Health and Safety guidelines and legislation are every changing and can be complex. Read some of our most commonly asked questions and please get in touch on +44 (0)1434 674820 if you have additional quires.

Frequently asked questions of health and safety consultants

1. What is a hazard?

2. What is a risk?

3. What is a risk assessment and a method statement?

4. What are the general fire responsibilities?

5. Do I have to provide my employees with health and safety training?

6. How do I report an accident?

7. Do I need a health and safety policy?

8. I have been asked to provide a form of H&S accreditation, what is available and how do I achieve it?

9. How many first-aiders do I need?

10. When does CDM 2007 (Construction, Design and Management Regulations 2007) apply to a project?

11.What are my health & safety responsibilities?


1. What is a hazard?

A hazard in the workplace is any practice, process, or condition that could result in injury, illness, death or property damage.

2. What is a risk?

A risk is the chance, high or low, that any hazard will actually cause somebody harm.
For example, working alone away from your office can be a hazard. The risk of personal danger may be high. Electric cabling is a hazard. If it has snagged on a sharp object, the exposed wiring places it in a 'high-risk' category.

3. What is a risk assessment and a method statement?

Risk assessments

Employers are required to evaluate risks to safety and health and take action to improve the level of protection given to workers. This process is called a risk assessment, and involves identifying hazards and assessing the associated risk.

  1. Identify the associated hazards from the activity
  2. Consider what harm they may cause
  3. Consider who might be harmed.
  4. Most importantly, decide what (control) measures are necessary to prevent the hazard causing harm to those identified operatives.
  5. Also consider what improvements to your control measures may be required that are not currently in place.

There is also a simple description of a risk assessment. “A risk assessment is nothing more than a careful examination of what, in your work, could cause harm to people, so that you can weigh up whether you have taken enough precautions or should do more to prevent harm. The aim is to make sure that no one gets hurt or becomes ill. A risk assessment involves identifying the hazards present in any undertaking (whether arising from work activities or from other factors, e.g. the layout of the premises) and then evaluating the extent of the risks involved, taking into account existing precautions".

Method Statement

A method statement is a useful way of describing the exact process involved in specific work activities which represent a significant risk if not followed. The statement need be no longer than necessary to achieve these objectives effectively.

A method statement differs from a risk assessment as it describes the step by step safety process from the preparatory work before the activity to its completion.

The method statement should be clear and illustrated by simple sketches where necessary. Avoid ambiguities or generalisations, which could lead to confusion. Statements are for the benefit of those carrying out the work and their immediate supervisors and should not be overcomplicated.

4. What are the general fire responsibilities?

You must carry out (and review regularly) a fire risk assessment to identify the potential for fire to occur in the workplace and cause harm to employees and persons in, or in the immediate vicinity of, the premises.

You must provide clear, appropriate information and instruction (and training where necessary) to your employees and anyone else working on your premises, e.g. contractors and their employer(s)

You should record the actions taken to maintain your fire precautions system in a Fire Log Book, keep it up to date and make it available for inspection by nay enforcing authorities.

For more information on your responsibilities call Aegis now.   

5. Do I have to provide my employees with health and safety training?

You must provide appropriate information, instruction and training for to the activities that your employees are carrying out. For example, any employees who carry out tasks involving moving and handling loads which may be potentially hazardous should be provided with manual handling training.

You should always include health and safety in induction for new employees (or employees moving to a different role), particularly if they will be placed in hazardous situations. The basic requirement for induction training includes details of your emergency procedures (fire etc.), your first aid provision and your accident reporting system. More specific information on the hazards and risks identified in your risk assessments and the appropriate control measures must then be provided.

Still not sure what training you need to provide? Call Aegis, who will be able to make an assessment on your company training needs and advise on the most suitable type of training and the best training providers.

6. How to report an accident?

You must have an accident book that records the date and details of each accident, including the injured person's name. Your accident book and any information you record about incidents and the individuals affected must comply with the Data Protection Act.

Under RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations) you are required to report certain serious injuries, diseases and dangerous incidents and absences to an enforcing authority.

Accidents resulting in incapacitation of more than seven days (excluding the day of the accident) must be reported. Employers have 15 days from the day of the accident in which to report it. Previously, accidents resulting in incapacitation of more than three days had to be reported.

Accidents resulting in incapacitation of more than three days must still be recorded by the employer.

Further information on the types of injuries reportable to the HSE can be found on the HSE website at. www.hse.gov.uk/riddor

RIDDOR reports for an injury can be filed online at https://extranet.hse.gov.uk/lfserver/external/F2508IE

7. Do I need a health and safety policy?

Yes. If you have five or more employees, the policy must be in writing, and you must bring it to the attention of your employees. Even if you have fewer employees, it is good practice to have a written policy but it is not required by law. Potential clients will often ask for a written H&S policy irrespective of how many employees you have and If you wish to tender for the for the contract it will be necessary to have one if they insist.

8. I have been asked to provide a form of H&S accreditation, what is available and how do I achieve it?

There are number of different accreditation bodies offering this this assessment process. Some of the main accreditation bodies are




If you have been asked to provide accreditation then it is because the principal contractor wants to ensure that your company meets certain health & safety standards.

To achieve H&S accreditation you may need support and guidance through each step of what can be a complex process. Aegis Safety will be happy to guide you through the process and ensure you gain a successful accreditation

9. How many first-aiders do I need?

The findings of your first-aid needs assessment will help you decide how many first-aiders are required. The HSE has a first aid at work assessment tool on its website at www.hse.gov.uk/firstaid/assessmenttool.htm

There are no hard and fast rules on exact numbers and you will need to take into account all the relevant circumstances of your particular workplace. Aegis can provide guidance on how many first-aiders or appointed persons might be needed.

10. When does CDM 2007 (Construction, Design and Management Regulations 2007) apply to a project?

The CDM 2007 Regulations apply to all common building, civil engineering and engineering construction work. However, if the construction work is expected to either:

  • last longer than 30 days or
  • involve more than 500 person days of construction work;
  • you must notify the HSE of the work commencing on site.
  • You will require a CDM co-ordinator, a principal contractor, a written construction phase plan and a health and safety file for a notifiable project.
  • Notification is not necessary for a building project carried out for a domestic client.

11.What are my health & safety responsibilities?

Depending on what position you hold in a company will depend on your responsibilities. Here are some general guidelines:

Senior executives/management

  • Setting out the overall health & safety culture
  • Sign the health & safety policy statement
  • Establishing the organisational structure
  • Ensuring resources and budget are adequate and reflect the company needs


  • Ensure all staff are competent
  • Ensuring risk assessments have been undertaken
  • Implementing the health & safety policy
  • Investigating accidents
  • Liaising with enforcement authorities


  • Work safely
  • Report any accidents, near misses or dangerous occurrences
  • Following safety rules

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