Can I have a business energy contract if I work from home?
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They range from getting the right insurance to making sure your workplace is safe and hazard-free.
Whether you employ staff or not, you may need insurance if your work puts you in contact with the public.
Public liability cover is designed to pay out if a customer or other member of the public is injured or has their property damaged as a result of something you or your business are responsible for.
So if a customer slips on a wet floor in your shop or café and makes a claim against you, your insurance should pay out. Similarly if you are a tradesman and you cause damage in a customer’s home you should be covered.
If you have staff, you will in most circumstances be required by law to buy employers’ liability insurance. This covers claims from employees who suffer injury or illness as a result of working for you.
The vast majority of employers need this type of policy but if you employ only family members, there is no legal requirement to take out insurance – although it may nonetheless be sensible to do so.
If you have bought employers’ liability insurance you need to display the certificate of cover where employees and health and safety inspectors can view it.
The best way of avoiding claims from employees is by maintaining a safe workplace. The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) says that for most small businesses, managing health and safety doesn’t need to be complicated, expensive or time-consuming.
Rachel Grant from the HSE Growth and Business Unit says: “If you have taken reasonable steps to prevent accidents or harm to your employees – and the injury or illness was caused after 1 October 2013 – you shouldn’t have to pay compensation.”
If you have five employees or more, you should have a written health and safety policy. This should state who has overall responsibility for health and safety and who has day-to-day responsibility, as well as what these responsibilities entail – for example, making sure fire escape routes are clear and well signed.
It should also say where the first aid box and accident book are located.
The HSE has some tools to help you draw up your own policy on its website here.
This entails working out what the potential hazards are in your business. For low-risk workplaces such as shops and offices, the HSE has an interactive risk-assessment tool.
Once the assessment has been carried out, you should work out what steps are needed to minimise risks.
Again, if you have five or more members of staff, you will need to make a written record of this assessment and the conclusions you’ve drawn.
Grant adds: “Few workplaces stay the same and sooner or later you will bring in new equipment, substances or procedures that could lead to new hazards. It makes sense to review your risk assessment on a regular basis. If anything significant changes, check your risk assessment and update it.”
You should talk to your staff about any concerns they have about workplace safety, as well as tell them about any new measures or policies.
Depending on the size and nature of your business you may need to offer training, although this could be as basic as explaining the fire evacuation procedure or showing employees how to use the first aid kit.
It should be clear who is responsible for first aid arrangements, and you should keep a record of any mishaps in an accident book.
Certain serious accidents or near-misses should be officially reported: for more guidance, see here.
Finally, every employer must display the health and safety law poster or provide a pocket card copy to each member of staff.
"Very easy. Bea Luseni very efficient & knowledgeable."This review was posted by Alan Duffy on the 31st of March 2017
Super helpful and easy to work with
"Recommend this company in a heartbeat - Nicole Borneuf was super easy to talk to, was not pushy in the slightest, very helpful and replied with all my questions very professionally and did all she could to help. I had to deal with a few companies to sort my business energy out, all but Nicole were too pushy for my liking and I refused to follow through with them. Thank Nicole - you are a credit to your company, thank you for making the stressful energy change so easy."This review was posted by Mia Drew on the 29th of March 2017
An Extremely Competent Company
"Switch my business has not only helped my SME secure a good energy deal for the second year running but Jessica swiftly found a alternative supplier for me when I was let down on the day of switching by the new contractual provider I had chosen some 4 months previously. Being suddenly out of contract and without provider is everyone's energy nightmare. Greatest thanks."This review was posted by S McMillan on the 29th of March 2017
Helpful, friendly and we saved lots of money!
"Jessica Purnell was helpful and friendly, she made the whole process easy and simple AND we saved lots of money thanks Jess"This review was posted by Melanie Baker on the 23rd of March 2017
Quick & Easy
"Kabibi was very helpful and the whole process was very efficient. The one small reservation I had was that I was phoned up by Kabibi almost immediately having received my online quote - which wasn't enough time for me to finish reading the quotes! Fortunately she was able to assist me in a greater savings on both Gas & Electricity, and so as long as the switchover is seamless I will remain very happy with the service."This review was posted by Amanda Brown on the 21st of March 2017