In the latest small business advice post from The London Economic, we talk about that subject that is one of the biggest turn-offs for entrepreneurs and business owners, Health & Safety. However, make sure you’re one of the business owners that doesn’t start thinking about this AFTER you’ve ended up in court! Health and safety is of great importance in the workplace and you should check regularly that you are complying with the basic health and safety regulations required for your business size, type and industry.
First, conduct a risk assessment. This will determine what elements of your workplace could cause harm to people and then help you decide whether you are doing enough to protect people from these issues. This risk assessment should list what the risk is, what you are already doing to deter it, what measures can be taken to improve the control of the risk and who should be working to control it. It’s a good exercise to do each quarter, to check if everything is in order. Your risk assessment should be kept on file for future reference.
Do you have a health and safety policy in place for your business? If not then one needs to be written up immediately, this guideline ensures everyone is on the same page when it comes to keeping the work environment safe and details what measures need to be taken in the event of an accident, fire or disaster.
Fire safety is of great importance. You must carry out a fire risk assessment and put in place the appropriate safety measures to ensure that there is minimal risk in your workplace and that your staff know what to do should a fire break out. But that’s just skimming the surface when considering what is required for fire safety – here’s the full regulation document which might be quite an eye opener.
Security is, of course, of importance when considering the safety of you and your staff while working. If staff members are working alone, late at night, you must ensure you have installed high quality security doors to keep them feel secure and have also chosen the right staff for the job. Young, disabled or pregnant workers could be at greater risk if working on their own so ensure they will remain safe taking on such a job.
When it comes to health and safety you should also ensure you have provided your staff with the right training and information they need to go about their jobs without risk. Ensure training is provided for new starters and refresher courses are implemented every year for current workers.
You should also ensure the welfare facilities are a good standard for your employees, to ensure they are working in a comfortable environment. Toilets and wash basins, drinking water, a reasonable working temperature, ample lighting, comfortable workstations and a clean working space are of the greatest importance but you can find a full list here, featuring more of the most important requirements.
When it comes to health and safety regulations you should already have a good idea if your business is meeting the expectations of the Government and your employees. If your building is not up to standard, ensure you have any risks fixed immediately to save yourself from fines or even a law suit in the future.
For more SME business advice, see The London Economic business section.