Ae Insurance Brokers will always be willing to offer you guidance on what constitutes good practice in managing health and safety. This guidance should be aimed at improving the resilience of your business in dealing with civil law claims made against you, and will be proportionate to the level of risk involved.
The law – the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974
- This is the main law on health and safety and says that every employer is to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of employees and also persons not in their employment who may be affected by work activities.
- Your insurer expects you to take reasonable steps to comply with this requirement and other related regulations, using the guidance and tools provided by the health and Safety Executive (or other competent organisations) to help with this aim. You can find more information at www.hse.gov.uk/index.htm
- Your insurer will not refuse to pay a claim purely because of a breach of health and safety regulations.
Who is an employee?
There are various forms of employment. Often a working individual may not be engaged under a contract of employment. For this reason, insurers include, under an employers’ liability policy, a definition of who is to be treated as an ‘employee’. A typical definition would be:
- Any person employed under a contract of service or apprenticeship;
- People on work experience schemes, for example, students;
- Any person hired or borrowed from another employer including drivers or operators of hired in plant;
- Labour only subcontractors; and
- Home workers
All these people are covered while working for and under your control in your business.
Some Common Concerns
Written Risk Assessments
If you employ fewer than five employees, there is no need for you to complete written risk assessments. However, although completing and recording risk assessments is not a legal or insurance requirement, it may help in defending any civil law claims made against you.
The role of health and safety consultants
You do not need to hire a health and safety consultant. The law says that you must have access to competent health and safety advice – often, this is available from your own staff.
If however, the complexity or nature of your business indicates that you do need external support we normally recommend that you use a health and safety consultant who is listed on the Occupational Safety and Health Consultants Register. You can get more information at HERE
Testing portable electrical appliances
There is no specific legal requirement for every portable electrical appliance to be tested each year and your insurer will not insist upon this when offering you insurance.
However, as you must maintain this equipment suitably to prevent danger, insurers recommend you follow the guidance published by the HSE, available HERE
For specific guidance, read ‘Maintaining portable electric equipment in low risk environments’, available HERE