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The importance of Health and Safety Laws for your firm

Health and safety laws are renowned as being a bit of a drag. The laws tend to prohibit people having fun and seem to be an endless stream of bureaucracy that we have to contend with on a daily basis. That being said though, many are incredibly necessary and when it comes to the professional environment, health and safety laws are not something at which to turn your nose up. If you want to avoid any legal litigation and protect yourself, your staff and your business, go ahead and pay attention, as health and safety laws really can make or break your firm.


The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974

The Health and Safety at Work Act, passed by parliament in 1974 basically stipulates that an employee is to be given a safe working environment. Business are to ensure the basic welfare of all their employees ‘so far as reasonable practicable.’ As an extension of this, in today’s society, following on from an onslaught of various EU Directives governing health and safety in the workplace, a business must operate in seemingly strict controls to ensure their workforce is properly looked after, ranging from the use of specialist protective clothing, the placement of visible signage in all necessary places and even the correct use of elevators.√جª¬ø

Now, between 2011 and 2012, according to government statistics over 27 million working days were lost due to work-related injuries, with around 1.1 million out of work for this reason. Therefore, these shocking figures should show the extent of the problem, and should drive home that for purely economic reasons it is sensible to have in place some form of comprehensive health and safety procedure that will ensure your staff are fit and safe to work at all times. What is most worrying, however, is the massive rise we have seen in the numbers of people seeking legal action for an accident at work. For example, in Scotland alone claims have sky-rocketed, increasing an incredible 25% between 2010 and 2012, while across the UK the trend shows a similar climb. What this means, then, it has never been more important to implement a comprehensive health and safety programme for your business.

 √جª¬øPreventing Accidents√جª¬ø

 √جª¬øAccidents are always going to happen. Unfortunately, this is a reality that we really can’t do a whole√جª¬ølot about. However, just because this is the case doesn’t mean preventative action mustn’t be taken. Providing employees with the correct footwear, high visibility vests in areas where moving vehicles also operate, the correct type of equipment and proper training will mean that you as an employer have done as much as possible to prevent an accident. What this also means is when an issue goes to court, as long as the sufficient procedures have been followed and you can prove that is the case, any pay-outs or compensation would prove to be minimal, and will deter employees from attempting to seek bogus claims for accidents which were neither you or your company’s fault.

Risk Management

 √جª¬ø√جª¬øThe best course of action you can follow in this instance is to set up an appropriate risk management process. This is not limited to any particular industry, however, as even a simple slip, trip or fall can begin a slow legal process for a company no matter in which area of business they operate. Simply consider the risks faced by employees on a day-to-day basis and investigate where the most comprehensive and cost-effective ways to reduce these risks lie.

Overall, health and safety laws can really make or break your firm. This is quite literal in terms of the expensive legal fees and compensation pay-outs your business may be subject to in the event that an injury does take place within your organisation. Think of health and safety laws as a sensible preventative measure rather than a hindrance to be ignored, and don’t waste any time in setting up an appropriate process for your firm today.

I am Paul Jonathan- a passionate writer who is fascinated by the practices of law. Law and order have always been a matter of interest to me. I work with Coles-Law and would like to thank Jeremy for letting me do this post.



Originally posted 2013-09-24 00:00:00.

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