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Health and Safety Insurance Risk - how to protect your business?

By Get Indemnity ™

 

Be aware of health and safety insurance risks - with 693,000 non-fatal injuries to workers reported in 2019/20

Although these figures have remained relatively flat as a result of improvements in health and safety, many small to medium sized business do not pay adequate attention to their legal requirements and consider how to mitigate their risk.

Health and safety risks can prove very costly with personal injury claims now linked with an amended rate that accounts for future investment. It is not uncommon for someone that requires long term care after a brain injury to now require a £10 million payment for compensation.

 

Health and safety RIDDOR statistics:

Health and safety risk report from HSE

Health and safety should be a serious consideration for any business, whether they work on a construction site or an office. Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 you have a legal duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of workers.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) who enforces the above regulation remains a valuable source of information for business to meet their legal requirements, which are summarised below:

 

1)    Maintain a policy for managing health and safety risks;
2)    Ensure employees get immediate help if taken ill or injured at work, including:
    a.    a suitably stocked first aid kit;
    b.    an appointed person or people to take charge of first aid arrangements;
    c.    information for all employees telling them about first aid arrangements;
3)    Undertake a suitable and sufficient assessment of risks to your employees;
4)    Purchase employers liability insurance if you have employees;
5)    Ensure you consult with all your employees on health and safety risks;
6)    Provide training on how employees can work safely and without risks to health;
7)    Have the right workplace facilities for everyone in your workplace; and
8)    Display the health and safety law poster or provide each worker with a copy of the equivalent pocket card.

 

In addition, employers are required to report certain workplace injuries, near-accidents and cases of work-related disease to the HSE. This duty is required under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR).

Employers are required to report on injured employees within a maximum of ten days after the incident. Reports can be made online and are processed by the appropriate governing body.


Workplace health and safety risk and insurance

The best way to protect against health and safety risks is to identify, evaluate and control exposures that have the potential to cause harm.

The completion of a risk assessment will need to be specific to your business activities and should consider:

 

> Safety risks

Caused by unsafe working conditions (i.e. slips, trips, falls, work at height, machinery or equipment)


> Ergonomic risks

caused by unsuitable equipment or physical factors (i.e. uncomfortable desk or repetitive movements)


> Organisational risks

Caused by poor employment practices (i.e. fatigue, stress, excessive workloads, bullying or harassment)


> Physical risks

Caused by exposure to conditions (i.e. radiation, temperature, noise, lighting or vibration)


> Chemical risks

Caused by exposure to substances, liquids or gases (i.e. acids, solvents or flammable materials)


> Biological risks

Caused by exposure to organic matter (i.e. bodily fluids, mold, fungi, plants or toxins)


Health and safety risk assessment:

Although there are no set rules as to how you should carry out a risk assessment, however we recommend the following approach:

1)    Identify potential hazards within the workplace
2)    Evaluate who may be at risk and how those individuals may be harmed
3)    Decide on measures to control risks to an acceptable tolerance level
4)    Record your significant findings - legal requirement if you employ +5 staff
5)    Regularly review your risk assessment and update when required

 

Any health and safety risk assessment should include engagement with your employees to ensure the controls are effective and the methods are achievable.

It is important to remember your business also has a duty of care to maintain a safe environment for members of the public, which includes any customers, suppliers and contractors.

Although not a legal requirement under UK law, public liability insurance can offer financial protection against claims arising from injury of persons other than your employees. This should form part of your wider risk management strategy that seeks to mitigate and transfer risks from your balance sheet.

 



by Get Indemnity™

This guide is for information purposes and based on sources we believe are reliable, the general risk management and insurance information is not intended to be taken as advice with respect to any individual circumstance and cannot be relied upon as such.