Small Business Advice: How to Create a Safe Working Environment

Having a safe working environment for your employees is imperative. Health and safety regulations are now more prevalent than ever. You need to provide a safe working space for everyone on your payroll. It’s that simple. But, the reality of achieving this can be somewhat more complicated than the theory. After all, every reputable employer wants to have a safe workplace. But, it can be difficult to keep abreast of the many laws, rules and regulations that surround workplace safety.

This doesn’t have to be a minefield. Ensuring that you are creating a safe working environment is important. You can avoid lawsuits and a myriad of other problems. It’s not just disgruntled employees that you need to be aware of. By not investing in a safe environment, you could be putting your reputation on the line. You should be the embodiment of professionalism and good working practices. After all, you don’t want to be involved in a PR scandal. This is a sure-fire way of ensuring that your clients and prospective employees avoid your company like the plague.

Having a safe working environment is of detriment to your company. Here are some practical ways that you can make sure that your company is the embodiment of safety.

The Employers Responsibility

As an employer, it is your responsibility to provide a safe working environment. You need to make sure that you are following the wealth of health and safety laws that are in place. If you are unsure of what is required from you, there is a lot of information online. As a guideline, you need to provide a safe environment. But, you also need to take the helm of maintenance within your venture. You can take the opinion of your employees into consideration as feedback is really important. Some innovative tools like 360 degree feedback can help you achieve the same. Many accident solicitors have stated that the best way to avoid accidents is to ensure that you are compliant.

  • These compliance rules are:
  • Making sure you have maintained your company equipment
  • Minimizing risks to your employee’s health
  • Providing health and safety information and training
  • Provide and appoint a health and safety officer
  • Have an emergency plan for when things go wrong
  • Provide first aid and care facilities
  • Make sure that ventilation is in use
  • Be aware of lighting issues
  • Provide ergonomic furniture

This outlook on business can seem somewhat draconian. But by having these facilities in place, it is the best way of minimizing accidents. What is more, it ensures that you provide a safe working culture.

Register Your Company

Many companies do not legally have to register their company with the appropriate bodies. But, if you want to be taken seriously, it may be worth doing so. If you deal with hazardous chemicals, you are legally obliged to register your company with the local authority. This ensures that you have the licensing in place to operate. Without this, you could land yourself in hot water. Registering your company with HSE is a great way of promoting a safe working culture. But, more importantly, they can guide you in the right direction when it comes to avoiding workplace accidents.

Risk Assessments: Are You Doing Your Bit?

Risk assessments can be something of a burden. But, let’s face it; compiling risk assessments is better than being in court. Think carefully about the risks in your business. Assessing the risk in your company is an active way of eradicating or minimizing accidents. In the crux of it all, you need to ensure that you are monitoring any potential risks in your venture. Risk assessments are the best way to do this.

  • Risks can include:
  • Loose cables
  • Electrical equipment
  • Loose flooring
  • Inadequate lighting
  • Excessive noise levels
  • Moving traffic on the site
  • Potential fire risks

Of course, this list is not exhaustive. Identifying the problems is the first step in negotiating how to deal with them. Once you have determined problem areas, you can then devise a strategy on how to eradicate them for the long term. This not only gives your company a safer working environment, but it minimizes accidents that can be costly.

Do endeavor to make notes on your risk assessment. Templates can be found online if you are unsure of the correct procedure.

Make sure that your company is revising its risk assessment twice per year. Annually is not enough to combat problem areas within the business.

An Employee Has Suffered an Injury: What Next?

Of course, you can take all of the required preventative measures, but accidents can still occur. If an employee has suffered an injury in the workplace, you need to remain calm. As long as you have the appropriate policies in place, you should not be held accountable.

When an employee is injured, do ensure that you seek out the proper medical care. This could be from your health and safety officer. But, you could also utilize your first aid officer. This should only be done if the accident is not serious. In the case of a serious accident, contact the emergency services. Once you have attained the necessary information, you need to log this information in your accident book. Compile an adequate accident report. Get witness statements from other employees. This can prove to be a useful tool in your arsenal, should an employee seek out medical compensation. Having robust evidence is vital.

Determining Your Policies

So, now you have the structure of how to operate a business that is safe, you need to consider how to put this into practice correctly. You need to devise an effective policy. Having a policy in writing is a definite way of making sure that people are aware of the safety culture that is prevalent in your venture.

A safety policy that is visible to all employees is critical. Of course, the policy is only valuable if it is adhered to. Having a hard line approach to health and safety is essential. You need to make sure that the policy is reviewed on a regular basis. Try to do this annually. Host staff training days. Make sure that everyone is aware of their responsibilities in maintaining a safe workplace. Promoting a positive attitude towards safety is essential. Both you and your employees deserve to work in a safe environment.