How safe are your premises?
When you’re reviewing your workplace health and safety policies, do you also look at those that relate specifically to your premises?
According to highly experienced health & safety, quality and environmental professional Lucy Walsh, businesses often fail to include bricks and mortar when considering their health and safety responsibilities.
Lucy, who has recently come on board with HR:4UK to strengthen our health and safety consultancy, said: “While most employers are aware that they need to look after their people, all too often they forget about their buildings.
“Whether you own your premises or rent them it’s vitally important that full building risk assessments have been carried out, and not just on the building.
“Has the property, for example, had an asbestos assessment, water risk assessment and fire safety risk assessment? If not, then this needs to be addressed as soon as possible.”
Employers also need to be aware of their legal obligations around fire drills.
Lucy added: “Did you know, that as an employer, you must, by law, carry out fire drills at least once a year? It’s advisable though to carry them out more regularly, particularly if your workplace has many risk factors.”
Other aspects which are sometimes overlooked include the provision of staff trained in first aid.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recommends that companies with between five and 50 staff, have at least one first aider on the team, but, said Lucy, not all employers realise that.
She said: “Are there enough first aiders in your workforce for the size of the business and the industry you’re operating in? What happens if you only have one person trained in first aid and no-one to cover for them when they’re off work?
Ergonomics is another area which also requires your attention. Are employees’ desks and chairs the right height so your staff can sit comfortably while working? Posture is something you must consider when planning your office layout.
Lucy also recommends investing in regular training on issues such as posture and fire safety so you’re always up to date with the latest health and safety legislation.
She added: “Training doesn’t have to be expensive or disruptive to your working day. Some of it can be done online, and, for instance, fire marshal safety training can be delivered in your workplace so your fire marshals can be trained on the premises.
“We can also offer what is known in the construction trade as a “toolbox talk” – which is basically an informal session on safety topics relating to specific jobs.”
Midlands-based Lucy has been providing health and safety consultancy to clients in a wide range of industry sectors for more than 20 years, so is well placed to offer expert advice. She has invaluable experience in helping businesses of all sizes, including large global organisations, to implement systems and gain accreditations, finding solutions to manage their risk.
Do you need to have a Health & Safety audit carried out to ensure your premises’ safety standards comply with current regulations – or do you need advice on any aspect of workplace health and safety, contact us today on 01455 444222 or email
A qualified employment law solicitor and our managing director, Angela has unparalleled legal expertise and decades of experience and knowledge to draw from. She’s a passionate speaker and writer that loves to keep employers updated with upcoming changes to legislation, and is a regular guest speaker on BBC Leicester Radio.