Customers and
other visitors

All organisations, regardless of what they provide and the type of premises they work from, must consider the health and safety of visitors, customers and other people, including disabled persons, who are not employees.

Visitors may have a statutory or other right of access or have been invited to the site, or may need access to fulfil a duty or commitment to the business or to someone else. Examples include visits to collect or deliver goods, read a gas or electricity meter, inspect plant and machinery, measure waste or emissions, carry out an insurance survey, negotiate a sale or purchase, discuss a contract, undertake maintenance and repairs, service equipment or respond to an emergency or alarm signal.

Consider the variety of people who may visit your premises or site, for example:

  • contractors and service providers, e.g. cleaners;
  • customers;
  • emergency services;
  • neighbours, passers-by and other members of the public (exercising a right of way, often due to shared access or a public footpath through a site); and
  • trespassers and those who do not have lawful access.

For organisations whose primary purpose is the sale of goods or the provision of facilities, the footfall of third parties within their premises can be very high. Other businesses will have third parties on site far less frequently and in much smaller amounts.

Regardless of whether the third parties are expected and how many arrive at your premises, there will need to be appropriate health, safety and welfare arrangements and plans incorporated in the health and safety policy.

  • Create and implement policies, procedures and practices to ensure compliance with legislation regarding health and safety, fire safety and disability discrimination.
  • Implement measures to ensure the health and safety of visitors and the general public following completion of suitable and sufficient risk assessments which identified the hazards. Include the following considerations in these risk assessments:

    - Duties and requirements outlined by health and safety, fire and disability discrimination laws;

    - Visitors’ lack of familiarity with the premises and the arrangements for their health, safety and welfare;

    - Emergency procedures;

    - Individuals who may require extra assistance (e.g. the very young, elderly or unwell , those whose first language is not English and anyone with mobility or sensory difficulties);

    - Unlawful access by children, criminals and trespassers; and

    - Co-operation and co-ordination with other employers (where a workplace is shared).
  • Provide all employees with information, instruction and training on how to manage and keep safe all types of potential visitors, so that they can recognise, understand and fulfil their duties.

    - Specific employee training may need to be provided for first aiders and fire wardens/marshals and for anyone else expected to co-ordinate emergency procedures.
  • Create and implement monitoring procedures to check on the arrangements which are in place.
  • Set a review frequency of the policies, procedures and practices when they are first established, and carry out additional reviews when planning significant changes to the building or layout, or to take account of experience or new or amended legislation or any other altered circumstances.
Find information on regulations that you and your business may need to comply with.
 
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Risk topics to consider when thinking about customers and other visitors include: