How Much Do You Really Know About Health and Safety in Business?

It certainly isn’t the sexiest of subjects, but like it or not health and safety is an all essential part of building a successful business. The good news is that learning the basics and implementing them is not as difficult as you may imagine and so here we offer a simple guide to get you off and running.

What are my Responsibilities?

Simple! You are responsible for people and that includes staff, customers and anyone else who enters your shop, factory or office. Health and safety regulations are put in place to protect people and most of the measures you need to take in order to do this are common sense – once you have identified the risks.

Perhaps the best place to start is by conducting a thorough risk assessment both inside and outside you place of work.

Risk Assessments

Risk assessments involve taking a close look at your business premises with the express intention of identifying any potential risks to health and safety. The easiest way to do this is by downloading an exemplar or template and then adapting it to suit your needs.

The kind of hazards that you need to look out for include:

  • Slips and trips
  • Hazards that arise from manual handling of equipment or supplies
  • Computer display screens
  • Electrical – risk of shock form poorly maintained or installed equipment
  • Fire – extinguishers and routes of escape for example

Once you have identified any potential risks, you then need to document them on a risk assessment form, say who may be affected and say what you will do to ensure protection.

Taking Action to Protect People

You must take actions to protect people and on a basic level this will simply involve removing obstacles that people could cause slips or trips or providing hard hats and safety boots. Whilst more involved measures are things like having regular portable appliance tests (PAT) performed, by qualified testers, to make sure electrical items are safe.

This will also mean taking into account the specific needs of anyone who has a disability, who is pregnant or who is under 18 years of age. Then the final stage is to write a health and safety policy for the business.

Writing a Health and Safety Policy

No matter how large or small your business is, it is good practice to have a health and safety policy. Generally speaking, this will take the form of a leaflet or a brochure sized document and will set out your approach to health and safety in the workplace. It should also say who is responsible for ensuring that the policy is followed and contain details of your liability insurance.

So, just by following the simple steps we have outlined, both you and your business will have become health and safety compliant and can get back to business.

Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.