If you run a modern business, you must take health and safety seriously. You employees need to be looked after while performing their duties. No matter what you might do to make a profit, you will be in a lot of trouble if anyone suffers an injury or illness due to your negligence. For that reason, you need to ensure that you meet all industry standard regulations. It’s not difficult to find out which rules apply to you, and there is lots of help at hand should you feel confused about anything. If one of your employees makes a claim against you due to bad working conditions, you could become bankrupt in a matter of months. With that in mind, you need to start work straight away on improving your processes, and guaranteeing workers are not exposed to more danger than is necessary.
Standard health and safety regulations are available online from government websites. However, you might like to employ the services of a specialist firm if you need some extra help. Health and safety experts Praxis 42 and their competitors should be your first port of call. The services these companies provide are excellent. They could mean the difference between you staying within the law, or being on the receiving end of potentially damaging court cases. Considering that, it’s a good idea to get in touch with them at the earliest possible opportunity if you can’t deal with everything in-house. There are also lots of informative articles available online if you just need some extra information.
Perform risk assessments for every job
Before you can work out the best ways of keeping your employees safe, you need to perform risk assessments for every task they have to undertake. That involves writing down each of the processes and identifying which elements could cause illness or injury. You will then have to look for ways in which you can limit the chances of people having accidents. If your staff are working around dangerous chemicals, it’s vital that you provide them with the best safety equipment on the market. Likewise, if there is a lot of heavy lifting involved for certain jobs, it might be worth investing in some back, knee and shoulder supports.
Keep written records of accidents
You should always keep written records of any accidents that occur. That is for a number of different reasons. Firstly, it will allow you to look at the actions that led to such an incident and make changes to ensure it doesn’t happen again in the future. Secondly, keeping records will help to cover you should an employee decide to make a claim against your company. Whenever something bad happens, both yourself and the worker need to write full statements that explain the events leading up to the incident. Some “no win no fee” claims firms might encourage your employee to bend the truth a little in the hope of securing a higher compensation payment. Your signed statements should limit the chances of that happening.
Ask your staff for input
At the end of the day, your staff are the ones best placed to highlight any dangers you might have overlooked. For that reason, you should consider holding monthly meetings and allowing them to raise any concerns. While you don’t have to make changes based on every bit of feedback you receive, hearing about certain problems might help you to come up with good ideas. You should always work with your team when it comes to health and safety. The burden is not yours alone. Your employees should also do their best to ensure they avoid injuries, even if the courts don’t see it that way.
Find out about existing medical conditions
A few members of your team may have existing medical conditions that mean they are at a higher risk of injury than other workers. It is your duty to find out about these conditions and make changes to your processes accordingly. For instance, you don’t want to let anyone drive a forklift truck in your warehouse if they’re prone to fits or narcolepsy. While that might seem like an extreme example, you should now understand what we mean, right? People with existing back and lumber conditions should now spend the bulk of their day performing heavy lifting. You might have to move people around and change who does which job after receiving this information, but it’s better to find out before something bad happens.
Conduct fire drills
Nobody likes to think about their business going up in flames. However, you need to implement procedures for dealing with such an incident if it occurs. While your company might be important to you, the lives of your workers should hold the most relevance here. You need to make sure each and every staff member knows what they are supposed to be doing in the event of a fire. Choose a meeting point at the back of your car park or somewhere a decent distance away from your premises. Also, you’ll want to ensure a register is always to hand. That way, you will know instantly if one of your team is still inside the building.
Keep first aid kits on-site
Regardless of how much effort you put into keeping your workers safe, sometimes bad things are going to happen. That’s just a fact of life. You will obviously call the emergency services if they’re required. Even so, you should always keep well-stocked first aid kits on site to deal with your staff member until help arrives. The law states you must have at least one team member around who is qualified to perform first aid. So, it would be wise to enroll a few of your staff in an appropriate course as soon as possible.
You should now have a much better understanding of what it takes to keep your workers safe while on the job. As we said at the beginning of this article, sometimes the best option is to spend a bit of cash and employ the professionals. However, you shouldn’t have too much trouble implementing a suitable health and safety policy yourself. That is especially the case if you have less than ten team members working for your company.
Image Credits: Elliott Brown