Doctors and dental practices have a responsibility to protect employees and patients or other members of the public when they are in their surgery. When accidents happen, you need to be protected.
Understanding Employer and Public Liability
While the potential risks will vary across different sectors, generally the types of possible accidents will be similar.
For example, employees might make a claim for accidents such as slips and trips, or injuries caused by workplace equipment or tools, which would be employers’ liability.
Patients and third parties may claim for slips and trips, a fall on level surfaces, being hit by workplace equipment or defective premises. This would be public liability.
Both liability insurances are a legal requirement for practices so it is important to make sure you get a good level of cover that suits your situation.
You can also help to protect yourself by minimising the chance of any accident occurring. This obviously helps to protect your reputation as a professional, supports your moral obligations and helps to reduce the total cost in the event of an incident.
Follow this checklist
Following a few key principles will help you and your practice meet its health and safety obligations.
Here’s a guide to a few steps you can follow.
Have a plan
To follow legislation and keep your liability insurance valid, it’s important to have a well thought out risk management plan. This requires knowing the requirements for your business, good planning, having controls in place, and monitoring and reviewing processes.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has guidance for small business leaders. This will talk you through how to assess risks and manage your plan. You should also make sure that you employ the support of someone who is knowledgable about the regulations and your practice to assist with compliance.
Do you need to record risk assessments?
If you have five or more employees in your practice, then you need to record a general risk assessment.
Risk assessments are a fundamental part of health and safety and will be used as the basis of your defence for any liability claim. Your risk assessments should detail what risks you identify and your plans to mitigate these.
Lead from the top
It’s always important for the leadership team to own risk management and health and safety practices. When your top team embraces the process and oversees its implementation, the rest of the practice will follow.
It’s not enough just to have rules, you need to communicate them to your team effectively and make sure they fully understand their role in health and safety management.
Read the guidance
It helps to know what guidance to follow. Speak to your broker about what help and support they can give you to follow the relevant health and safety guidelines in order to keep your insurance valid and potentially reduce your premium. In addition, read the guidance from HSE.
Consider your insurance
We always recommend that you work with a trusted broker to make sure that you have the right level of cover. Find out more about Practice insurance, which includes employers’ and public liability cover.