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General Requirements for Compliance by the Employer

Put in place a written health and safety policy (see Health & Safety Policy May 2014 template (Word)that includes:

  • a statement of intention to provide a safe and healthy workplace;
  • details of how a safe and healthy workplace will be achieved – who does what, when and how (see under those aspects of health and safety listed in the introduction to Health and Safety – General);
  • details of the person responsible for the policy (the employer) and of the person responsible to the employer for implementing the policy.

NB: This is a legal requirement if five or more members of staff work in the practice but all practices are strongly advised to do this. Before completing the policy, carry out a health and safety risk assessment (see Health and Safety Risk Management).

Appoint a competent person [1] (this may be the employer, an employee or an external adviser) to advise on administration of health and safety in the practice and compliance with the relevant legislation.

NB: The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) provides guidance for obtaining specialist advice [2] and administers the Occupational Safety and Health Consultants Register (OSHCR) [3] which has contact details of external advisers. Be aware that, irrespective of whoever is appointed competent person, the employer remains legally responsible for health and safety.

Display a HSE approved Health and Safety Law poster in the practice where staff can easily access and read it, or provide a copy of the equivalent leaflet to all staff.

NB: The most recent (2018 version) poster and equivalent leaflet can be obtained from the HSE, book suppliers and online retailers. The 2009 version and 2018 version of the poster are valid for display.

Provide and maintain safe equipment, systems and surroundings (see under those aspects of health and safety listed in the introduction to Health and Safety – General for details).

Evaluate and minimise risks (see Health and Safety Risk Management).

Provide suitable training for general health and safety in the workplace and for the safe use of specific equipment and materials (see under those aspects of health and safety listed in the introduction to Health and Safety – General for details), and keep records of training.

NB: It is a legal requirement to provide health and safety training and best practice to keep a record of all training (i.e. training for health and safety and all other training).

Discuss health and safety issues with staff and allow them to raise concerns and influence decisions, e.g. at practice meetings.

Ensure you have employer’s liability insurance in place, that it is current, and the certificate is on display.

Put in place procedures to be followed in the event of an emergency (e.g. what to do in the event of a fire [see Fire Safety]).

Keep documentation for all aspects of health and safety (see under those aspects of health and safety listed in the introduction to Health and Safety – General for details).

Record details of accidents and other incidents in a Data Protection Compliant Accident Book [4]. See also RIDDOR.

Ensure contracts and agreements for staff include their responsibilities with respect to health and safety.

Keep up to date with current legislation by referring to the HSE and Public Health Scotland’s Healthy Working Lives websites or contacting your Dental Practice Adviser.

Sources of Information

  1. Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1999/3242/pdfs/uksi_19993242_en. (PDF))
    as amended 2006 (www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2006/438/pdfs/uksi_20060438_en. (PDF))
  2. Getting Specialist Help with Health and Safety. Health and Safety Executive (2011) (www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg420. (PDF))
  3. The Occupational Safety and Health Consultants Register (OSHCR) (https://www.oshcr.org/)
  4. Accident Book (BI 510) ( 2018 edition). Health and Safety Executive (2018).( https://books.hse.gov.uk/product/9780717666935/Accident-book-BI-510-2018-Edition-Paperback/?FO=1356943 )