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In 2017/18, an estimated 135,000 people were absent from work for over seven days, and a further 420,000 were absent for up to a week.
Simply put, employers and self-employed people have to undertake risk assessments at work. It used to be that every business with five or more employees should have a written health and safety policy and record the significant findings of their risk assessment. These rules have changed since the inception of the original Health and Safety at Work Act, however.
Here’s what the Health & Safety Executive asks you to remember when making a risk assessment:
The HSE lays down a few basic requirements for office environments:
There’s a Health and Safety Executive website which gives you all the information you need as a business owner.
The Deregulation Act, which became law in 2015, changed the health and safety obligations of self-employed workers and contractors.
The previous Health and Safety at Work Act imposed a general duty on all self-employed people to protect themselves and others from risk to their health and safety, regardless of the type of activity they undertook or the risks this created.
The Deregulation Act, however, exempts the self-employed from health and safety laws/obligations if they have no employees, unless they undertake ‘prescribed activities’, which include work with or on:
Self-employed workers that don’t fall under any of the above ‘prescribed activities’ are now exempt from reporting under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurances Regulations (RIDDOR, for short).
We’d obviously recommend that those self-employed workers that are no longer obligated to make health and safety provisions do so anyway. Just because the government says you don’t need to keep a first aid kit around the office, doesn’t mean there won’t be times when one would come in handy!
Don’t forget that Health & Safety rules could even apply if you’re setting up a home office.
If you’re thinking about hiring your first employee to help your growing business then we’ve got a great business guide on all the things to think about, including health & safety when you’re taking on your first employee.