Health and safety: Policy matters

Related tags Occupational safety and health Responsibility

Hospitality is a multi-million-pound industry in which the rewards can be great. But it can also become a veritable minefield for the unwary when the...

Hospitality is a multi-million-pound industry in which the rewards can be great. But it can also become a veritable minefield for the unwary when the subject of health and safety policy rears its head.

Health and safety policy refers to the effective planning, organisation, control, monitoring and review of preventative and protective measures throughout industry. This policy is governed and monitored by the Health and Safety Executive, a statutory body whose functions are to inspect companies and enforce compliance with legal requirements regarding health and safety, and administer health and safety law.

This is where using an experienced, 'real life' industry expert can pay

dividends. They are best able to economically guide companies through the trials and tribulations involved in this large, complex body of statutory regulations, drawing particular attention to those that are most relevant to you, your site and your business.

This minimises the risks and saves the operator and business a lot of time and heartache. Think about some of the things an employer is responsible for - and the ways in which an expert can help.

An employer must:

• Provide and maintain a safe working environment and safe systems of work. Just imagine the detailed planning this alone requires of all involved in the hospitality industry.

• Define health and safety responsibilities and safe working methods throughout the organisation.

• Produce a safety policy available to all employees, which states the employer's intention to provide a safe and healthy working environment.

• Name and detail the duties of the person responsible for the health and safety policy.

• Ensure that anyone working in a potentially hazardous job is aware of the risks and necessary control measures and also inform employees of their role in maintaining a safe working environment.

• Provide adequate health and safety instruction and training for all members of staff.

• Accept responsibility for the health and safety of non-employees such as visitors and guests, and ensure they are not endangered by either the work environment or activities.

• Undertake a risk assessment to establish whether any potential hazards exist throughout the whole work areas and if they do, determine who these hazards effect and to what extent; measure the effectiveness of existing control measures and if necessary devise and implement additional control measures.

Inherent in any health and safety policy is the fact staff have the opportunity to train, be constructive regarding any issue and be part of a team that recognises the chain of command, so enabling them to react in the correct manner to any given situation.

The policy should be kept up to date, particularly as the business changes in nature and size. Where there are individual sites within the organisation with specific risks, they should be written separately from the overall policy.

Add to all of this a whole raft of other important policy matters including accidents and incidents, fire safety, food safety and pest control and you will see that formatting a health and safety policy is not for the faint-hearted.

For assistance with the above or any other aspects of health and safety, contact Venners and ensure your company operates at maximum efficiency while staying safe and complying with legislation and responsibilities of due diligence.

Related topics Licensing law Property law

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