Who is Responsible for Your Health and Safety in Your Workplace?

Nebosh By Andy Taylor

For anyone who runs a business, ensuring that you are fully compliant with health and safety is a must. As an employer it is essential that your employees are safe at work and vital that your products or services don’t put anybody at any greater risk than need be. It is also extremely important that you are compliant with the legal requirements in health and safety to avoid any problems.

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the estimated cost of injuries and ill health from current working conditions (2016/17) was £!5 billion. It is important, therefore, to ensure that you can adequately care for your staff and customers.

Part of fulfilling a business’s health and safety requirements is ensuring that you have people who are responsible for certain aspects of your health and safety, that they and other employees know who they are and that they are properly trained and have the knowledge to carry out their tasks.

Health and Safety Overall Responsibility

For any business, the overall responsibility for the health and safety of employees and customers falls on the employer. As an employer it is up to you to ensure that you are fully complying with the health and safety requirements which are stipulated by the government, or more specifically, the HSE.

Although every individual in the company has a degree of responsibility in abiding by best practice rules and reporting potential hazards, it is still down to the employer to ensure that this happens.

In truth, it is up to each employer to determine who has the responsibility within the company for every aspect of its health and safety – and this often will depend on a number of factors such as the nature of the industry, how the business is structured and the size of the business.

Such is the nature of different industries, there are some which require more health and safety monitoring than others. It is important that you have someone who is aware of what the particular health and safety requirements are for your industry.

There are a number of qualifications – some of which are necessary and some of which are recommended – that can ensure that you or your representative has both the knowledge and ability to deal with the health and safety requirements of your industry, and in general.

NEBOSH Qualifications

The National Examination Board of Safety and Health offer independent courses into various aspects of vocational health and safety. These are ideal for people who are looking to make a career out of health and safety – being able to work within an organisation and being able to guide a business through their health and safety obligations, or for someone who prefers to work on a consultancy basis.

NEBOSH offer courses and qualifications such as:

  • The NEBOSH General Certificate – the qualification which gives you a good overall base of health and safety and one that is commonly requested by future employers when looking to employ someone who is responsible for health and safety. It is a good basis for managerial, supervisory and operational staff.
  • The NEBOSH National Construction Certificate – an extension course which is essential for businesses who work in the construction industry. With the additional risk of hazard in construction, this is essential to ensure the health and safety of everyone on a building site. This is the ideal course for workers representatives, managers and supervisors.
  • The NEBOSH Environmental Management Certificate – a qualification which gives you the knowledge to understand the specific environmental issues which can affect a workplace in terms of health and safety. This is the ideal course for workers representatives, managers and supervisors.
  • The NEBOSH National Fire Certificate – which will give you a good basis of the fire safety issues which affect the workplace, including the management of health and safety, fire risk assessment and its practical application. This is a good course for managers, supervisors, risk assessors and anyone else with an interest in fire safety. There is no previous training needed.
  • The NEBOSH Introduction to Incident Investigation – which will give you all the training you need to be able to properly investigate and deal with any health and safety incident which has occurred in the workplace. It is ideal for employers, supervisors, SHE champions, as well as union and worker representatives.

It is important that employers have a good grasp of what health and safety requirements there are for their particular industry to assure the safety of both employees and customers as well as security for their business.

By taking either general or more industry specific courses, you can ensure that you are up to date not only with what the law requires of you, but also that you have the knowledge to reduce the risk and seriousness of accidents in the workplace.


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