Health & Safety Risk Management

People talking about helpline health and safety and risk management

Do you have an up to date risk assessment in place for your helpline? Something that would satisfy the law if something went wrong?

Do you have measures in place that would be effective in protecting your helpline team?

Have you or a designated person within your organisation walked around the office, to see what might pose a risk and looked at the Health and Safety Executive’s Guidance?

Have you talked to supervisors and staff, including those who are wheelchair users, to learn from their experiences and to listen to their concerns and opinions about health and safety issues?

Have you looked at your organisation’s accident book, to learn about previous problems?

It’s essential that you have written evidence of the risks within your organisation and the measures you have put in place to mitigate those risks. You need a clear process for making sure your helpline team know about it and it is regularly reviewed and updated.

If you are unsure that you have a current and robust risk assessment in place for your helpline, we can help.

Working with our partner, Towergate, we’ve set out what you are required, by law, to do and how best to approach it.

What is a Competent Person?

According to regulation 7 of the ‘Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999’ “Every employer shall, subject to paragraphs (6) and (7), appoint one or more Competent Persons to assist him in undertaking the measures he needs to take to comply with the requirements and prohibitions imposed upon him by or under the relevant statutory provisions and by part II of the Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997.”

Although this may already sound vague, the legislation also explains that a person is regarded as ‘competent’ if they have sufficient training, experience or knowledge and ‘other qualities’ which still leaves many questions unanswered.

Do I need to appoint a Competent Person?

The requirement to have a Competent Person applies to every workplace. It does not matter if you employ one person or one hundred, there are no exceptions.

You may find that within your business you either do not have any employees that match the criteria, or you do not have enough staff able to take on extra responsibilities.

In these cases, the Health and Safety Executive advise that if you are not confident of your ability to manage all Health and Safety in-house or if you are a higher-risk organisation, then you may need some external assistance or advice.

In order to make sure whomever you appoint externally can be your Competent Person, you should consider the following questions:

  • Has the identified individual had training? For example, have they attended a Health and Safety course that has been accredited by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH)?
  • Does this person have practical knowledge? In other words, just attending a theory course is not enough, your Competent Person will also need to have practical knowledge and experience.
  • Do they have the appropriate skills? Your Competent Person will need the technical ability to be able to develop solutions to problems.
  • Are they familiar with the organisation? They will need to know the ins and outs of the way that your business functions, understand who is responsible for what and be well-informed about any hazards.
  • Do they have good awareness skills? A Competent Person will need to be alert at all times in order to recognise any potential hazards and take action.
  • Have they been given authority? They need to be able to immediately correct any hazards that they notice or be able to influence someone who can.

As a Helplines Partnership member, one of your member benefits is access to a free no-obligation consultation from our Health and Safety partners, Ellis Whittam.

For more information contact 0330 123 5057 or email Towergate.