Do it right health and safety

Know your duties. Insurance, registration, reporting incidents - they may not all apply, but some certainly will. Get it wrong and you could be left with a fine, a prison sentence or closed shutters.

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Cover your back. The law doesn't stop at correct lifting procedure and the use of beard nets. It also looks at waste, lighting, stress, bullying, passive smoking, workstation design, breaks ... the list goes on. The Health & Safety Executive can help you through the maze.

Think of the benefits. Keeping employees healthy and your kit in good nick will reduce costs and enhance your reputation, so put the health and safety policy together carefully.

Put it in writing. Think through an average day for your company and run a risk-assessment - another legal requirement. Base your policy on common sense and convey your aims in simple language, explaining how you'll achieve them and who's responsible for what.

Involve your staff. If you want them to don goggles and wash their hands, you must engage them. Try a suggestion box, or set up a safety committee.

Communicate it. Employees need regular training, and the law requires that you make your policy visible to both staff and visitors.

Remember: it never ends. Before anyone tries to tackle a paper jam in the photocopier, ensure staff are briefed on the safe handling of the equipment.

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