The Health and Safety at Work Act – Business owners are obliged to ensure that they are compliant with current legislation to protect both the business and its employees.
Neglecting their duties of care in health and safety responsibilities may not only put employees at risk but may also invalidate their insurance.
Legislation changes on a regular basis.
Health & Safety expert and advisor Michelle Hay, of Michelle Hay Training, explains how a recent case she was asked to investigate following a compensation claim could have been avoided by following some simple and sensible steps.
“My work often comes as a result of a claim for compensation that an insurance company has dealt with. Many businesses put things right only after something has gone wrong and yet a regular assessment can quickly establish the gaps in legal compliance and subsequent vulnerabilities.
A relatively new law, The Insurance Act, which came into force on 12th August 2016 states:
‘In accordance with the provisions of The Insurance Act 2015, you must ensure that the information provided by you in connection with your commercial insurance policies (both new business and existing business) is presented in a clear and accessible manner and contains all known material facts relating to the risk/risks in question. This information should not exclude anything material which is known by you and is likely to be of relevance to the insurer in deciding whether or not to accept the risk/risks and on what terms.’
In simple terms, failure to comply with the Act may lead to an insurer refusing to settle a claim.
In a recent claim by a well-known restaurant chain, the business had not declared all its reasonably foreseeable risks, so the insurers refused to pay for all of the damage caused by the fire. The business was massively under insured for the level of risk that it carried.
Up to date knowledge of duties and legal responsibilities in accordance with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, in particular, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, is essential.
What you should be doing under The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999?
- A written health and safety policy (if you employ five or more people)
- Assessments of the risks to employees, contractors, customers, partners, and any other people who could be affected by your activities – and record the significant findings in writing (if you employ five or more people) Any risk assessment must be ‘suitable and sufficient’
- Arrangements for the effective planning, organisation, control, monitoring and review of the preventive and protective measures that come from risk assessment
- Access to competent health and safety advice
- Providing employees with information about the risks in your workplace and how they are protected
- Instruction and training for employees in how to deal with the risks
- Ensuring there is adequate and appropriate supervision in place
- Consulting with employees about their risks at work and current preventive and protective measures
Download the Fact Sheet Health and Safety at Work