This Content Was Last Updated on April 5, 2023 by Jessica Garbett
Obviously we are accountants not H&S advisers, but we know people look to us for business advice. So here are some basics around H&S for a Yoga Teacher, largely based around the experience of our Principal and MD Jessica who owns a yoga studio.
First bear in mind H&S applies to all businesses in all circumstances – so if you rent a venue to teach in, for example, then both you and the venues owners need to review H&S risks.
The Health and Safety Executive, a Government Body, have a good guide to H&S on their website
HSE: Health and safety made simple
There are three main requirements:
- Designate someone to look after H&S – for many Yoga Teachers that will be you – however studios may appoint someone other than the owner, eg studio manger.
- Prepare a H&S policy
- Prepare Risk Assessments
Larger businesses, eg studios, may have further obligations, including staff consultation. HSE website will assist in understanding these.
HSE say “As an employer, you must appoint a competent person or people to help you meet your health and safety legal duties” – however be aware H&S is also about responsibility to the public and customers, not just staff – the employer reference there is a bit of a red herring.
They go on to say:
“They should have the skills, knowledge and experience to be able to recognise hazards in your business and help you put sensible controls in place to protect workers and others from harm.”
“It’s not usually essential for them to have formal qualifications and they’re not required by law to have formal training, although it can help.”
“Usually, managing health and safety isn’t complicated and you can do it yourself with the help of your workers. You know your workplace best and the risks associated with it.”
“The law says that every business must have a policy for managing health and safety.
“A health and safety policy sets out your general approach to health and safety. It explains how you, as an employer, will manage health and safety in your business. It should clearly say who does what, when and how.
“If you have five or more employees, you must write your policy down. If you have fewer than five employees you do not have to write anything down, but it is useful to do so.
“You must share the policy, and any changes to it, with your employees.”
Although many Yoga Teachers won’t have staff, our advice would be to have a written H&S policy, however it need not be complicated, and could be incorporated into Risk Assessments.
HSE say the policy should cover:
- Statement of Intent
- Responsibilities – who is responsible in your business
- Arrangements for H&S
Risk Assessments can induce a bit of anxiety in people – how through do they need to be? What are the risks?
HSE’s guidance is a good place to start and includes examples
HSE: Managing risks and risk assessment at work
Here are some salient points from their guidance:
“Under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, the minimum you must do is:
- identify what could cause injury or illness in your business (hazards)
- decide how likely it is that someone could be harmed and how seriously (the risk)
- take action to eliminate the hazard, or if this isn’t possible, control the risk
“Assessing risk is just one part of the overall process used to control risks in your workplace.
“For most small, low-risk businesses the steps you need to take are straightforward”
HSE suggest the steps are:
- Identify hazards
- Assess the risks
- Control the risks
- Record your findings
- Review the controls
On a practical basis for Yoga teachers, you will need to think about:
- Risks from the premises, eg slip and trip, electrical safety, risk eg heaters and candles
- Risks to Students from teaching, eg injury
- Risks to Students from each other, eg crowding
- Studios will also need to consider risks to staff and contractors
And then how you could mitigate or manage these risks.
A couple of things to note:
- If you hire premises, eg a community hall, then the landlord should be assessing risk, but you must also do independently.
- Small businesses with less than five staff do not need to have written risk statements, but it would be good practice to have them anyway.
Risk Assessment has become a issue of focus post the Coronavirus lockdowns.
In general Coronavirus is no different to any other risk, think about:
- Sanitisation and cleaning
None of this need be onerous. No one is trying to catch you out.
You cannot cover every eventuality but look for the main risks and concerns, and document them, along with your approach to mitigating risks, eg
- “Risk of students tripping on step” – “control with signage and lighting”
- “Risk of student being injured in postures” – “control with teacher being trained and cautions to students not to over achieve”