Health And Safety Basics For Small Businesses
Health and safety is important for every business. But the difference between large and small businesses is that a large business likely has dedicated personnel responsible for ensuring health and safety across the organisation.
Smaller businesses and start-ups often lack the resources to have a dedicated health and safety officer, but that doesn’t mean health and safety is no less significant. Ensuring you have health and safety basics in place will help you protect your employees and customers, and ensure your business is doing everything it can to operate safely.
Explore some of the following health and safety basics to give your business the best start.
Familiarise yourself with the rules
In the UK, we’re fortunate that health and safety is taken very seriously. Businesses have a responsibility to their employers and anyone who steps on their premises and risk fines and prosecution for failure to comply.
Every business needs to consider health and safety, but for businesses with fewer than five employees, you may not need a written down health and safety policy – although it is recommended.
Familiarise yourself with the Health and Safety Executive’s guidance which is there to keep your business safe.
Make someone responsible for health and safety
Even without a dedicated health and safety officer, it still needs to be someone’s responsibility in the office. This could be the owner or manager of a small business, or someone else who is happy to be responsible and carry out the required duties. They should be able to train new employees about different procedures and be responsible for ensuring the right documentation and procedures are in place.
You should also have at least one trained first-aider who can respond in an emergency. This can be an excellent skill for all employees, and you should encourage as many as possible to sign up.
Bring in some outside help
There are health and safety experts who could provide your business with some valuable guidance, and even draft policies on your behalf. Having health and safety experts identify hazards and risks and how to mitigate them can be valuable, helping you manage things going forward.
Create and communicate a health and safety policy
A health and safety policy is there to inform your employees about different procedures and make sure all risks and mitigations are covered. Preparing a health and safety policy can be straightforward if you follow the correct guidance, although you may want to have it checked over by an expert.
With your policy in place, you can also focus on communicating your policy to your employees. This should be done when they first join your business, and you can hold regular refresher sessions to ensure everyone is fully aware of the rules. Fire drills and other safety exercises can be beneficial to keep different procedures fresh in everyone’s minds.
Workplace safety is everyone’s responsibility, and employees will feel more confident in their working environment if they know what the rules are and what they need to do in an emergency.
Book in regular checks for your electricals and equipment
Your office is full of equipment that could pose a risk if it were to develop a fault. Having electricals PAT tested on a regular basis could be vital for your insurance, as well as ensuring the safety of your employees and your office space. You will need someone qualified to do this, but it’s a small price to pay for ensuring the safety of your business.
Your electricals aren’t the only things that need regular testing. Your fire alarms and other fire safety equipment should also undergo regular checks to make sure everything is in working order. There are some tips for checking your fire safety equipment, including fire extinguisher testing guidance to make sure that everything is checked correctly. Pay attention to key expiration dates and get things checked out sooner if you believe there’s a fault or issue with any of your equipment.
Health and safety is crucial to the wellbeing of your employees. It’s important that they feel protected while working, and that they feel confident knowing what to do in an emergency. It’s important to remember that health and safety is constantly changing and evolving, and will continue to do so as your business grows. Make health and safety a priority for your business, no matter its size to help protect the health and safety of anyone who walks through your doors.