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How to improve health and safety within your business

Aside from the obvious benefits of minimising risks to your employees in the workplace – avoiding injuries, not being sued for negligence – making sure health and safety protocols are followed to the letter will let your staff know that you value their wellbeing. They’ll feel more like important parts of the business, minded to protect its interests and keep an eye out for any flaws or hazards that may harm colleagues or the business itself.

The Health and Safety Executive exists in the UK to ensure that employers and employees alike are protected in the workplace. The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 is the foundation upon which this duty of care is built, the legislation itself forming the guidelines any employer needs to follow to make sure their business is compliant.

What are the pluses of good health and safety practice? Well, you wouldn’t be breaking the law, for a start. But you’d also notice any number of uplifting effects, including a reduction in the number of days lost to sickness and injury, better staff retention, more motivated staff and, in turn, a boost to productivity. You’d be protecting the reputation of your company, not to mention shielding it from damaging legal action. You’d most likely see a cut in your insurance premiums, too, by demonstrating your company’s adherence to health and safety regulations.

There are a numbers of ways you can minimise the risks of accidents occurring in the workplace. The term ‘workplace’ covers anything from an office, a company vehicle or an off-site operation. You might want to invest in anything from high visibility ‘wet floor’ signs to ultrasonic obstacle detection for your truck fleet.

You could also try the following:

Risk assessment: This should be the starting point for any health and safety policy, with the emphasis being on common sense and good judgement. An assessment can be broken down into five stages: hazard identification, realising who might be at risk and why, developing precautions, recording your findings and implementing them, and reviewing and updating the assessment regularly (say, every six months to a year).

Eradicating slips and trips: Probably the most avoidable cause of workplace accidents, falls can be caused by walkways that are wet or in disrepair, as well as poor weather. Appropriate footwear, maintenance and signage are crucial yet easily achieved, while good housekeeping – acting quickly to mop up spillages and so on – is a must.

Regular electrical checks: Health and Safety law requires that any and all electrical equipment in the workplace is checked regularly by qualified technicians to prevent accidents occurring. Whether it’s a kettle that doesn’t turn off or a flickering desk lamp, seemingly insignificant faults could cause injury if left unchecked for too long. Check with the Health and Safety Executive to find out how frequent these checks should be.

The BBC has more on how to reduce the risks your employees might face in the workplace. Doing so doesn’t have to be a costly or time-consuming venture, and though it may seem tedious, good health and safety practice is designed to prevent harm to those you employ and health-related expense to your business.

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