Health and Safety: Business Owners Take Note
As a business owner you need to be asking yourself a lot of different questions. Some of those main questions however are; what are our health and safety measures? Am I doing enough to ensure all my staff members are working in the best possible environment?
The safety of your employees should be paramount. So make sure you are taking the right steps in making sure all your employees feel safe and secure in the workplace. By setting up the right plans and keeping employees informed it can be the very difference in how your business copes in a time of crisis.
So, with all this in mind let’s look into some of the more important things you should consider.
Fire Safety Measures –
Have you got a fire safety plan in place? You might assume that a crisis such as a fire might never happen to you. But as the old rule goes ‘never say never’.
Fires are extremely common in any environment and as a business owner it is your responsibility to take the necessary steps to make your workspace the safest it can possibly be.
Think about all the equipment you might need such as fire extinguishers and fire alarms. Think about which different types might be best for your particular environment. Do some research.
Next consider providing training to your member of staff. You can outsource a specialist service where an expert would come in and train staff members on how to effectively use fire extinguishers.
Set up a easy to understand fire evacuation plan. Keep staff well informed of any changes to call points and where equipment can be found. Also keep these plans easy to see and accessible in different rooms so that they can be seen in the case of an emergency.
Another important point to consider is to always get your equipment serviced and checked over. The last thing you need in the case of fire is your fire extinguishers failing to work. So make sure you get your equipment regularly checked, fire extinguishers need to be looked at at least once a year.
First Aid –
First Aid is important in any working environment. As an employer you should provide the best possible care for your workers. This does not mean you need to be rushing off and stocking up on various bits of hospital equipment, but you do need to understand the best first aid needs for your business.
So the first steps to take is to carry out a ‘first-aid needs assessment’. These assessments are carried out so that employers can establish the best provisions should they need to carry out first aid within the business.
One of the first things that would need to be worked out would be whether your business environment is a low risk or a high-risk place to work.
Higher risks tend to be places that have heavy machinery or hazardous materials. Lower risk however tends to be places like offices and retail stores. For low risk environments usually a first aid box and an appointed person who takes responsibility of basic first aid is sufficient enough.
However, if you are in control of a high risk workplace you will need to have someone with the correct first aid training on site at all times.
So, what can you do to ensure your first-aid is the best is can be?
For starters providing members of staff with the right and necessary training can make an impact. Also providing a constant supply of first aid equipment. Provide your employees with the right information especially when it comes to knowing what to do in the case of a first aid emergency.
Finally, most importantly of all you must as an employer report and record any incidents and injuries by law. The same can be said for any cases of work related diseases that happen to employees whilst on site. All of this is important when it comes to identifying patterns and also when it comes to dealing with any work-related claims.
Asbestos Management –
When it comes to health and safety for any business, one of the key areas you must look into as a business owner and manager of a building is whether or not there are any asbestos containing materials present within the site.
Asbestos was a very popular material to use when it came to constructing buildings, this was due to the fact it is really strong and has excellent insulation properties. However studies have found that asbestos is also the cause of many different illnesses most common of these is asbestosis, which is a chronic fibrosis of the lungs and mesothelioma, this is a cancer which affects the lining of the lungs or the lower digestive tract. This caused a ban on anymore construction using asbestos containing materials in 1999.
However there are still a lot of buildings to this day with legacy ACM’s. These buildings need to be surveyed in order to decide the best course of action to take when it comes to managing the asbestos.
So, if you as a business owner own the building and you have members of staff work in the building, it is your responsibility to take the necessary measures to ensure no one is at risk of developing any asbestos related diseases. Have experts come in and perform an asbestos survey on your property and if you do have ACM’s on site take the time to set up an asbestos management plan for as long as the materials are still there.
Get evidence of what you have done-
So you have your health and safety plans set in place and you are ready to go about your daily business, but you have failed to keep everyone informed and someone has had a health and safety related accident, claiming they were not informed of all the necessary information. The best advice here really would be to hire a transcription service for any announcements such as this, have them make evidence of all you have said and make a note of who was present for the announcement.
For those who were not present, do the whole announcement again. Keep your business a professional, law abiding one and do yourself a favour, record everything. When it comes to health and safety claims within the workplace, the amounts that are processed is staggering.
So, if you find yourself, a business owner, in the midst of a legal battle. By recording everything you do, especially when it comes to health and safety, you are not only covering your back but also your business.