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The Ultimate Guide to Health and Safety for Your Business

If you’ve got your business off the ground, then you’re already doing well! Setting up and running a successful business takes a lot of dedication and courage, which few people have. You may be one of the best entrepreneurs who ever lived, but sometimes this isn’t enough. If business was that straightforward, you wouldn’t need to read posts like this! Health and safety is an important issue in modern business. Although some people see it as a hassle, it’s necessary. You need proper health and safety measures in place, both to protect your employees and yourself! Here’s a guide with everything you need to know.

First of all, what’s so important about health and safety? I think the government intended there to be a clue in the name! No matter what kind of business you’re running, there’s going to be at least some hazards. You might have heavy loads which are being handled by employees. Your business might utilise potentially dangerous machinery. There might be various toxic substances around the workplace. Even psychological things such as stress should be considered. Throughout history, various measures have come into place to prevent injury and illness. These days, the large majority of workplace accidents happen because they haven’t been prevented. Even though modern times have brought a massive emphasis on health and safety, there’s still work to be done. Hundreds of thousands of workplace accidents are recorded each year. This excludes the larger amount of work-related illnesses. You may think that large businesses account for the most incidents. Surprisingly, there’s a higher proportion within small businesses in the industrial sector. Even if you’re running an air bag and mattress factory, you still need to pay attention to health and safety!

health-safety

Image from Flickr

So what’s the first and most important reason behind health and safety? This is the physical well being of your workforce. Aside from that, it can also save you from a lot of costly legal issues! Whichever issue you’re most concerned about, health and safety isn’t something you can afford to ignore. You need to be treating it as a serious business objective, as important as any quota or other goal. You’ve probably had some kind of brush with the whole subject already. I know that working your way through health and safety law can be a real headache, but don’t slack off! Once you know some of the main principles involved with health and safety, the whole issue becomes more manageable.

The first principle is having an organised system in place. Take some time to write out a company policy that covers all safety rules which should be followed. You should also set out procedures for evacuations and other emergencies, and assign specific roles to people. At any given time, you need evidence that you can plan, organise, monitor and review every preventative measure at your company. If you have a legal team or know a private solicitor, it may be worth bringing them in. They’ll be able to help in making sure you meet your legal responsibilities.

danger-radiation

Image from Wikimedia

One of these responsibilities is hazard identification. Again, this phase is spelled out for you! Go through every potential hazard at your workplace, and make a written record. The next phase is assessment. Here, you’re basically going down the list of hazards, and ranking them by their potential to cause serious harm. Obviously, you should include all the relevant details in this process. However, you don’t have to make the records too complicated! Don’t think of it as a dreary legal obligation that you have to get right the first time. While you are required to do these assessments by law, you should think of your health and safety documents as a working tool. If you think any of your employees might have trouble understanding it, then it may be time for a rewrite. The primary function is to tell everyone at your business about hazards. You should also show that you’ve done everything necessary to prevent physical harm.

After you’ve looked into all the hazards at your business, it’s time to start tackling them. You need to have adequate risk control measures at your company. These need to be well thought-out, used, maintained, and checked often enough to make sure they work. Some issues may be hard to spot, like corrosion in sprinklers. Discover corrosion control services here.You may also need to consider emergency back-up measures, like evacuations and health surveillance. Once all of these are in place, your employees need to be informed and trained in them. Some employees may require supervision as well. Don’t worry, this isn’t all left to you! The law deals with most of these measures in detail. Health and safety legislation gives every business appropriate milestones to measure themselves against. These will help you determine whether your policy is up to “reasonably practicable” standards or not. Generally, you’ll be going through a lot of laws requiring you to reduce or completely eliminate hazards in your workplace. Some measures are easier to implement than others. For example, if there’s any dangerous machinery at your business, this can often be solved by setting up a simple rail guard. Respirators, protective footwear and so on should only really be used as a last resort. Try to target the hazards at their source before putting your employees in suits of armour!

After all this, you’re almost done! There are just a few more technical bits you need to cater for and your workplace will be fully legal. You need to have a system in place for recording any accidents that happen. There are certain workplace, welfare and first aid standards you need to make sure you’re meeting. There are certain local authorities, along with a health and safety executive, who need to be notified about your business. Finally, you should look to acquire some employee liability insurance.

Go through this guide carefully. Afterwards, your business will be completely guarded against health and safety issues. The amount of legal jargon and pedantic regulations can be a hassle. However, I’m sure you’d prefer the work to a class-action lawsuit against your business! Make sure to set up the right measures, and maintain them too.

About Subodh Tandon

Subodh is a full time marketing consultant and a skilled blogger. His area of interest belongs to marketing and finance related news and love to share all of those topics over the internet. You can catch him directly through this blog.