Health and safety at work have never been more important for the success of your brand as litigation resulting from an injury or other negligence can destroy your reputation and deplete your bank account. Employers need to follow a strict set of regulations to ensure all employees, customers, and supplier personnel remain safe while at work. That’s not only good business, it’s the law in most developed countries, where governmental agencies oversee your operation to ensure health and safety at work. This is important for many reasons, least of all that anyone entering your place of business can sue employers for negligence if they’re hurt in a workplace accident that wasn’t their fault. Plus, a lack of concern over employee welfare creates a poor corporate culture that doesn’t get the best efforts from your workers.
If you’re just starting out, you may find the regulations confusing. Or, you may be so overwhelmed with all the tasks you must complete that ensuring health and safety at work simply falls through the cracks. That’s where today’s post comes in as we list the top 5 requirements for health and safety at work to help you get a jump on this important task.
5 Tips to ensure health and safety at work
As we continue emerging from the pandemic, we are all too aware of how health threats can impact our business, our operations, and the economy at large. We’re still struggling to get employees back to the office, as well as dealing with snarled supply chains. While it might seem counterintuitive, this might be the perfect time to consider health and safety at work, while the office is still gearing up.
Here are 5 tips to set you on the right track.
Hire a specialist
Regulations designed to protect workers and others who enter your facility are often cumbersome and written in language that’s hard to understand for the average entrepreneur unless you are a lawyer. Plus, if you operate in different regions of the world, rules might vary greatly from one facility to the next. Even within the country following regulations is often difficult. I once worked with a company in Mexico as a consultant. They complained that different agencies came into the facility and cited them for violations. They’d fix the violations and pay the fine. Then, another agency would inspect the facility and cite them for violations that required them to change their setup again, sometimes returning it to how it was originally.
Having a health and safety specialist in the workplace is paramount to getting things right the first time and avoiding major fines or huge payments for injury. Someone trained with specialist knowledge in current health and safety regulations can advise you on how to set things up so everyone on the premises is protected from common sources of injury at all times. A specialist can also help advise you on an ongoing basis since regulations often change.
You don’t have to have a health and safety specialist around at all times but you will need to regularly call on one for routine advice. You may want to hire on an ad-hoc basis so you can use a specialist as needed without the ongoing expense associated with an employee. Obviously, at some point, you might grow to the point where you need a risk management employee full-time.
2. Create a health and safety policy
Creating a health and safety policy allows everyone involved in your business to understand ways to keep themselves and others safe in the workplace. Build this policy based on prevailing government regulations and require training for all employees and contractors. Place signs to warn of hazards in prominent locations. For instance, you should mark steps, especially a lone step with yellow tape to help it stand out from the level floor surrounding it. If you have hazardous material, provide adequate protection and things like eyewash stations for immediate treatment in case of an accident.
You should include a process for reporting potential hazards or accidents that occurred in the workplace and encourage workers to strive for 0 accidents. Some businesses proudly boast of the number of days since an accident to help keep morale up. Fortunately, you don’t need a long or complicated health and safety policy doesn’t need to be long and complicated.
Many employers are daunted by the prospect of writing a policy but it’s usually straightforward. There are many examples of health and safety policies online that you can take inspiration from.
3. Regularly check equipment
Part of keeping everyone safe in the workplace is making sure tools and equipment are safe and up to date. Consider purchasing software that keeps track of when equipment needs routine maintenance to ensure you perform this critical task on the schedule recommended by the manufacturer. For example, if you know you need safety valves every twelve months, you should put funding away to cover this and schedule replacement so you don’t forget.
If your workers are using old tools or using the incorrect tool, they’re far more likely to face injury. Tools get lost and worn out so one solution is to use a tool crib containing new tools that workers can use when they need something and don’t have the right tool or the one they have is worn out. You can even use a self-service vending machine as your tool crib and give workers who routinely use the tools a card allowing them access just like a credit card allows the machine to dispense a soda.
For remote equipment or equipment in dangerous locations, an IoT-connected device is a perfect way to monitor performance without endangering employees and it saves money.
4. Risk assessment
Businesses conduct a risk assessment, often led by your professional consultant, to reduce the risks to health and safety at work. The risks you identify determine the measures you need to implement to keep everyone safe. It may mean that you ask workers to wear certain safety equipment or carry out certain tasks when on the premises.
Once you’ve completed your risk assessment, you need to write a report on your findings and what you plan to do to ensure you minimize any risk. And, remember, risk assessment is part of your routine management so you need to repeat it periodically.
5. Get insurance
One of the most important aspects of health and safety is ensuring your business has sufficient insurance to cover it in case of injury since it’s not possible to avoid every potential danger. Whether you’re legally obligated to have it or not, it’s the best way of making sure your business is covered in the event of an accident.
If you found this article helpful, consider leaving a comment below or check out some of the recommended articles at the end.
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