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Health and safety at work, what you need to know in 2015

This isn't a comprehensive list, but here are some of the things it's easy for low-risk organisations to overlook:

Insurance. You will need a minimum of £5 million employers' liability cover, and £10 million is often recommended. This isn't just wise, it's a legal requirement, and there are stiff penalties for non-compliance.
Display the health and safety law poster, or provide each of your employees with an individual pocket card. Again, this may seem unnecessary, but since April 2014 this has been a legal requirement.
Talk to your employees and provide training and support. Depending on the nature of their work, this does not have to be extensive. However, you do need to listen to their concerns, gain some understanding of the risks in their roles, and offer ways to address these. From 2015, the Fit For Work scheme gives employers access to free occupational health assistance for employees who have been off sick for more than four weeks.
Provide first aid. You must have a first aid kit on the premises, and nominate someone to ensure this is maintained at all times. You may choose to appoint a qualified first-aider, too. Changes in legislation that came into force in September 2013 allow organisations more flexibility in how this is now provided.
Stay up to date. Regulations are updated all the time. Additional guidance for construction safety is likely to come into force from April 2015, for example, and will apply to even minor works within your building.
Don't assume that accidents won't happen in your organisation!

Accidents and illnesses come in all forms, from stress and pain caused by poor posture to slips and falls. In 2013/14, 1.2 million people suffered from a work-related illness, and there were over 600,000 injuries. Falls and trips account for around a third of injuries, with strains and other injuries from lifting and handling accounting for the most injuries that last over seven days.

Are you an employer and confused about your legal obligations regarding employee safety? Then speak to an expert employment lawyer who can give you the guidance you need. Call 01302 320621 or email

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