Health and safety at work doesn’t need to be as complicated as many professionals make it out to be. Basically it’s about knowing the risks your business could pose and putting reasonable measures in place to reduce the likelihood of these risks occurring.
To help clarify the matter, provided below are some top tips for ensuring that your start up business complies with current legislation and employment laws.
1. Have a designated person.
Appoint a competent and designated person or persons to be responsible for the management of health and safety in your business. This may include you, an employee or an expert from outside the organization.
2. Put a policy in place.
Draw up a health and safety policy for your business. Detailing how you will manage health and safety in your organization, the policy should include who is responsible for what and any procedures which should be followed. If you have less than 5 employees this policy doesn’t need to be in writing but it is best practice.
3. Identify the hazards.
Identify what the potential risks are to your employees, contractors and the public. Work as an organization to find solutions and measures to help reduce these risks. This process is known as a risk assessment. By involving everyone in the organization it makes it easier to ensure that any measures put in place are followed. Also employees may be aware of risks that the employer is unaware of.
4. Record everything.
Again: Its good practice and mandatory if you have more than five employees.
Provide adequate training, advice and information to all your staff, volunteers and contractors who work with your organization. Make sure a record is kept of any training that takes place. Also make sure that this training is evaluated and repeated if necessary. Legislation and procedures may change so you need to ensure that any training material is accurate and up to date also.
6. Workplace facilities and working environment.
Make sure you provide adequate facilities to support your staff such as toilets and wash facilities, clean drinking water, personal storage and rest room and canteen areas. Ensure that your employees receive adequate breaks and have a pleasant working environment. You need to consider air quality, temperature, lighting, suitable equipment, protective clothing, cleanliness, windows, fire safety.
7. First aid and ill-health.
Ensure adequate facilities are in place for first aid and ill health. Ensure the presence of first aid kits on each site and if necessary a trained first aider to deal with any accidents that may occur. All accidents, injuries or work related diseases must be recorded and in some events reported to the health and safety executive.
8. Display your Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA) poster.
If you employ someone you must display the OSHA law poster (available through personnelconcepts.com). Alternatively, you should provide each member of staff with a pocket card. This poster highlights the employer and employees responsibility under current health and safety legislation. Also, it is possible to display the designated health and safety representative and first aider in the organization.
9. Get covered.
If an employee is hurt or injured as a result of work they may claim for compensation. Employer’s liability insurance will cover the employer if an employer makes a claim.
10. Keep up-to-date and communicate.
As an employer it is important to ensure that you keep up to speed with current legislation and health and safety news within your business sector. Ensure that policies and risk assessments are regularly reviewed to ensure that they are valid. Continually ensure that all the employees are kept up to speed with any amendments to policies and get employees involved at every stage as health and safety is a two way process.
For further information you can visit the HSE website at www.osha.gov.
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