risk assessments, to who is responsible for supervising apprentices; who is responsible for ordering PPE and who is responsible for maintaining machinery; who is responsible for reporting hazards and who is responsible for rectifying hazards.   Employees have duties to take care of their own health and safety within their own health and safety as well as that of their colleagues – you’ll need to specifically outline this in the organisation section of your policy.

 

Arrangements

The arrangements section of your policy should provide details of the practical arrangements you have in place and should detail what you are going to do achieve the aims you set out in your health and safety policy.

Your arrangements section should cover aspects such as risk assessments, safe systems of work, employee training, use of equipment, use of contractors and a range of other issues depending on what your business does and how you operate.

Sentient can help you develop the health and safety procedures that will make up your arrangements and can provide a range of tools for managing your documentation, risk assessment templates, documents, forms and checklists to build a management system that fits your business.

Gap analysis / Legal audit

Sentient can carry out a site inspection resulting in a full audit report with finding on the current policy and procedures to highlight any areas needing further development.                                                                          

Fresh eyes looking at workplaces often spot the hazards that those working in that environment just don’t see. Engaging Sentient for auditing and inspections brings a fresh pair of eyes into the workplace.

Most businesses take their health and safety audit responsibilities very seriously however they might not always find it easy to keep up to speed with all the new health and safety regulations or indeed keep track of how you as a business stack up against them.

It is not easy to make the change and, just like manufacturing a product, it takes several components to produce the final objective:

 

Time     If you can’t tidy as you go, take a minute every ten to tidy up (make time to do it) 

Effort    The less effort that is required, the more likely it is to get done (make it easy)

Action If you see a hazard, do something about it. Stop, look, assess and manage.

Means Make sure the resources are available. You can’t put something away if there’s nowhere to put it.

 

The ship can’t set sail until all the sailors, including the Captain, are on board. Everyone in your organisation needs to think: If it’s not good enough for the auditor, it’s not good enough for me!  It only takes one person to shirk their responsibilities to cause the whole team to become demotivated, so it is really important to get the whole team on board with your improvement process and a legal audit can be the best way to start those discussions.

Sentient can get you started with developing your health and safety inspections and audits, as well as helping you get your managers, supervisors and employees on board with your ongoing improvement process.  The key to getting ahead with health and safety matters is winning the hearts and minds of your team.  With our help you can encourage your employees to take ownership and your give your managers the understanding they need to drive employees to keep work areas safe and hazard free.

We can carry out an audit for you to check your compliance with the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations, provide our Tea Break Talks on housekeeping and workplace health safety and welfare, Stop Look Assess Manage, and provide you with hazard report forms and help you develop workplace inspection forms specific to your workplace.

Our health and safety audits can be carried out as a one off task or as part of a wider ongoing service provision tailored to suit your needs and budget.

Risk Assessments

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations require all employers to protect employees from harm – this also extends to other people who may be affected by the undertaking of the business. To identify how your employees could be harmed it is necessary to conduct a risk assessment, considering all aspects of your business and processes.

A risk assessment is to foresight as an accident is to hindsight. Any accident investigator will tell you that the words most often heard when taking down accident witness statements are:

 

I didn’t think,

I didn’t see,

I didn’t know,

I didn’t ask.

 

A well-developed risk assessment looks in detail at your tasks or processes, the competence of your employees and your working procedures and generally establishes what could go wrong and what needs to be done to prevent anything from going wrong. If you have 5 or more employees, you must document the findings of your risk assessment.  We have a range of risk assessments to get you started and can provide training and coaching to enable you to develop risk assessments appropriate to your business.

Sentient will work with you to help you develop your risk assessments to ensure that they meet the requirements of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations.  Your risk assessment must:

 

  • Identify the hazards that could cause injury or ill health in your business;
  • Establish the risks posed by those hazards, i.e. how likely it is that someone could be harmed and how seriously;
  • Decide the action required to eliminate the hazard, if possible.
  • If it is not possible to eliminate the hazard, decide on the action require to control the hazard so that the risk is as low as reasonably practicable.

 

When undertaking a risk assessment, you’ll need to take into account all employees including; vulnerable workers, new and expectant mothers, young workers, workers with disabilities, contractor and visitors.

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