Health and safety at work

Health and safety at work is one of the major functions undertaken by our Environmental Health team. We can offer help and advice on a range of issues from risk assessments to enforcement in a range of different settings, helping you have a safer workplace.

If you run a business or are in control of a workplace, you’re responsible for protecting the health and safety of your staff and others affected by your work activity under the Health and Safety at Work Etc Act 1974 and associated regulations. The term workplace not only includes factories, shops and offices but also schools, hospitals, hostels and places of entertainment.

‌Health and safety priorities for your business

You should adopt a positive approach to concerns raised by your employees on health and safety issues. Their cooperation is essential for effective safety management and will help you to identify and address possible legal contraventions in your workplace.

These legal requirements apply to most businesses. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website provides guidance on insurance, writing a health and safety policy, carrying out risk assessments, health and safety training, appointing a health and safety co-ordinator and reporting incidents. The HSE also offer a workplace health and safety guide for managers (PDF File, 82kb) and a health and safety regulations guide, amongst others, for download.

You must report some work-related accidents, diseases and dangerous occurrences.

Safer workplace, better business

The Safer workplace, better business pack (PDF File, 2,284kb) was developed by officers of the Devon Health and Safety Sub Group in partnership with the HSE.  The pack has now been taken up by a number of other local authorities across the country.

This jargon-free pack aims to make health and safety responsibilities understandable and easy to follow. It should enable businesses to identify the key hazards in their workplace and develop suitable control measures to minimise the potential for injuries to occur. It also provides advice on how to devise documented systems of work to satisfy the legal requirements that businesses need to comply with.

The pack is designed for small, medium sized business such as restaurants, cafes, takeaways, retailers, small hotels, public houses, care homes and offices. Using the pack should help businesses to manage health and safety without having to employ specialists, unless having carried out the initial review the risks identify need for more expert assistance.

Health and safety in residential care homes

If you’re the owner or manager of a care home, you need to be aware of the implications of any hazards at your premises. Risk assessments should cover a wide range of areas to ensure that the health and safety of your employees and residents is effectively managed.

The common health and safety issues associated with care homes include:

  • first aid provision
  • hazardous substances
  • control of infection
  • moving and handling
  • aggression or violence to staff
  • work-related stress
  • legionella
  • water temperatures
  • hot surfaces
  • asbestos

Download a free copy of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Guidance – Health and Safety in Care Homes for a better understanding of risks and how to manage them effectively.