How To Plan And Commit To A Health And Safety Strategy
If you want to avoid hefty business fines, then it pays to invest in your staff by committing to health and safety. Learn how to understand your responsibilities in this area.
Fines dished out for flouting health and safety regulations have risen 80% since stringent new guidelines have been introduced. Businesses were required to pay £69.9 million between 2016-17, in comparison to £38.8 million in the previous year. Clearly, it is an expensive mistake for your business if you don’t put enough focus into meeting health and safety standards. This is even more so for small businesses who won’t have the funds to waste on such errors. Here are some tips to help you meet the guidelines.
Understanding Your Responsibilities
As a manager, or business owner, it’s essential that you understand your role in safeguarding your employees as well as clients, customers or site visitors who attend your place of work. You’ll need to begin by identifying any risks in your organisation, and then once you’ve detected something, work out how to mitigate this risk. It’s not necessary to completely eliminate those hazards, but you should take the necessary steps to avoid accident or injury occurring. The Health and Safety at Work Act was introduced in 1974 to force business owners to comply with the necessary legislation. It’s worth understanding that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to health and safety, as what constitutes risk in one workplace may not be relevant in a different industry.
Putting A Plan Together
Business managers should sit down and work out what hazards there are within their organisation. These might be related to pieces of technical equipment, the layout of your building or if your work activity poses a threat to anyone in the vicinity.
Once the risks have been identified, they will need to be documented in a health and safety policy which should define how you plan to handle and prevent risks. Your plan should explain to your employees, the ways in which you’ll commit to keeping them safe at work. For example, if you’re operating within the construction industry, then you might plan to send your supervisors on a regular SMSTS training course to ensure they stay aware of current best practices relating to health and safety. It can seem daunting to have to come up with a health and safety policy the first time you do it, but HSE provides plenty of guidance and downloadable templates to assist you in creating an actionable document.
Things To Take Into Consideration
When defining your health and safety criteria, it’s important to take the law into account if it affects your organisation. For example, if you run a haulage business, then you’ll need to take drivers hours and other road safety points into consideration. You should also inform your insurance company of any changes to your health and safety approach, as this may trigger a change in your policy.
Involving Your Staff
A health and safety document is pretty useless unless you ensure that your staff are committed to following the necessary safeguarding procedures. All new employees should be well-versed in your specific policies; it shouldn’t be assumed that your organisation follows a similar strategy to those within the same industry. A training schedule should be put together to determine how frequently to train and update your staff on the various health and safety procedures. Annual training would be recommended in many cases, but you may choose to add extra sessions in if there is any industry news, such as an injury or death, that highlights a concern about the way you operate.
Investing in the future of your company begins with investing in your staff. So, set your health and safety goals and start safeguarding your employees today.