Informa Markets

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November 25, 2011

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Myth-busting guide for voluntary sector and SMEs

Over-zealous interpretations of health and safety rules are confronted and clarified in a new guide published by the Association of British Insurers (ABI).

The guide provides simple, practical advice for small businesses and the voluntary sector to help them assess risk without burdening themselves with excessive concerns. It also offers tips on getting a competitive insurance quote and building evidence of risk management, which can be used in defence of a claim.

The five key principles, which form the focus of the guide, are:

  • get evidence of senior management commitment on health and safety issues;
  • designate a competent person to be responsible for health and safety, or seek an external specialist;
  • adopt a structured approach to planning, monitoring and reviewing health and safety;
  • complete a suitable and sufficient risk assessment; and
  • encourage employees to be supportive of health and safety practices.

The guide received the endorsement of Housing minister Grant Shapps MP, who commented: “Health and safety needs to be proportionate to risk. All too often, tick-box bureaucracy and the fear of falling foul of the rules gets in the way of common sense, tying up firms in unnecessary red tape and preventing voluntary groups from holding local community events.”

The ABI’s director of general insurance, Nick Starling, added: “Organisations want to focus on what they do best and insurance is designed to help them, not block them, despite what some of the myths would have us believe.

“The five key principles outlined in the guide provide small businesses and the voluntary sector with much needed clarity on health and safety issues.”

To download the guide, go to

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