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This contributed post is for informational purposes only. Please consult a business, financial and legal professional before making any decisions.
When you are in charge of a business, you’re juggling a lot of plates. You have to keep a business as updated as possible in the eyes of your customers. You have to keep your profits rolling in and you have to make sure that you are listening to the trends that change often in your industry. While you’re doing all that, you are also in charge of the hiring and firing that goes on in your company. You have a pool of employees that are your responsibility, and while every business works a little differently when it comes to workplace safety, ultimately the people that you bring on board are down to you. It doesn’t matter whether you are running an office, or whether you are leading a construction site, you have a responsibility to make the safety of your staff a huge priority.
You don’t have to be a health and safety leader to know what constitutes unsafe working conditions or practices. You don’t even have to be an expert in safety training. However, you do have to know what the safety hazards are in your workplace and you do have to have some basic knowledge in First Aid and fire safety to ensure that the people who are placing their trust in you as their manager are not subject to personal injury while in the workplace. The last thing that you need on your hands as a business owner is a legal suit that could put your insurance up, put your employees out of action and mean that you are branded as an uncaring leader. You need to be on the ball at all times, and this means checking out our safety tips for working in the office below.
Teach, Train, Lead
When you bring someone into your team, a bit part of your hiring process should be health and safety. It doesn’t matter whether your team sit at desks all day – workplaces assessments should still go ahead and the furniture that you provide for staff should be of utmost comfort and efficiency. This means checking out ergonomic chairs, footrests and screen protectors for eyes over a computer. Obviously, the health and safety training that you do for a construction role will be vastly different, but you can usually bring in outside trainers to handle that for you and sign people off as competent and knowledgeable before you allow them to work for your organization. Your safety policies should be in your company handbook, which should be accessible by employees at all times. This should include everything from what to do in a fire to what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. This also covers you if anyone does injure themselves, as there should be a protocol of what to do.
You’ve covered health and safety training as and when people join your team, but how often are you going over that information and making sure that people know the updated protocols and safety in the office. Keeping the safety recorded regularly and accurately means that you are keeping up with insurance procedures as well as ensuring your staff are aware of what is going on around them. Always make sure that you update safety records by employee, as then you can audit correctly and be up to date on who has and hasn’t had the correct safety training.
You should have visible safety equipment on site at all times and everything that you have on site, whether that is fire extinguishers or first aid kits, should be accessible to all who need them. These items are pretty standard, so you should also ensure that if required by your business, eye masks, gloves, eye wash stations and ear defenders should be on your property at all times. Your business will dictate what safety equipment that you need, but you should make sure that everyone is well trained and well-versed in how to use the equipment itself.
Clean & Clear
A safe workspace is one that is clean at all times. This means any hazardous waste, tools and equipment that is used regularly should be out of the way and not in any way nearby to anyone who could be caused an injury. A big part of health and safety in the workplace is keeping things tidy, even in an office computer cables can be hazardous, which means you should ensure that your cable tidies are keeping things out of the way and hidden. Always mark out safe walking paths in a warehouse environment, and make sure that fire doors are marked well. These safety tips sound so basic, but you would be surprised how many people don’t think about them for their business, thus putting themselves and their people in danger!
Business insurance is an important part of a company and where possible, you should be as up to date on the best insurance that your company can afford. You should check out this list of insurances that you should make sure that your business has so that you are completely covered in the event of a health and safety breach. Your disaster planning matters here, too, as you need to be ready for anything as a company that takes care of other people.
In a perfect world, every single business would put the needs of their employees first before their profits. It is an unfortunate fact that this isn’t always the case for some companies, but that doesn’t have to be yours. As your company grows, your health and safety practices will change and your need for certain insurances will grow. Learning about the new risks and how you can prevent them is a big part of your own learning as a business leader. Improving your practices with continuous tweaks and monitoring is how you can go from being a company that is only looking after themselves, to one that cares about the people that it hires.